What is asbestos?
Asbestos is a collective name for a number of minerals that are made up of microscopic small needle-like fibers. Asbestos is a natural material and, until the 80's, often used for its good properties: it is strong, wear resistant, resistant to high temperatures,
insulating and in addition cheap. It is incorporated into many building materials as in golf cement records, and as therefore it can occur in buildings and homes. Only when the material is damaged, fibers are released. This happens for example when drilling, sawing or sanding it, or when the material breaks or gets burned.
Are there different types of asbestos?
Most types of asbestos in the Netherlands are white asbestos (also called Chrysotile), blue asbestos (Crocidolite) and brown asbestos (Amosite). The most asbestos-containing products contain white asbestos, often mixed with other types of asbestos. Blue and brown asbestos (amphibians) are in potential more dangerous than white asbestos due to the structure and shape of the asbestos fibers. The asbestos in the grit that is used for blasting is also known as "white asbestos".
How is asbestos identified?
At fractures and damages, the fibrous structure often shows it is an asbestos suspected material. Usually it has a white to light gray color, but it can also be light gray to dark gray. Only a microscopic analysis can prove whether the material or product contains asbestos.
Working with asbestos is prohibited. How is it possible there still is asbestos?
At the time of the construction of many buildings, the use of asbestos was not yet prohibited. The health risks of asbestos were not known at that time. Since 1993, the use of most asbestos is prohibited. It is still being investigated how asbestos came into the grit of Eurogrit.
What exactly does the ban on the use of asbestos mean?
Since 1 July 1993, it is forbidden to edit, process or stock asbestos-containing products. The reuse of old asbestos-containing products and waste is hereby also prohibited. This ban prohibits commercialization of asbestos. There are exemptions for situations for which there is no alternative to hands.
What are the health effects of asbestos?
Health risks can only occur when asbestos fibers are inhaled. Asbestos fibers floating in the air can penetrate deep into the lungs after inhalation. The prolonged inhalation of asbestos fibers can eventually cause lung cancer, mesothelioma (lung tissue or stomach cancer) or cause dust lungs. The health danger strongly depends strongly on the amount of fibers that are inhaled people. Especially people who inhaled large amounts of asbestos for many years are a real risk.
What is the risk of asbestos disease?
Not everyone who inhalates asbestos fibers can get cancer or dust lungs. The chance of getting these diseases is greater in the long-term inhalation of high concentrations of asbestos. By a one-time high exposure to asbestos (as may happen during a fire with asbestos) the chance of getting cancer or dust lungs is negligibly small. The real risk of asbestos is present on prolonged exposure to large quantities of asbestos fibers in the air. This kind of exposure occurred earlier in some work situations, where employees have inhaled large quantities of asbestos for many years, day after day. Exposure should nevertheless be avoided to reduce any possible risk. Therefore, observe the prescribed precautions as much as possible.
What tests have taken place at DSNS?
Samples are taken by SGS and KIWA Oesterbaai which show that there has been detected 0.1-2% chrysotile into the opened packaging of the grit. Results of the various adhesive samples which are taken around module 3 and elsewhere in Hall 2 are all good. Also the air samples taken afterwards do not indicate the presence of asbestos. Samples are taken of the overalls of the employees who came into direct contact with the grit. All results show there is no asbestos present.
Are the research results made public?
Once all results are processed in a report, they will be visible to everyone.
What happens to asbestos fibers that are inhaled?
Fibers can enter the lungs by inhalation. Some fibers are exhaled and others are removed from the body. Sometimes fibers remain in the lungs, and there may cause asbestos-related disease after many years. Especially those who inhaled large amounts of asbestos for many years are a real risk.
Is it dangerous to swallow asbestos fibers?
No, when swallowed, the asbestos fibers are not in the lungs but in the stomach and there they can do no harm. The fibers are removed from your stomach by your body.
What should I do if I have breathed asbestos fibers?
You can’t do anything. It is unlikely that you have breathed (many) fibers. The chances you getting health issues caused by this is negligible.
The people investigating are wearing protective clothing. Do I have to to be protected as well?
Because they deal with asbestos on a daily basis they will wear protective clothing. The risk for you is so small that you do not need protective clothing.
What if asbestos particles were on my clothes / hair?
The risk of asbestos particles coming from your clothes into your airway is very small. If so, the concentration will be that low that is had no significant effect to your health. Samples are taken of the overalls of the employees who came into direct contact with the grit. All results show there is no asbestos present.
I have to cough a lot, have I inhaled asbestos fibers?
If you have health problems then it is excluded that it comes from the grit used for blasting and this has another cause.
My wife is pregnant, does she or my unborn child have a higher risk?
No, there is no additional risk for pregnancy. There is no risk to the unborn child.
Are (grant)children more at risk and can they be exposed by me?
Children are not more sensitive to asbestos fibers, but they are a risk group because they have a long life. The risk of asbestos particles coming from your clothes into their airway is very small. If so, the concentration will be very low and it will not have a significant effect on their health.
Can I have an examination when I have inhaled asbestos fibers?
This is very difficult to determine. Everywhere there are small pieces of asbestos fibers in the air. Everyone always inhales asbestos fibers during his life. That's why everyone has asbestos fibers in his body. How many fibers there is can to be investigated. Not even with an X-ray.
What can I do with questions about health?
When you have health problems, please contact your doctor and or health authorities (GGD).
Do I have to register myself?
Only when you have been in the neighborhood of the blasting or cleaning operations on the 20th and / or 29th of September or have been in the tent in which these activities took place, we advise you to report to us. This also applies to the blast & painting hall.
Where can I find more information about asbestos?