Asbestos has been used for many years, until its ban as a building material and more in 1993 in Europe. It can still be found in many (old) buildings as well as in other applications. Asbestos was banned for its (primary) carcinogenic effect.
Nowadays, whenever possible or needed asbestos containing materials need to be treated or removed under safe conditions. Insight in exposure levels is needed to determine the required control regime. However, exposure assessment methods, including analytical detection methods, vary and are not harmonized. More cooperation and (knowledge) exchange between European research institutes would be very helpful for the asbestos community.
To compare the outcomes of existing exposure assessment strategies, with a focus on analytical methods, in order to be able to share and compare results at an European level. The results of the study can also serve as input to set (control) measures, potentially legislation and policy on a level field: scientifically and statistically sound.
Results will help policy makers, regulators and enforcement authorities in their work. Occupational safety and health (OSH) professionals could benefit when discussing with employers, just like trade unions and work councils. Also, other stakeholders in the asbestos sector benefit with less disputes on analytical results and exposure estimations.
Articles (scientific), presentation(s), and a webinar for policy makers and EU representatives (incl. EU parliament) is a major targeted deliverable, in view of the expected policy and legislation changes foreseen in the EU.
A comparative study based on existing information, consisting of an inventory of sampling, analytical and data collection methods used in Europe, and comparing the outcomes of different exposure assessment methods based on data from literature and measurement studies as performed by project partners.
Comparison and ideally harmonization of measurements methods, analytical methods as well as data collection methods is necessary to be able to share knowledge on a European level. To the best of our knowledge this has never been studied on an international level.
Practical and societal relevance
When the existing knowledge and experience as available nationally could be shared on a European level, we would be able to learn from each other’s experiences and insights, and for instance improve practices on a national level or (in time) come up with a common ‘European’ approach. A shared body of knowledge, experience and data will help to underpin national choices in regulation and guidelines and mutual understanding. The outcome of this project would be a valuable source of information for regulators, researchers, OSH professionals as well as employers, and could serve as a starting point for international initiatives for exposure assessment and new or alternative safe working practices.
TNO, The Netherlands: Suzanne Spaan, Niels Lucas Luijckx
AUVA, Austria: Ernest Stühlinger
FIOH, Finland: Tomi Kanerva
HSE, UK: Laurie Davies, James Staff
IFA, Germany: Andreas Wahmhoff, Marcus Mattenklott
INAIL, Italy: Maria Rosaria Bruno, Annapaola Cannizzaro
INRS, France: Céline Eypert Blaison
INSST, Spain: María Teresa Sanchez Cabo
NFA, Denmark: Ana Sofia Fonseca, Keld Alstrup Jensen, Niels Hadrup
STAMI, Norway: Pål Graff, Torunn Ervik
TNO, The Netherlands: Suzanne Spaan, Peter Tromp, Remy Franken, Niels Lucas Luijckx
Download: Information on the measurement method(s) for asbestos and difficulties measuring asbestos in relation to a low occupational exposure limit value (OELV) or in a dusty (work) environment in view of lowering the European OELV for asbestos.
You can also view the interview with Mr. Niels Lucas Luijckx MSc on Youtube where he reflects on the PEROSH information sharing workshop on asbestos held in January 2020 at TNO in The Netherlands.