Asbestos Exposure Risk Assessment

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1 Asbestos Exposure Risk Assessment Endeavour Energy Residential Houses Electrical Boxes around Western Sydney NSW November 2012 Our Ref: C107533: J Noel Arnold & Associates Pty Ltd Office 2, 120 Smith Street Wollongong NSW 2600 Ph: (02) Fax: (02) C107533: 1ATB J Endeavour Energy Electrical Box Asbestos Exposure Assessment Nov 2012 draft.1

2 November 2012 Asbestos Exposure Risk Assessment Endeavour Energy Residential Houses Electrical Boxes around Western Sydney NSW Executive Summary Introduction Noel Arnold & Associates Pty Ltd (NAA) was requested by Endeavour Energy (EE) to conduct an exposure risk assessment of a nominated EE employee and NAA staff member during reading electrical board meters within electrical boxes attached to residential houses located in Western Sydney NSW. The principal objective of this report is to provide an assessment of the potential risk to human health of the EE employees that read the meter boards with asbestos containing electrical backing boards. Background Information NAA were commissioned by EE to undertake this Asbestos Exposure Risk Assessment following concerns raised by Endeavour Energy employees that staff may be exposed to asbestos fibres during the meter board reading activities. Assessment Findings Asbestos Exposure Monitoring was undertaken on 29 th and 30 October 2012 during simulated meter reading of 143 houses in Tregear, Colyton and Fairfield areas. Results of air monitoring were calculated as less than the detection limit for the method (<0.01 fibres/ml). The cumulative exposure to asbestos fibres for EE employees as a result of access to the electrical boxes attached to residential houses is not expected to be substantially different to the background environment levels. As such, their exposure risk of the EE employees would be considered extremely low or negligible and unlikely to result in the development of an asbestos related disease. Conclusion The findings of this exposure risk assessment has found that, based on the information provided and the simulation exposure monitoring, the health risk posed by the identified asbestos containing materials within the electrical boxes to the EE employees is considered to be very low to negligible. Recommendations The following recommendations should be taken into consideration. These recommendations have been made based on this assessment and legislation requirements but have not taken into consideration other factors such as industrial and public relations. Update Endeavour Energy s pre-existing Asbestos Management Plan in accordance with the Code of Practice: How to Manage and Control Asbestos in the Workplace (WorkCover NSW, 2011). J Endeavour Energy Electrical Box Asbestos Exposure Assessment Nov 2012 draft.1 C107533: 1ATB Page: i

3 November 2012 Asbestos Exposure Risk Assessment Endeavour Energy Residential Houses Electrical Boxes around Western Sydney NSW Table of Contents 1. Introduction Scope Methodology Legislative Requirements Outline of Asbestos Risk Assessment Process Hazard Identification Toxicity Assessment Exposure Assessment Conclusion Appendix A: List of Residential Houses Visited During This Assessment Appendix B: Photographs Appendix C: Asbestos Fibre Exposure Air Monitoring Reports Appendix D: External Laboratory Analysis Reports Appendix E: References J Endeavour Energy Electrical Box Asbestos Exposure Assessment Nov 2012 draft.1 C107533: 1ATB Page: ii

4 November 2012 Statement of Limitations This report has been prepared in accordance with the agreement between the Endeavour Energy and Noel Arnold & Associates Pty Ltd. Within the limitations of the agreed upon scope of services, this assessment has been undertaken and performed in a professional manner, in accordance with generally accepted practices, using a degree of skill and care ordinarily exercised by members of its profession and consulting practice. No other warranty, expressed or implied, is made. This report is solely for the use of Endeavour Energy and any reliance on this report by third parties shall be at such party's sole risk and may not contain sufficient information for purposes of other parties or for other uses. This report shall only be presented in full and may not be used to support any other objective than those set out in the report, except where written approval with comments are provided by Noel Arnold & Associates Pty Ltd. J Endeavour Energy Electrical Box Asbestos Exposure Assessment Nov 2012 draft.1 C107533: 1ATB Page: iii

