Dangerous heritage: Asbestos

Belgium was an asbestos champion. Today, chances are still very high you will find asbestos in buildings and sites. The impact on public health is becoming more apparent every year. Flanders wants to tackle this with an action plan to make Flanders ‘asbestos-safe’ by 2040.

What is less known is that asbestos was also widely used in appliances, machines and textiles. It is a perfect heat-resistant material and excellent electrical insulator. Consequently, asbestos can be found in our cultural heritage objects as well. Today, it is very difficult for a conservator or collection manager to identify asbestos in the collection. To enable identification of asbestos in cultural heritage objects, ETWIE (Expertisecentrum Wetenschappelijk en Industrieel Erfgoed) initiated the project Gevaarlijk Erfgoed. Arches, Meemoo, FARO. Flemish interface for cultural heritage and OVAM are partners in this project. The aim is to build a database with reference objects and make a protocol to safely handle the objects once asbestos is identified. If you want to learn more: click here.

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