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EFBWW reaction to Article in EU Today/EU Reporter on MMVF


In an EU Reporter and EU-Today article, published on 21 November, reporting on an event in Brussels, reference was made to the European Federation of Building and Woodworkers’ (EFBWW) position on the use of mineral wool insulation material (MMVF). The EFBWW is an organization recognized by the EU Commission as representing the interests of the workers of the construction sector in the EU. Dr Reinhold Rühl from Germany participated in the event on behalf of the EFBWW.

We are surprised and disappointed that Dr. Rühl’s comments and the position of the EFBWW have been grossly misrepresented in the article. The article appears to have been purposefully crafted to give a number of false impressions of the position of the EFBWW or Dr. Rühl.

First, the article gives the impression that Dr. Rühl and the EFBWW have major concerns about the safety of all types of MMVF at this moment in time. Secondly, the article gives the impression that Dr. Rühl or the EFBWW currently call for increased legislation on the hazard of MMVF products. Thirdly, the article gives the impression that Dr. Rühl or the EFBWW have reason to believe today that negative health effects will emerge in the future from the historical use of (bio soluble) MMVF products.

We would like to point out that important contextual comments made by Dr. Rühl at the event were omitted from the report. Dr. Rühl was clear that, at this stage, MMVF is not a priority safety concern for the German authorities or the EFBWW. Dr. Rühl was also clear that it is his position and the position of the EFBWW that measures to control the level of dust on construction sites as well as  personal protective measures are necessary and are adequate for controlling the level of possible MMVF-exposure. Moreover, Dr. Rühl also clearly differentiated between MMVF installed prior to 1997 (EU CLP Regulation) and MMVF products available on the market since 1997, which are not classified as hazardous under German and EU law. This important difference was not reflected clearly in the article.

The article also referred to comments regarding dangerous fibres such as asbestos and attributed these comments to Dr. Rühl in such a way that it gives the impression that these comments were made regarding MMVF, which they were not.

On Friday 22 November, EU reporter posted videos on YouTube  that underline the above. The remarks of Dr. Rühl on the necessity to develop Occupational Exposure Limits for dust levels at construction sites are twisted to suit the story of both EU-Reporter and EU-Today to underline their incorrect statements on Mineral Wool insulation. 

Given the extent to which the article is misleading and misrepresentative to both the comments made by Dr. Rühl, and the positions of the EFBWW, as well as the facts surrounding MMVF as a construction material, we request that this article and YouTube video’s  be immediately removed from the EU Reporter / EU Today / YouTube website until the necessary amendments can be made to ensure factual accuracy.

The EFBWW encourages critical investigative journalism, but wants to stay far away from incorrect suggestive journalism.