5 November Introduction Noel Arnold & Associates Pty Ltd (NAA) was requested by Endeavour Energy (EE) to conduct an exposure risk assessment of a nominated EE employee and NAA staff member during reading electrical board meters within electrical boxes attached to residential houses located in Western Sydney NSW. The assessment was requested by Michael Morrissey of EE and was conducted by Phil Carboni of Noel Arnold & Associates Pty Ltd on 29 th and 30 th October Background NAA were commissioned by EE to undertake this Asbestos Exposure Risk Assessment following concerns raised by Endeavour Energy employees that staff may be exposed to asbestos fibres during the meter board reading activities. 1.2 Objective The principal objective of this report is to provide an assessment of the potential risk to human health of the EE employees that read the meter boards with asbestos containing electrical backing boards. 2. Scope The scope of the assessment involved the following: Notes: Undertake asbestos exposure air monitoring during the job task of opening electrical meter boxes and performing a visual inspection of the meter boxes contents; The Asbestos Assessor to photograph meter boxes used in the sampling process and accompany the Endeavour Energy employee, whilst also participating in the exposure monitoring. To ensure a representative sample is achieved, the monitoring is to cover 150 openings of meter boxes housing asbestos containing material based electrical mounting board; & Subsequent to analysis of the filters for asbestos in NAA s NATA accredited laboratory, upon finding 8 fibres on one filter, all filters where sent to Microanalysis Australia for further testing of Fibre characterisation by scanning electron microscopy (SEM) with elemental analysis by energy dispersive spectroscopy (EDS). The scope of this assessment does not include a review of EE Management Plans documentation. No works were to be performed within the electrical boxes during this assessment. Electrical boxes opened on 29 th & 30 th October 2012 did not contain friable millboard materials. J Endeavour Energy Electrical Box Asbestos Exposure Assessment Nov 2012 draft.1 C107533: 1ATB Page: 1

6 November Methodology 3.1 Air Monitoring Air monitoring was undertaken in accordance with the Guidance Note on the Membrane Filter Method for Estimating Airborne Asbestos Fibres, 2 nd Edition, [NOHSC:3003: (2005)]. A total of four (4) personal asbestos samples were taken. Determination of airborne asbestos fibre samples were then performed in NAA s NATA Accredited Laboratory in accordance with Safe Work Australia s Guidance Note on the Membrane Filter Method for Estimating Airborne Asbestos Fibres, 2 nd Edition, [NOHSC:3003: (2005)] Refer NAA Internal Laboratory Test Method NALAB 301. Refer to Appendix C for the Asbestos Fibre Air Monitoring Reports. 3.2 Activity-Based Exposure Simulation Monitoring EE selected the sites for which this assessment was to include. 143 sites in Tregear, Colyton and Fairfield/Fairfield West areas were visited as part of this assessment. Streets in these areas were selected as the homes were of older construction and most likely to contain asbestos backing boards. The following was undertaken by NAA: Asbestos air monitoring during simulated activities to replicate (as far as possible) opening & closing the electrical boxes to read the meters boards; & Allocate a representative number of samples/monitoring shifts required for this activity. After the completion of the sampling/monitoring program and sample analysis, NAA: Considered and reviewed sources of asbestos in the electrical boxes; & Reported on the condition of asbestos products and assessed their contribution to asbestos exposure to the EE employees Exposure Air Monitoring The exposure air monitoring was set up by NAA staff prior to accompanying the EE staff along the EE designated routes whilst they opened and closed the meter boxes at each of the sites. Standard issue EE workwear was worn by the EE employee, and also a P1 rated disposable respirator. An EE staff member and the NAA consultant each wore calibrated SKC air sampling pumps to monitor air within their breathing zones for the duration of their shift. At the end of the monitoring period the pump and attached filter are collected, and in a laboratory, the filter is removed and mounted on a microscope slide. Under a microscope, random sections (fields) of the filter are examined, and the number of respirable fibres (fibres with certain size criteria that enable them to reach the lower sections of the lung) in each field is noted. A standard number of fields are selected and the cumulative total of the number of fibres is recorded. This information appears in the column Fibres/Fields on the asbestos fibre air monitoring report. Using the known flow rate of the pump and the sampling time, this data is converted to a concentration (fibres per millilitre of air), which appears in the Results column of the Asbestos Fibre Air Monitoring Report. Due to constraints (error) in all scientific method, there is a minimum airborne asbestos fibre concentration that can be measured and reported. This minimum level is known as the detection limit and is equivalent to 0.01 fibres/ml for Exposure monitoring. A non-elevated fibre reading cannot be expressed as zero ; rather a baseline expression <0.01 fibres/ml is used. A total of four (4) personal asbestos samples were taken (1 sample per person per day). Air monitoring was undertaken in accordance with the Guidance Note on the Membrane Filter Method for Estimating Airborne Asbestos Fibres, 2 nd Edition, J Endeavour Energy Electrical Box Asbestos Exposure Assessment Nov 2012 draft.1 C107533: 1ATB Page: 2

