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close this bookAsbestos Overview and Handling Recommendations (GTZ, 1996)
close this folderPart II. Asbestos
close this folder2. Legal regulations for the production, introduction to the market and use of Asbestos containing materials and Asbestos products
View the document(introduction...)
View the document2.1 Federal Republic of Germany
View the document2.2 Directives of the European Community
View the document2.3 United States of America
View the document2.4 Standards in other countries (incl. developing countries)
View the document2. 5 International standards: International Labor Organization

2.1 Federal Republic of Germany

In German federal environmental and health and safety law as well as in other areas, there are a number of regulations concerning Asbestos. In many sources, e.g. from Construction Law (State Construction Ordinances) to Occupational Safety Law, the Immission Protection Law (TA-Luft administrative rules) and Waste Law (TA-Abfall, LAGA-lnstruction Sheet "Disposal of Asbestos Containing Wastes"), there are rules and regulations on the manufacturing, introduction to the market, and use of Asbestos containing products. Additional extensive rules are also required by the Employers Association for Accident Insurance (Berufsgenossenschaft).

The following legislative works are of particular interest: The Hazardous Substance Ordinance and its related Technical Rule for Hazardous Substances (TRGS) 517 "Asbestos" and TRGS 519 "Asbestos- Remolval, Abatement or Maintenance Work", as well as the Asbestos Guideline (Guideline for the Evaluation and Remediation of Friable Asbestos Products in Buildings). The latter guideline will be discussed in Chapter 6.1.

Hazardous Substance Ordinance

The Hazardous Substance Ordinance (Gefahrstoffverordnug-GefStoffV) dated 26/08/1986, BGBI. I, currently valid in the version from 29/09/1994 (BGBI. 1.), regulates the introduction to the market of hazardous substances, the handling, storage and destruction of hazardous substances. The ordinance is based on the Chemical Law (Chemikaliengesetz).

In the Second Amendment to the Hazardous Substance Ordinance on 23 April 1990, the regulations concerning the handling of Asbestos were significantly tightened. The manufacturing and use of Asbestos containing hazardous substances became prohibited, however this refers only to the materials explicitly listed in Annex 11 under, which include the most important light Asbestos cement sheets (unit weight < 1.0 g/cm³), coating substances, substances or preparations for spraying or trowelling as well as insulation materials for fire, sound or heat protection and floor and street coverings. Furthermore, all crocidolite containing substances are listed.

A prohibition for manufacturing refers to fiber-reinforced thermoplast masses.

A central regulation of the Hazardous Substance Ordinance is the Substitution Order, whereby the applied amounts of Asbestos are to be limited as far as possible and the possibility of using nonhazardous substitutes is to be examined. In support of the Substitution Order, the authorities have the option to forbid the use of carcinogenic products.

The Hazardous Substance Ordinance is the central regulatory element in Germany for the handling of and protection against hazardous substances. In 1986 it replaced the Working Medium Ordinance including another 35 relevant ordinances and incorporated 14 EU-Guidelines into national law. The EU-Guideline on Asbestos referred to under 2.2 was also included.

In January 1995 a general prohibition ordinance for the manufacturing, introduction to the market and use of Asbestos containing materials came into effect. The same exceptions and interim deadlines are foreseen that were in the Hazardous Substance Ordinance. A new rule is the prohibition of working on Asbestos cement products (which were permitted to be manufactured until the end of 1993) in a manner which could destroy the surface. The production and use of sprayed Asbestos has been forbidden since 1979.

Further requirements on occupational safety in handling Asbestos are:

Technical Rules of the Board for Hazardous Substances at the Federal Ministry for Work and Social Order:

Technical Rules on Hazardous Substances (Technische Regel Gefahrstoffe) TRGS 517 "Asbestos"

Technical Rules on Hazardous Substances TRGS 519
"Asbestos - Removal, Abatement or Maintenance Work"

The technical guideline concentration (technische Richtkonzentration, TRK) in the workplace air is specified in the TRGS 102, and for chrysotile Asbestos it is 250,000 Fibers per m³ air (as of 1990 after adjusting to the Second Change of the Hazardous Substance Ordinance). As of the newest version of the TRGS 102 in January 1994, there is no longer a TRK value for Asbestos fibers in work involving Asbestos removal, abatement and maintenance, which means that in these work areas the full spectrum of measures according to the TRGS 519 must be followed. For amphibole Asbestos, there was not a TRK value in 1993, since its use had already been prohibited.

Table 7 Exposition Limits for Asbestos Fibers According to German Occupational Law



Asbestos containing fine particles:

6 mg/m³ 1)



6 mg/m³ 1)

250,000 F/m³


6 mg/m³ 1)



6 mg/m³ 1)



6 mg/m³ 1)



6 mg/m³ 1)



6 mg/m³ 1)


1) general limit for particulates
2) the latest TRGS no longer has a limit for this, since the substance is not allowed to be used anymore

Source: own compilation

Measurements of Asbestos fiber concentrations are to be performed according to ZH1/120.31. In plans for abatement, a maximum value of 50,000 fibers per m³ air is given. The TRGS 100 defines the limits for hazardous substances above which additional measures must be undertaken. The TRgA 124 (Technical Rules for Hazardous Working Substances, Technische Regeln fliche Arbeitstoffe) defines the limit for Asbestos.

Technical Rules for Hazardous Working Substances TRgA 601
"Substitutes for Asbestos"

Technical Rules for Hazardous Working Substances TRgA 402
"Measurement and Determination of the Concentrations of Hazardous Working Substances in the Air; Application of the Maximal Workplace Concentrations (MAK) "

In addition, there is an extensive regulatory work from the Employers' Association for Accident Insurance (Berufsgenossenschaften BG) in the form of rules on accident prevention and safety measures. There are also regulations on identifying Asbestos (ZH 1/120.30), on lung-endangering fibers (ZH 1/120.31), and guidelines for the evaluation and abatement of friable Asbestos products in buildings (Asbest-Richtlinien, in the version from January 1990), which will be discussed further in Chapter 6.2 of this part.