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New method for recycling asphalt pavement protects workers from Perchloroethylene

EIFFAGE infrastructures together with 2 academic research laboratories (IFSTTAR and CEREMA Méditerranée) have developed a new methodology to characterise the organic part of reclaimed asphalt pavement that completely eliminates the use of perchloroethylene (PCE), a hazardous solvent for human health and the environment.

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Each year, tens of thousands of laboratory analyses are carried out on samples of reclaimed asphalt pavement coming from French roads for recycling. These analyses are carried out to check the possibilities of re-use of this material. However, they require the use of a carcinogenic solvent, PCE, by thousands of laboratory assistants.

PCE or (tetrachloroethylene) can induce neurologic effects during acute of chronic exposures. It irritates the skin and mucosa (a mucous membrane that lines various cavities in the body and covers the surface of internal organs). It is also a little hepatoxic (damaging to liver cells) and several studies indicate carcinogenic effects on various organs in humans. PCE is also hazardous for the environment.

To eliminate the use of PCE, EIFFAGE, CEREMA Méditerranée and IFSTTAR developed a new methodology known as ANALYSIS SAFE © to characterise the organic part of reclaimed asphalt using infrared spectrometry (IR). This new methodology removes the risks of exposure to PCE for thousands of French laboratory assistants and removes the threat to the environment.

This new methodology is transferable to the road industry where laboratory controls require bitumen extraction by the chlorinated solvent. ANALYSIS SAFE © is also much faster than the classic method of analysis and eliminates the costs of the purchase, onsite storage management and recycling of PCE.