7 November 2012 [NOHSC:3003: (2005)]. Determination of airborne asbestos fibre samples were performed in NAA s NATA Accredited Laboratory. Refer to Appendix C for the asbestos air monitoring reports. 3.3 Summary of Air Monitoring Results Date No. meter boards opened/closed Exposure standard Results 29 October fibres/ml <0.01 fibres/ml 30 October fibres/ml <0.01 fibres/ml 3.4 Summary of Observations Subsequent to accompanying the EE employee opening/closing electrical meter boxes in the 143 nominated sites, the following was noted: All sites attended appeared to contain asbestos containing electrical boards (refer to sample photographs in Appendix B). It is noted that the backing boards were not sampled due to the inherent electrical risk in sampling the boards whilst live, however the age of the buildings and the visual observations pointed towards likely asbestos containing backing boards being present). No friable materials (such as millboard material) were noted in the electrical boxes. Only one of the sites contained suspected asbestos cement sheeting that lined the back of the meter box. Some of the meter boxes contained dust/swarf material. It is noted that no sampling of this material was undertaken (ie not part of scope of this assessment). The amount of time spent in the near vicinity of each electrical meter box during the assessment was approximately 2 minutes per site. This includes opening of the box, inspecting electrical safety, photographing the box, and closing the box External Analysis Fibre Characterisation by Scanning Electron Microscopy The results of the analysis of the air sampling conducted were calculated as <0.01 fibres ml, ie less than the detection limit for the method. However, a number of fibres were identified on the filters of the asbestos consultant. One of these filters was subsequently sent off to an external laboratory (Microanalysis Australia) for further analysis of these fibres to determine whether the fibres counted were asbestos. The samples were analysed using a JEOL 5800LV scanning electron microscope (SEM) fitted with an Oxford INCA energy dispersive spectrometer (EDS). EDS is a semi-quantitative technique (at best) on well prepared, optically flat samples. Factors such as sample unevenness may adversely bias elemental concentration interpretation. EDS has a spatial resolution of ~5 µm meaning spectra from particles less than this size may contain elemental concentrations biased by their surroundings. All images were acquired using backscatter electrons. Image brightness is proportional to average atomic number the brighter the pixel, the higher the atomic number of the element. Results of this further testing showed None of the observed fibres had the elemental composition of asbestos mineral fibre. Refer to Appendix D for external analysis reports. J Endeavour Energy Electrical Box Asbestos Exposure Assessment Nov 2012 draft.1 C107533: 1ATB Page: 3

8 November Qualitative Exposure Risk Assessment A qualitative assessment of the exposure risk of the receptor groups (which includes nominated EE employees) was conducted. The exposure risk assessment of the receptor groups to the asbestos materials identified is based upon the following factors: Extent of asbestos materials; Quantity, friability (where relevant), location, accessibility and condition of the asbestos products; Potential impact or disturbance potential of the asbestos products from the receptor group; Likelihood and quantity of fibres released and airborne levels surrounding the electrical boxes; Potential exposure to asbestos fibres of the EE employees; & Other information considered important or relevant. 4. Legislative Requirements 4.1 Summary of Legislation The following NSW legislation is relevant to the management and control of risks in the workplace: Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (NSW);& Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011 (NSW). Under the WHS Regulation, there are general obligations for EE as a controller of the Electrical Boxes to: Identify hazards (Section 34); Assess risks (Section 35); Eliminate or control risks (Section 36); & Review risk assessment and control measures (Section 37). In addition to above requirements, there are also specified documents for the management and control of asbestos in the workplace. 4.2 Asbestos The following documents relate to asbestos management: Code of Practice: How to Manage and Control Asbestos In The Workplace (WorkCover NSW, 2011);& Code of Practice: How to Safely Remove Asbestos (WorkCover NSW, 2011) Current Occupational Exposure Standards Occupational exposure standards are listed in the below document (and subsequent revisions). WorkSafe Australia [National Occupational Health and Safety Commission (NOHSC)] Exposure Standards for Atmospheric Contaminants in the Occupational Environment, May 1995 and from the Hazardous Substances Information System (HSIS) database on the Safe Work Australia website. J Endeavour Energy Electrical Box Asbestos Exposure Assessment Nov 2012 draft.1 C107533: 1ATB Page: 4

