Some 60% of Dutch rent-controlled housing may contain asbestos however no danger is posed as long as the installments are left intact, Nos television reports.
Asbestos is a set of six naturally occurring silicate minerals used commercially for their desirable physical properties. Prolonged inhalation of microscopically small asbestos fibers can cause serious illnesses such as malignant lung cancer and other nasty complicated cancerous diseases.
The television broadcaster bases its claim on a survey of 122 housing corporations carried out in the wake of this summer’s asbestos scare in Utrecht.
Removing all the asbestos from the affected residences will cost an estimated €3.8bn, or €2,800 per dwelling, the broadcaster says. Translated nationwide, some 1.4 million homes may be affected.
The broadcaster’s survey shows half the country’s housing corporations have drawn up an analysis of the asbestos situation and 20% are currently carrying out research. The remainder have no idea if asbestos is present in their housing portfolio.
This summer, hundreds of homes in the Utrecht district of Kanaleneiland had to be evacuated after some asbestos layers were penetrated and damaged by men carrying out some maintenance work.
Asbestos became increasingly popular among manufacturers and builders in the late 19th century because of its sound absorption, average tensile strength, its resistance to fire, heat, electrical and chemical damage, and affordability. Its use has been banned in construction since 1993.
Housing corporations, who are reserving funding for the removal of asbestos, now routinely carry out asbestos checks on vacant houses before renting them out to the next tenant.