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Lafarge Cement

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How many public buildings have been built with this concrete cancer cement?



"Lafarge faces concrete cancer damage claims

27 January, 2005 | By Paul Thompson

MATERIALS - Suppliers say Lafarge is responsible for legal implications of contaminated cement
CONCRETE suppliers will refer any legal claims arising from Lafarge's Westbury cement plant storm direct to the producer.
Ready mixed concrete suppliers in the south-west revealed they will hold Lafarge responsible for any cost or legal implications that arise from their supplying concrete contaminated with high-alkali cement.
Last week Lafarge admitted it had supplied cement with a higher-than-stated alkali content for more than two years from its Westbury plant in Wiltshire.

Cement from the plant has been used in projects across the south-west, leading to fears that some structures could be vulnerable to damage caused by concrete cancer - a reaction between the alkali and aggregate in the concrete.
And clients will have to carry out longterm monitoring of those structures in danger of developing the condition as well as consider the possibility of a reduction in property value.

But concrete production companies revealed they would not be left facing any legal action themselves.
A spokeswoman for supplier RMC said:'We hold Lafarge fully responsible for any consequences that may ensue.'
It has contacted 140 of its customers that may have received ready mixed concrete that could be at medium to high risk of developing concrete cancer.

And rival supplier Hanson revealed it had supplied more than 100 customers with 150,000 cu m of concrete containing the rogue cement.

A spokesman said: 'We have written to all our customers who may have received this material but it is important to stress that only a small proportion of those we have supplied will have used the concrete in medium to high risk areas.'
Concrete cancer, or Alkali Silica Reaction, is a reaction between the alkalis in cement and certain forms of reactive silica present in many aggregates.The reaction forms a gel-like substance, which absorbs water and swells over time.This swelling causes pressure in the concrete and eventually it can crack and fail.

Lafarge blamed a group of rogue employees for deliberately falsifying data on the alkali levels of the cement it produced at Westbury between September 2002 and December 2004.

It has put extra steps in place to ensure similar incidents can not happen again. A spokesman said: 'This is a serious incident, which we deeply regret.
'We are learning from it and putting steps in place to ensure it cannot happen again.Compensation is a longer-term issue and one which is premature at this stage.'"


 
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