9 November 2012 The current exposure standards for asbestos in an occupational environment are: Asbestos Fibres Chrysotile Amosite Crocidolite Any mixture or unknown type Exposure Standard 0.1 fibres/ml 0.1 fibres/ml 0.1 fibres/ml 0.1 fibres/ml 4.3 Health Monitoring Clause 435 of the NSW WHS Regulation 2011 states that A person conducting a business or undertaking must ensure that health monitoring is provided, in accordance with clause 436, to a worker carrying out work for the business or undertaking if the worker is undertaking work on asbestos. Clause 435 also states that The person must ensure that the worker is informed of any health monitoring requirements before the worker carries out any work that may expose the worker to asbestos. J Endeavour Energy Electrical Box Asbestos Exposure Assessment Nov 2012 draft.1 C107533: 1ATB Page: 5

10 November Outline of Asbestos Risk Assessment Process Risk assessment is a process where toxicological data from animals and/or humans are combined with information regarding the degree of exposure, so that the potential impact of a contaminant on a specified population can be quantitatively predicted. As a written document, a risk assessment should include information on the toxicology and fate of the substance of concern as well as details on adverse effects experienced by humans due to exposure to the substance. This asbestos risk assessment approach to human health is in accordance with general principles of risk assessment and management outlined in the Code of Practice: How to Manage and Control Asbestos in the Workplace (WorkCover NSW, 2011). The following approach, based on the four (4) step risk assessment process below, has been developed to evaluate the health risks associated with the exposure to asbestos in occupational settings such as outdoor environments. Hazard Identification (Issue Identification) Review relevant documentation, conduct site inspection and interviews in order to obtain relevant information such as the location, extent, type and condition of the asbestos materials, quantity of asbestos within the product and activities that may have resulted in the exposure to airborne asbestos fibres. Toxicity (or Dose-response) Assessment Review current information on the toxicity of asbestos to humans in order to determine a relationship between the dose received and the incidence of an adverse health effect particularly with respect to low dose, occupational settings. Exposure Assessment Identifies the work groups or personnel who may have been exposed to asbestos (e.g.; contractors, general occupants) and then estimate the likely exposure to asbestos for each of the significant exposure routes. Risk Characterisation and Evaluation Incorporates the exposure assessment and toxicity assessment in order to characterise or evaluate the potential for adverse health effects and provide an overall assessment of risk. J Endeavour Energy Electrical Box Asbestos Exposure Assessment Nov 2012 draft.1 C107533: 1ATB Page: 6

