Excerpt from the June 2019 article from Concrete Plant International
The Dutch construction industry uses concrete release agents in manufacturing a variety of concrete products.
These concrete release agents ensure the easy removal of concrete from molds. Concrete release agents are mainly processed in the prefab concrete industry, but also a construction sites. Due to the wide diversity of concrete products and processing methods, more than 100 different concrete release agents are currently available on the market. As with many other products in the construction and concrete industry, these release agents may have adverse effects on the health of the user and environment. The suppliers of concrete release agents take responsibility in ensuring occupational health and safety, as well as protecting the environment. By offering work and environmentally friendly concrete release agents, they are able to greatly reduce the chance of adverse effects.
People and the Environment
Health and environmental risks can be defined through the following measurable characteristics:
- Health risks for users are represented through H-/EUH-phrases (Hazard) and symbols.
- The presence of solvents (VOC) is evident when the flashpoint reaches <100° C.
- Concrete release agents can make an important contribution to a circular economy by using renewable resources (vegetable oils and water) instead of petroleum-based products (process oils and solvents).
Biodegradability has been omitted as a criterion, as it seems to give the impression that the concrete release agents are human and environmentally friendly. If it is readily biodegradable, the concrete release agents are usually safe for the environment, but not always for humans. This is especially true when working with petroleum-based products, which are also biodegradable. As these are not always safe, they can lead to certain health problems through the (prolonged) inhalation of oil fog and through skin contact. A prolonged exposure to solvents may cause OPS (Organic Psychosis Syndrome by Solvents).
Concrete Release Agent Classification
Each classification has their own set of criteria for the above-mentioned characteristics. These criteria have been defined in such a manner that the health and environmental impact increases, starting with classification 1 up to classification 7. Concrete release agents under classification 1 are the most human and environmentally friendly, while concrete release agents under classification 7 are damaging to the environment and health.
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