1 Analysis of Asbestos in Soil Hazel Davidson Technical Marketing Manager
2 Diversity of asbestos materials Methods of analysis Problems and issues The way forward
3 Types of asbestos: Chrysotile (white), Amosite (brown), Crocidolite (blue), Fibrous anthophyllite, tremolite and actinolite Chemically, they are fibrous forms of mineral silicates, chrysotile formula is Mg 3 Si 2 O 5 (OH) 4, with the amphiboles including other elements such as iron in their structures Pre 1999, used in wide range of building and manufacturing products: roofing, lagging, insulation board, engine components Fibres are crystalline, non-biodegradable and split to form very fine fibres Proven link with respiratory diseases: asbestosis, mesothelioma, bronchial carcinoma, pleural plaques (and recently ovarian cancer) Can remain latent for years
4 Asbestos in Soil
5 Definitions: ACM = asbestos containing material (anything between % asbestos) AC = asbestos cement (assumed to contain 10 15% asbestos) FA = fibrous asbestos ( > 7 mm) AF = asbestos fines (< 7 mm) So what is analysed when an asbestos test is requested?
6 Asbestos in Soil Common methods of analysis: Gross visual screening for ACM only Basic screening, magnification x 2-5, ACM and fibre clumps Detailed screening, magnification x 10 40, for fibres Identification polarising or phase contrast microscopy (PLM or PCOM) Quantification: gravimetric (LoD 0.1%), sedimentation and fibre counting (LoD = 0.001%)
7 Other methods: Asbestos in Soil Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) LoD % Dust emission/fibre counting LoD fibres/ml (0.015 fibres/ml is the limit for buildings)
8 Case Study Sample 1 - contained cement, with a mass % asbestos above the waste limit, was calculated to have 22,356 respirable fibres/g. Sample 2 - containing insulation (chrysotile only) was below the hazardous waste limit, but was calculated to have 265,937 respirable fibres/g. Sample 3 - from a power station contained only loose fibres, was calculated to contain over 120 million respirable fibres/g.
10 These results show that: Asbestos in Soil Risk is not necessarily correlated to the amount of asbestos present Sample 3 is the most hazardous by far, and gravimetric analysis would have been unable to provide a result Respirable fibres are more useful in comparing relative risk Therefore a gravimetric quantification result is not enough to assess risk
11 The big dichotomy > 0.1% w/w ACM in soil (all asbestos cement fragments) hazardous waste Low (potential) risk < 0.01% w/w ACM & free fibres in soil Non-hazardous waste High (potential) risk
12 What detection limit should be considered safe? Addison et al (1988) The Release of Dispersed Asbestos Fibres from Soils found that a level of 0.001% asbestos in dry soil would not produce more than 5 mg/m 3 of respirable dust equivalent to 0.1 fibres/ml In view of recent court cases, this may not be appropriate
13 Analytical issues Homogeneity and volume of sample Asbestos analysis not requested, but present Time scales: screening 5 30 minutes, identification 5 20 minutes quantification minutes H & S issues for laboratory staff: protective cabinets filter extraction monthly air monitoring
14 Training staff Asbestos in Soil HSG 248 A2 Asbestos: the analyst s guide for sampling, analysis, and clearance BOHS P401 - Identification of Asbestos in Bulk Samples Test for colour blindness Reference samples Analysts must analyse 30 QC samples initially, then monthly QC samples AIMS - Asbestos In Materials Scheme every 4 months Ongoing six monthly competency testing Prep staff visual screening, asbestos awareness
15 Asbestos in Soil Identification difficulties: Asbestos fines are difficult to see, both soils contain > 0.1% asbestos
16 From January to May 2011 at ALcontrol: 23,144 soil samples received 5,440 scheduled for asbestos analysis (screen or ID) by the client = 23.5% 1,517 additional samples scheduled for screening due to matrix type (concrete, brick, etc) 289 of these found to be positive = 19.1% Of all asbestos tests (6957), 1879 were positive = 27.1% But what about the samples we don t test?
17 This means 70% of soils are not requested for asbestos analysis and could potentially contain asbestos In addition, on the soils we do test very fine fibres could well be missed Is this safe?
18 Different methods from different laboratories: Asbestos screening for absence/presence may not be currently accredited what level of screening is done? what magnification is used? how much sample is screened? experience/training of staff? Laboratories currently must be UKAS accredited to offer asbestos identification or quantification, but methods for quantification may vary. However, any laboratory applying now must use the sedimentation method.
19 - the way forward UKAS are working to ensure all labs offer consistent methods and are accredited The HSL are revising HSG 248 to reflect these methods CLAIRE are working on training modules for site staff CIRIA are working on a Guideline document EIC have set up a subgroup to lobby the EA/DEFRA - soil SGV document not released so far EIC produced survey on asbestos awareness results under review
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