Last changed: 20/01/11
Products used in construction contain many organic and inorganic substances which may be released into the indoor air of buildings, or into the soil and groundwater, through abrasion, emission, leaching, corrosion or radiation, and so pose a danger to the environment and human health. Adequate toxicological assessments are often lacking for compounds such as solvents in paints (in German) and adhesives; biocides (in German), plasticisers in German, binding agents and flame retardants in floorings, plastics and wood-based panels; additives in mineral construction materials; heavy metals in German in water piping and roofing materials in German; or undesirable admixtures used in recycling processes. So far, there is no data available to allow an overview of the quality and quantity of releases of dangerous substances from building materials into the environment (see also: Indoor air hygiene / building products).
The German Federal Environment Agency (Umweltbundesamt) lends support to the development and utilisation of building products that are low in emissions and pollutants by: