Persisting issues with the most recognized building material health risks

Lead and asbestos

Emina Kristina Petrović,    Victoria University of Wellington, Wellington, New Zealand


This chapter uses the examples of lead and asbestos to evaluate whether there are any examples of successful elimination of harmful substances, and if so, which steps were needed in the process. The chapter reviews patterns in very slow recognition and action towards reductions and elimination of exposures to lead and asbestos. It proposes that even after 2–3 decades of regulation around these most known substances of concern, they are still not fully eliminated, and a more sophisticated understanding of just how harmful they are is still emerging.

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