It has been more than two decades since the use of asbestos was banned due to its harmful effects on health. But what is asbestos and why is it necessary to stop using it? Asbestos is a material used for construction and as an insulator “dangerous and polluting” and despite its ban in 2002, not yet removed from many buildings and facilities because its removal is only mandatory for the public. his inhalation or ingestion has a risk not only for humans, but also for animals, water and the environment.
It’s about a material found in nature and that, thanks to its properties as a thermal and technical insulator, Its use for construction became popular in the second half of the 20th century.so it is located mainly in urban areas.
Asbestos was found available in many parts of cities and townsnot only in covers and roofs, also in pipes, heating insulators, wastewater networks, transportation systems or in industrial facilities and even in schools, the head of waste at Ecologistas en Acción, Carlos , pointing to Efeverde Above.
In Barcelona a decision from the Social Court number 8 It was considered in 2022 that a Metro worker’s exposure to asbestos was responsible for his occupational illness. This is the first time that a judge agreed with those who argued that there was a The direct relationship between the manipulation or conviction of this material is the cause of a pathology that in many cases leads to fatal diseases..
Why is it so dangerous?
The risk of this material lies in the decomposition product whose fibers “they collapse and lose their complexity” After about 30 years of their installation, these particles are transmitted into the air and if inhaled can cause lung or pleural cancer. They can also be swallowedsuch as drinking water from pipes made of asbestos, according to experts.
This material is again regulated by Law on Waste and Contaminated Land for a Circular Economy implemented in April 2022where it was established by an additional provision that the town councils had a year of conduct a census of facilities containing asbestos and plan for their removalalthough such removal is only required for “highest risk” public buildings before 2028.
But the truth is that Very few consistories have done their homework or, however, work to prepare lists of asbestos-containing facilities. And the deadlines met without the census existing or serving as a reference for health authorities or those who must monitor compliance. And the experts remember that the same is not required for private facilities.
Is it deleted and who can manipulate it?
The handling and extraction of asbestos is also regulated, can only be done by approved companies, which require sealed personal protective equipment (PPE) to avoid contact with its fibers. And, once removed, the asbestos is hermetically isolated in a special plastic bag, and taken in an authorized vehicle to a landfill approved for storage, where “They are collected in layers” and they were buried.
However, this material cannot be recycled at this time, although research continues on whether it can be given a second life in the future, is being reevaluated. And there are tons and tons of asbestos buried all over the country, deposited in landfills, that could be used, perhaps, for other uses like building roads.
However, environmental groups often claim that asbestos deposits in landfills “This is not the solution”and that in other countries such as France there are plants with capacity “removal of asbestos by thermal procedures”. But the Government never considered this possibility.