11 November Hazard Identification The principal hazard associated with this exposure risk assessment is the contaminants, asbestos. 7.1 Asbestos Introduction Asbestos is the generic term for a group of six (6) naturally-occurring fibrous silicate minerals belonging to the serpentine and amphibole groups of rock-forming minerals. The common types of commercial asbestos have been chrysotile (white asbestos), which is a serpentine mineral, and amosite (brown asbestos) and crocidolite (blue asbestos), which are amphibole minerals. Anthophyllite, tremolite and actinolite, which are also amphiboles, are other asbestos types used less widely. Asbestos has been mined, processed and used in over 3,000 products in the past hundred years. Asbestos and asbestos containing materials were used extensively in Australia between the 1940 s and 1980 s 1. The major uses of asbestos materials in buildings include: thermal and acoustic insulation, fire-proofing, decorative finishes and construction materials (e.g.; cement sheeting for walls, partitions and ceiling, felt membranes & vinyl tiles). Some asbestos uses including frictional materials and gaskets were only discontinued in Chrysotile accounts for 97% of the asbestos used throughout the world Asbestos Fibre Type The asbestos fibre types generally found within electrical backing boards from residential houses are chrysotile (white) asbestos. Chrysotile fibres are generally white or pale greenish in colour, soft, silky, flexible and parallel but curly fibres Friability of Asbestos Electrical backing boards are referred to as bonded asbestos materials as the asbestos bundles are generally bound within the matrix of the product. For a significant quantity of asbestos fibres to be released from these bonded materials, aggressive or significant disturbance is required such as drilling, cutting or sawing particularly with power tools Quantity of Asbestos within Products Fibre cement sheeting (non friable asbestos) typically contains 10 15% asbestos fibre by weight. Only one site during the current assessment contained suspected asbestos cement sheeting as a backing to the meter box. Asbestos containing electrical backing boards would typically contain <20% asbestos within the tar pitch board. Electrical backing boards constructed/installed prior to 1988 may contain asbestos. Friable materials are those which can easily be crumbled, pulverised or reduced to powder by hand pressure and typically contain higher percentages of asbestos material. Millboard materials are a friable asbestos containing material and can contain relatively high percentage of asbestos (70% - 90%). No millboard insulation was observed within the electrical boxes during the simulated works. J Endeavour Energy Electrical Box Asbestos Exposure Assessment Nov 2012 draft.1 C107533: 1ATB Page: 7

12 November Toxicity Assessment 8.1 Asbestos General Since the early 1960 s the link between asbestos exposures and related diseases such as mesothelioma has become well established. Most evidence has come from studies of groups with known occupational exposures to asbestos, in which asbestos related diseases are largely a result of past high occupational exposures of persons employed in the asbestos mining, processing or production industries or in the building trade. However, it has also been shown that environmental or non-occupational exposures such as household contact with exposed workers or residences near an asbestos source such as an asbestos mine or asbestos manufacturing factory can result in asbestos related diseases such as mesothelioma 1. All types of commercially available asbestos are well known to cause fibrosis of the lung and pleura as well as cancer of the lung, mesothelium and possibly the gastrointestinal tract in humans 7. There is an increased risk of lung cancer associated with age, cumulative asbestos exposure and smoking. The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) states that there is no persuasive evidence to suggest children are more susceptible to asbestos toxicity than adults 8. The Health Effects Institute (HEI) 9 state that for similar cumulative exposures, short exposure times produce larger risks than long exposure times and that exposure at younger ages will produce younger excess mortality rates. Asbestos is a ubiquitous naturally occurring mineral fibre. Berry 10 established that in a study group of fifty urban dwelling year old Australian males, the median asbestos lung burden was 0.31 million fibres per gram of dry lung tissue. Further to this, most people living in urban centres generally contain hundreds of thousands or millions of asbestos fibres in their lungs Summary of Asbestos Related Diseases There are three (3) primary diseases associated with the inhalation of asbestos fibres, which are asbestosis, lung cancer and mesothelioma. Asbestosis Asbestosis is a form of lung disease (pneumoconiosis) directly caused by inhaling asbestos fibres, causing irreversible scarring (fibrosis) of the lung tissue, which decreases the ability of the lungs to transfer oxygen to the blood. Asbestos fibres can remain in the lungs for long periods and the fibrosis that results from their presence continues to develop for many years after exposure stops. Asbestosis may become evident 5 to 15 years after continued exposure to high respirable asbestos fibre concentrations 1. There is evidence to suggest that a threshold effect associated with asbestosis is a cumulative threshold fibre dosage of between 25 to 100 fibres.years/ml (also referred to as fibre years), which is representative of heavy exposure when compared to the current occupational time weighted average (TWA) exposure for asbestos fibres of 0.1 fibres/ml (i.e. 10 years exposure at the TWA exposure standard of 0.1 fibres/ml equates to 1 fibre.year/ml). Lung Cancer Asbestos causes lung cancer and acts synergistically with tobacco smoke in the development of lung cancer. Lung cancer can occur many years after initial exposure (i.e. 10 to 40 years later). Lung cancer has been identified in persons exposed to respirable asbestos in occupational environments and has been associated with exposure to any of the fibre types 1. J Endeavour Energy Electrical Box Asbestos Exposure Assessment Nov 2012 draft.1 C107533: 1ATB Page: 8

