Some employees of the Czech Embassy in Berlin have complained about health problems, which they say are related to the amount of asbestos in the building, which is a known carcinogen for humans.
The health issues reported by embassy workers include rashes, menstrual disorders, fertility issues, and severe fatigue. One of the biggest issues, according to one of the diplomats, is the “flawed” air conditioning, which is in “desolate state.”
An embassy employee, who works in the building in the center of the German city, talked about the “clutter from the air-conditioning” and the excessive dust.
“God knows what is in there,” said another employee about the air-conditioning system, adding that because of the obsolete air conditioning, it is sometimes hard for people to breathe and that people are often sick.
Both the Czech Foreign Ministry and the Czech ambassador to Berlin, Tomáš Podivínský, argue that the asbestos level is normal. According to them, dangerous fibers would only get released in case of damage to the building, which has had asbestos in it dating back to the 1970s.
“The problem of asbestos does not arise until it is necessary to do construction on the building,” said Podivínsky at the end of November. Podivínský then stated that health issues of the Czech Embassy employees may not be related to asbestos.
According to the Czech National Institute of Public Health, asbestos can be responsible for serious illnesses, including respiratory tract cancer. Some of the diseases may appear up to decades after exposure to asbestos.
Judge advocate Zoja Guschlová believes that the aforementioned health issues are not related to asbestos. At the same time, however, she points out that even people working in standards-compliant buildings can still be breathing in large amounts of asbestos fibers in a year, as there is no such thing as a safe threshold for asbestos levels.
Czech Foreign Ministry stated that it did not register any formal complaints concerning the deterioration of health in relation to the state of the embassy building.
Nevertheless, preparations for the reconstruction of the building are underway, although, according to some diplomats, it is already too late.