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The old city of Moscow is currently under reconstruction: many houses are demolished, undergo

reconstruction or major repairs, which was noticed to be accompanied by allergic reactions in

inhabitants: rhinitis, attacks of bronchial asthma, skin itch etc. Allergic reactions to some
building materials used in the course of Moscow reconstruction, such as warmth-keeping
lagging, were reported also by workers. It is known that hygienic certification of building
materials is a primary control measure for achieving good indoor air quality [1]. However,
constructors are reporting that materials, used in Moscow, including those containing asbestos,
sometimes do not correspond to their hygienic certificates. Possible complications of asbestos
inhalation are well known [2,3]. Demolitions of houses and interiors, massively performed in the
course of Moscow reconstruction, can release asbestos fibers from the asbestos-containing
building materials [4], which have been broadly used during the last century [5]. In conclusion,
building materials, used in residential and public edifices, must be tested for allergenicity and
toxicity. Authorities should take better care to prevent illicit use of uncertified materials.
1. Loftness V, Hakkinen B, Adan O, Nevalainen A. Elements that contribute to healthy building
design. Environ Health Perspect 2007; 115:965-970.
2. Antonescu-Turcu AL, Schapira RM. Parenchymal and airway diseases caused by asbestos.
Curr Opin Pulm Med 2010; 16:155-161.
3. Bianchi C, Brollo A, Ramani L, Bianchi T. Malignant mesothelioma in central and Eastern
Europe. Acta Med Croatica 2000; 54:161-164.
4. Perkins RA, Hargesheimer J, Fourie W. Asbestos release from whole-building demolition of
buildings with asbestos-containing material. J Occup Environ Hyg 2007; 4:889-894.
5. Muscat JE, Wynder EL. Cigarette smoking, asbestos exposure, and malignant mesothelioma.
Cancer Res 1991; 51:2263-2267.
6. Kovalevskiy E, Tossavainen A. Asbestos fibers in the urban environment in Moscow. In:
Proceedings of the 6th International Scientific Conference of the International Occupational
Hygiene Association, 19-23 September 2005, Paper J5. Pilanesberg, South Africa, 2005.
7. Krakowiak E, Grny RL, Cembrzynska J, Sakol G, Boissier-Draghi M, Anczyk E.
Environmental exposure to airborne asbestos fibres in a highly urbanized city. Ann Agric
Environ Med 2009; 16:121-128.
All images 2010
Fig. 1. Reconstruction of an old house in the historic center of Moscow.
Fig. 2. Interior reconstruction with considerable dust formation.
Fig. 3. A scale in an appartment house covered by dust in consequence of reconstruction in an
Fig. 4. Advertizing of asbestos-containing building materials (in Russian).
Fig. 5. Asbestos fiber concentration in the indoor and outdoor air in different countries [7].