13 November 2012 Mesothelioma Mesothelioma is a cancer of the lining of the chest cavity (the pleura) or less commonly the lining of the abdominal cavity (the peritoneum). It is generally, but not always, associated with continued occupational or other high exposure to respirable asbestos. Mesothelioma generally does not occur until 20 to 50 years after exposure. Mesothelioma has been associated with all types of asbestos. However, the evidence for causality is strongest with amphiboles, in particular crocidolite. Mesothelioma incidence does not appear to be affected by smoking history Fibre Type, Size and Respirability The physical and chemical properties of the fibres including fibre type, size and shape and also persistence in the lungs are important determinants of asbestos related diseases. The length and diameter of the fibre are important characteristics in determining its respirability and therefore its toxicity. Respirable asbestos fibres between m in length with diameters less than 2 m, and with aspect ratios greater than five to one appear to have the greatest adverse effect 11. Fibres outside the respirable size range or fibres contacting the bronchi walls will be removed by the muco-ciliary escalator and expectorated or swallowed. Swallowed fibres pass through the alimentary tract and are excreted in the faeces. Fibres remaining suspended in the air may in fact be exhaled again. Asbestos fibres retained in the lung are trapped in the respiratory bronchioles and alveoli generally of the lower lobes. Bundled fibres are not respirable and hence pose less of a risk. Fibres shorter than 5 m do not appear to cause asbestos related diseases or at least are much less potent than longer fibres. Nasal hairs would intercept most fibres 200 m in length. Another property unique to asbestos fibres is their ability, when ruptured with some form of mechanical force, to split along the length of the fibre into numerous fibrils of much smaller diameter. Other fibres, such as Synthetic Mineral Fibres (SMF), tend to shatter or break transversely into shorter fragments of the same diameter. This ability of asbestos to split longitudinally allows the production of extremely fine fibres with very good aerodynamic properties. The typical average fibre diameters are: amosite 0.4 microns, crocidolite 0.2 microns and chrysotile 0.16 microns 12. Composition is only important in terms of durability in the lungs. The difference in the morphology of chrysotile, having curly fibres, is important with respect to its behaviour in the respiratory system. This property has the effect of increasing the overall aerodynamic diameter of the fibres thereby making it less likely that they will penetrate to the smaller airways of the lung. The harsh needle-like structures of the Amphiboles have a greater ability to penetrate into the fine airways of lungs 13. The health risk associated with chrysotile is considered less than that of amosite and crocidolite due to the physical and chemical properties of the fibres. The retention of amphibole fibres in the lungs is higher than chrysotile due to the fibre s durability and resistance to the lung s clearance mechanisms. Therefore, the amphibole fibres such as crocidolite and amosite are considered more potent than chrysotile and appear to be the critical fibres in the development of mesothelioma. Many publications indicate that the toxic and carcinogenic effects of the asbestos fibres can be correlated not only to the fibre length and fibre diameter but also to the physical and chemical properties of the fibre at the surface 13, 14, 15. Monschaux et al., 1981 and Pott, 1978 report that in biological experiments with animals it has been shown that the toxic and carcinogenic potency decreases with increased leaching of the chrysotile fibres. J Endeavour Energy Electrical Box Asbestos Exposure Assessment Nov 2012 draft.1 C107533: 1ATB Page: 9

