When you think about asbestos removal, you may initially envision the experts dressed in full white suits, ready to take on the challenge of removing it safely. But when a company is in need of asbestos removal, the first thing they may think of is the heavy cost associated or length of time. Handling this issue is never a walk in the park for any company. However, cost and time burdens are about to change in the Netherlands.
When asbestos is found in a building, the typical procedure involves the removal of experts in a hermetically contained area under pressure in order to prevent asbestos particles from becoming airborne and causing cancer.
But in April 2013, the Inspectorate of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment (Inspectie Sociale Zaken en Werkgelegenheid – SZW) started testing a new asbestos removal method in an apartment building in Zeist, where asbestos wire was being removed from meter cupboards in approximately 700 apartments of the apartment building concerned.
The new method works quite differently. It begins with a liquid or foam applied on the asbestos. The asbestos adheres to this liquid or foam. Thereafter, it can easily be brushed away. No asbestos particles come free and it is deemed as much safer for the health of employees, and residents.
In addition, the white suits (protective clothing) are no longer necessary and people can stay at home or at work (depending on where the asbestos removal activities are carried out). Further, it is less labor- intensive and therefore much cheaper. In the case of Zeist, the asbestos removal will only take a few months instead of a year and a half!
It should be noted that this new method is already being used in the United States, but is not yet allowed in the Netherlands. Time will tell if the new method is to be accepted and used in the Netherlands as well.
Enhesa tracks how asbestos is regulated in the Netherlands and in 190 other countries and jurisdictions worldwide—both from the liability perspective of exposure to workers and release into air. If you would like to know more about the monitoring solutions Enhesa offers, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
– Marlies Huijbers, EHS Regulatory