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close this bookAsbestos Overview and Handling Recommendations (GTZ, 1996)
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View the documentPreface
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Open this folder and view contentsPart II. Asbestos
Open this folder and view contentsPart III. Asbestos substitutes
Open this folder and view contentsPart IV Country analysis
Open this folder and view contentsPart V Development of handling recommendations
View the documentPart Vl Literature
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For decades, Asbestos was known as a versatile and readily available construction material that could be produced in a variety of forms and was suitable for numerous uses. Thus Asbestos was found - and is still found today - in the drinking water sector of many of the world's countries, in fire prevention elements, even in cooking stove covers in kitchens and in gardens as roofing material and flower pots.

Since certain Asbestos varieties are known to be carcinogenic, discussion continues on the efforts of removing construction elements containing Asbestos - the nature of the discussion ranging from making light of the whole matter to panic-driven activism. The costs of renovation and disposal of building segments containing Asbestos can be enormous, yet the negative effects on health depending on the manner of contact - are clearly proven!

The man in the street - but also experts who have not studied the problem specifically - are faced with a flood of information, which we have attempted to compile in this publication. Not only are the various forms of Asbestos presented - its common uses, identifying features, and negative impacts but also the regulations of various countries and implementing organizations concerning the substance.

In 1990, in view of the danger to human health, in the Federal Republic of Germany a decision forbidding the production or use of Asbestos came into force. Based on this decision, in January 1995 the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) applied the ban within international and bilateral development cooperation with the following provisions:

At the end of 1994, the complete prohibition of Asbestos manufacturing and use in Germany came into effect. Danger to human health arises mainly from the inhalation of fine Asbestos dust, particularly during the production and processing of Asbestos products.

The main areas of application in Development Cooperation are: low-cost-housing (sheets, insulation material, etc.) the water supply/wastewater area (Asbestos cement pipes), and many minor uses (gaskets, machine parts, etc.).

For the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development the following 'Asbestos Policy' applicable. It has been considered that transitional regulations were valid in Germany and thus should also be allowed for the developing countries.

In development projects, the use of Asbestos is prohibited as a matter of principle.

The prohibition is geared towards projects to be sponsored, in particular new projects, in which it is planned to use products containing Asbestos.

The following differentiation is necessary, based on the different health dangers: Asbestos use in housing construction is prohibited; for the water supply/wastewater area, the following rule applies: the use of Asbestos is prohibited as a matter of principle. Exceptions can be made in special cases (acceptability for low hazard potential and corresponding protection measures in cases of economic/social restraints). In suitable cases, assistance will be offered to the partner country for the financing of incremental costs for substitute materials in development projects. The use of Asbestos in exceptional cases within a suitable transitional period is only possible if it is deemed necessary and acceptable based on an extensive investigation (EIA).

The following individual or special regulations are valid:

· in the area of General Commodity Aid and Structural Adjustment Support, the negative list will be expanded to include Asbestos.

· in co-financing, the Asbestos prohibition applies only to the object under German financing (in the dialogue, a comprehensive solution should be urged).

We hope that this publication may serve not only as background information but will help you in making decisions in case you are confronted with the issue of Asbestos.

Brigitte Baumer