14 November Exposure Response Relationship Various literature indicates, that based on persons exposed occupationally to elevated concentrations of airborne asbestos fibres, the risk of lung cancer and mesothelioma has been observed to increase with the extent (level and duration) of exposure to asbestos. Studies, which provide dose response information on the inhalation effects of asbestos in humans are summarised in Table 3-1 in the ATSDR Toxicological Profile for Asbestos (2001). In many studies, a linear dose response relationship has been observed between lung cancer and asbestos exposure. However, there is a delay of 10 to 20 years following exposure before the increased risk can manifest. The ATSDR (2001) suggest a delay of 20 to 40 years as the latency period required for asbestos induced mesothelioma. As previously noted, the incidence of asbestos related diseases described in Section 8.1 was associated with exposure to high concentrations of airborne asbestos fibres. Enheath (2003) reported that workplace atmospheric asbestos levels in the mining and manufacturing industries would have been well above 100 fibres/ml prior to more stringent workplace practices were introduced. Workers handling loose asbestos were commonly exposed to hundreds of fibres/ml. HEI (1991) noted that estimated levels published for the crocidolite miners of Western Australia varied from 20 to 100 fibres/ml. Occupational exposure to asbestos in the 1960 s was commonly around 20 fibres/ml for many high risk industries with much lower exposure levels in subsequent years. Due to the introduction of more stringent work practices such as enclosed systems and dust extraction systems in the asbestos manufacturing processes in recent years in Australia, exposure levels to asbestos in these occupational settings has been reduced significantly. NICNAS (1999) notes that personal monitoring data for Bendix Mintex Pty Ltd in Australia, (who manufactured chrysotile containing frictional materials such as brake disc pads and clutches), had approximately 84% of the 461 samples taken between 1992 and 1997 were <0.1 fibres/ml. The ATSDR (2001) notes the cumulative exposure levels that have been associated with lung fibrosis in groups of chronically exposed workers, which include the British asbestos textile factory workers (38 fibre.years/ml), Indian asbestos cement workers (62 fibre.years/ml), British Columbian chrysotile miners and millers (30 fibre.years/ml), South African crocidolite and amosite miners (70 fibre.years/ml). Some epidemiological studies have detected little or no increase in lung cancer until the cumulative exposure dose of asbestos exceeds 25 to 100 fibre.years/ml. Enhealth (2003) notes that Doll and Peto (1985) endorsed the Ontario Royal Commission suggested threshold for asbestosis of 25 fibre.years/ml (eg; 25 years exposures at 1 fibre/ml). They also estimated a 1% increase in the standardised mortality ratio for lung cancer per year of exposure to 1 fibre/ml. ATSDR (2001) notes that signs of lung fibrosis and increased mortality associated with asbestosis and non-malignant respiratory disease have been observed in groups of workers with chronic cumulative exposures as low as 15 to 70 fibre.years/ml and 32 to 1,271 fibre.years/ml for asbestosis-associated mortality. Such exposures would result from 40 years of occupational exposure to air concentrations of to 30 fibres/ml. EnHealth (2005) notes that in a review of dose-response at low levels of asbestos exposure, Iwatsubo et al (1998) state that there were no cases of mesothelioma among the Wittenoon crocidolite miners exposed for less than 3 months and none among the North American insulators whose exposure lasted less than 15 months. NICNAS (February 1999) noted that there was no detectable excess deaths due to lung cancer, gastrointestinal cancer or other cancer in a mortality study of over 13,000 workers at a UK factory producing frictional products between 1941 and The workers were generally exposed to 5 to 20 fibres/ml in certain areas between , 5 fibres/ml after 1950 and <1 fibre/ml after The exposure of asbestos to persons in ambient conditions and inside buildings is several orders of magnitude lower than the concentrations in occupational settings indicated J Endeavour Energy Electrical Box Asbestos Exposure Assessment Nov 2012 draft.1 C107533: 1ATB Page: 10

15 November 2012 above. The levels of asbestos in the ambient and indoor environment are discussed in more detail in Section ATSDR (2001) notes that the cumulative or lifetime exposure level of asbestos in the ambient (outdoor) air, which has a typical concentration of 2x10-6 fibres/ml is fibre.years/ml. ATSDR (2001) notes that the cumulative exposure level of asbestos in the indoor air, which has a typical concentration of 3x10-6 fibres/ml is fibre.years/ml. It should be noted that the cumulative exposure level for ambient and indoor air is based on the typical airborne asbestos fibre concentration over a life span of 70 years and assuming 10% of the time is outdoors and 90% of the time is indoors. J Endeavour Energy Electrical Box Asbestos Exposure Assessment Nov 2012 draft.1 C107533: 1ATB Page: 11

