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New hazardous waste mapping
March 26, 2010
11:44 AM
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August 1, 2009
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The Norwegian climate and pollution agency has together with Norconsult prepared a report on new hazardous substances in the building sector. Of course the limits for hazardous waste differs around the world, but in general this report would be valid for most countries.

The results are alarming; hazardous substances can be found in almost all components...

The report can be found here (norwegian).

English summary:
Environmental specialists have suspected for some time that older building materials and components contain environmental contaminants not among those that are well known and documented. Some of these materials have been analysed for concentrations of a number of environmental contaminants. This study, documents results from chemical analysis of nearly 700 samples: 81 new samples of materials and more than 600 results from completed projects. The decision of which environmental contaminants the material samples in the older projects should be analysed for, was based on existing knowledge about the building components and materials in other relations than this project.

The project has resulted in important new knowledge about which building components that should be classified as hazardous waste during demolition or rehabilitation of buildings. These are building components that until today have been classified as residual waste.

The main results from the project are as follows:
It is likely that hard polyurethane produced up until 2003 contains CFC/HCFC gases. This material is found in garage doors, prefabricated walls for refrigeration rooms and prefabricated insulated outer walls, for example in pre-fabricated warehouses.

Vinyl flooring may contain a number of environmental contaminants, such as phthalates, asbestos, lead and, in some cases PCB. In most cases flooring produced after 2000 is not hazardous waste.

Skirting boards of PVC almost always contain a measurable of phthalates and above the limit for hazardous waste. Vinyl flooring from both demolition and rehabilitation is often treated as residual waste today. Flooring should first be analysed and, if found to contain phthalates, disposed of accordingly. Roofing, folding walls and chair seats of soft PVC-sheets produced before 2000 may also contain hazardous waste levels of phthalates and lead.

Double-glazed windows produced after the “PCB period” may contain relatively large quantities of chlorinated paraffins, chiefly in the glue and the rubber mouldings. The production period from 1975 to 1990 appears to the period with largest the proportion of double-glazed windows containing
chlorinated paraffins.

Insulation of cellular rubber produced before 2004 is often a hazardous waste because of brominated flame retardants’ levels. It may also contain other environmentally dangerous substances.

Cable housings of plastic may contain quantities of lead above the limit of hazardous waste. In addition a number of building components are identified to be further examined for their content of indicated environmentally dangerous substances.

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