Erdemann Gypsum, Deco Dura Creations and Shazaad are the only three companies licensed to manufacture gypsum-based building materials in the country, KEBS has said. Erdemann Gypsum holds two licenses. One is for its KES500m gypsum factory in Kitui where it mines gypsum and manufactures gypsum boards and plasters, while the other is for its operations in Athi River, where it manufactures gypsum cornices, corners and medallions.
In its manufacturing process, the company employs international standards such as American Society for Testing and Materials and the European standards to monitor the quality of gypsum building materials. Some of the key features tested for the various types of gypsum boards include Flexural strength, nail-pull resistance, dimensions, water resistance and finish. Additionally, gypsum binders and plaster are checked for their resistance to fire, sound proofing capacity and calcium sulphate (gypsum) content.
Erdemann recently warned of dangers posed to health by imported gypsum products made from industrial by-products. While gypsum is a naturally occurring mineral that many companies mine, recently, people have begun making it synthetically from coal-fired power plant waste products. Erdemann Gypsum said it was alarmed about indoor toxins caused by synthetic gypsum-based products. There is concern that the low levels of the heavy metals present in coal might appear in synthetic gypsum.
Erdemann Gypsum says that Kenya should encourage use of natural gypsum building materials from natural gypsum as it is safe for health. Also, the government should inspect imported gypsum products to ensure they do not have chemical contaminants.