WCO-Study: Lack of Corrosion Awareness Impacts Economy and Ecology

05.11.2009

The World Corrosion Organisation (WCO) has released a study that reveals the paramount importance of corrosion control in everyday life. In the public, in industry and in governmental organisations, the term “corrosion” is often barely known and usually recognized only if spectacular damage occurs as a result of corrosion attack; for example, a bridge collapse or oil pipeline leak.

Thus, there is a significant need for increased awareness of corrosion as a phenomenon and as a risk.

The costs of corrosion in industrialised countries amount to 3 – 4 % of the Gross Domestic Product, but as the study shows, it is not only the costs that represent a significant impairment on the national economies. Corrosion also has a detrimental effect on public safety, quality of life, health, and the environment in all countries all over the world, including the less or non-industrialised countries.

The study provides specific examples of threats to health that result from corrosion, including cases where heavy metals leach out of low-quality aluminium cooking pots during food preparation. A large amount of drinking water is lost on its way from the source to the consumer due to corrosion of water supply systems. Public infrastructure may be damaged by corrosion with consequences for the safety of bridges, road structures, and buildings. Transporta-tion systems, including land-based as well as maritime and air traffic, undergo corrosion, again raising important safety issues. Many of the new energy technologies, such as offshore wind parks, underwater sea turbines and the conversion of unused fuel resources with a high level of contaminants depend in a crucial way on finding solutions to the respective corrosion problems.

The WCO study provides a complete overview of all technological areas im-pacted by corrosion. In order to increase public awareness of corrosion, the WCO introduced a Corrosion Awareness Day that is held on 24 April annually. On this day, in many countries of the world, activities are organised to illustrate the detrimental effects of corrosion on everyday life, economy and ecology, and to inform public, industry, governments and educational institutions of solutions and necessary steps to combat corrosion.

About GfKORR

GfKORR - Society for Corrosion Protection Protection is a federation of corrosion ex-perts from industry and academia working in all fields of corrosion science with the aim of avoiding corrosion and its negative consequences. The work of GfKORR is devoted to the support of corrosion research and the dissemination of knowledge of corrosion protection in all relevant fields .

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