Denmark’s Minister of Employment, Peter Hummelgaard
The Danish government has announced that a way forward has been found on regulating the demolition and installation of Man-Made Vitreous Fibres (MMVF), more commonly known as mineral wool. The material is a building insulation material that has been the subject of longstanding health concerns, including fears over a possible increased risk of the incurable disease Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), a which causes inflammation of the air passages and damage to the lung tissue, leading to breathing difficulties.
In a statement released by the Denmark’s Minister of Employment, Peter Hummelgaard, said: “It has been important for me to get a clarification on the challenges of mineral wool, and it has been a long process. Ideally, there would have been agreement between the parties [employees and employers] on a compromise on the challenges, but here we have ended up with a politically agreed model that lies a reasonable place between the wishes of the parties.”
The Danish government decision declared that there will be requirements that companies should replace mineral wool as far as possible with non-hazardous or less hazardous materials, and then there must be effective training and instruction in assembling and demolishing mineral wool. This government decision refers to “old” and “new” mineral wool alike, with the so-called “old” mineral wool category being material from 1997 or earlier and which is still found in housing stock. The “new” mineral wool is that which has been put on the market after 1997.
One industry insider told EU Political Report: “This will be a worry for the mineral wool industry. Denmark is in some ways the home of this industry, with a major player being headquartered there. If Denmark is taking this step, what can we expect to see from other European countries?”