16 November Exposure Assessment 9.1 General The next step in the assessment process is to identify the work groups who may be exposed to asbestos fibres to estimate the magnitude, frequency, extent and duration of exposures within the time period considered, which are varying time periods depending on the receptor groups. By considering the EE employees during the meter board reading, it is possible to estimate the potential level of asbestos exposure by which the employees may be exposed. The results of the exposure assessment will then be considered in conjunction with the specific toxicity criteria to provide an overall assessment of the risk. The determination of the asbestos exposure to the receptor groups has been based on the information provided, our assessment of the activities undertaken of the electrical boxes within the time frame, an estimate of the duration of activities potentially resulting in asbestos exposure and the application of exposure estimates for the asbestos related disturbance activities referenced from published literature. There are a number of assumptions made in order to determine the exposure estimate(s), which are outlined in this report. There are four (4) main elements that form part of the exposure assessment: Identification of the receptor groups that may have been exposed to asbestos fibres; Identification of the exposure pathways; Identification of the activities by which exposure may occur for each receptor group; & Estimation of the airborne asbestos fibre concentrations as a result of the specific activity. 9.2 Identification of Receptor Groups The following summarises the receptor group and their particular locations that were frequented during their time reading the meters within the electrical boxes. Refer to Appendix A for the site map and the identified route throughout Western Sydney Receptor Group Endeavour Energy Employees Endeavour Energy (EE) employees access electrical boxes attached to residential houses to read the meter boards throughout Sydney all year round. 9.3 Identification of the Exposure Pathways Asbestos The two (2) principal routes of exposure to asbestos in the occupational environment are inhalation of ambient air and, to a much lesser degree, ingestion of drinking water. In the case of high levels of exposure some of the inhaled asbestos fibres may also be swallowed with mucous secretion from the respiratory tract. Imray (13) states, however, that there is no convincing evidence that ingested asbestos is carcinogenic in animals and that the vast majority of ingested asbestos passes through the intestinal tract and is excreted in the faeces. Exposures through the skin and possible ingestion of asbestos in foods are considered to be much less important. i. Identification of the Asbestos Disturbance Activities As previously discussed, the receptor group who may have been exposed to asbestos fibres are the EE employees while reading the meter boards. Refer to Appendix A for the list of residential houses visited throughout Western Sydney. J Endeavour Energy Electrical Box Asbestos Exposure Assessment Nov 2012 draft.1 C107533: 1ATB Page: 12

17 November 2012 ii. Estimation of Airborne Asbestos Levels Studies have indicated that short term minor disturbance activities on asbestos materials are likely to result in elevated fibre concentrations in the workers breathing zone. However, there is no evidence to indicate there is an impact on the ambient asbestos levels in buildings outside the work area. The disturbance activities involved with these receptor groups are considered to be very low/negligible, as there are virtually no disturbance activities in opening and closing of the meter boxes. The airborne asbestos concentrations surrounding these areas is unlikely to be significantly affected or unchanged. NAA conducted an activity-based simulation exposure monitoring program (Refer to Section 3.4 for further details). Personal asbestos air fibre monitoring was conducted during opening of 143 electrical boxes attached to residential houses. (Refer to Appendix A for the list of residential houses visited throughout Western Sydney). The results of the air monitoring indicated the airborne asbestos fibre concentrations were all less than the reporting limit of <0.01 fibres/ml during these activity-based simulations. All filters were sent to Microanalysis Australia for further testing for Fibre characterisation by scanning electron microscopy (SEM) with elemental analysis by energy dispersive spectroscopy (EDS) where results indicated that none of the observed fibres had the elemental composition of asbestos mineral fibre. 9.4 Asbestos Background Concentrations of Airborne Respirable Asbestos Fibres Asbestos is a ubiquitous naturally occurring mineral fibre and is widespread in the environment. The general population is exposed to low levels of asbestos fibres primarily by inhalation but also ingestion. Background concentrations of asbestos in air and water have been studied in Australia as well as overseas. Sources of ambient or background asbestos fibre concentrations arise from release of asbestos containing friction materials, vast areas of asbestos cement clad roofing and other asbestos products, large natural asbestos deposits, contaminants in other minerals such as talc and vermiculite, emissions from mining and associated processing, and asbestos product manufacturing. Asbestos is also released during removal of asbestos building products and waste handling. The exposure of asbestos to persons in ambient conditions and inside buildings is several orders of magnitude lower than the concentrations in occupational settings. Airborne asbestos concentrations in remote areas of the United States have been reported to be generally less than fibres/ml and up to fibres/ml in urban areas 24. The asbestos fibre concentration in the outdoor environment of West Australian schools, which had asbestos cement roofs was <0.002 fibres/ml 25. Background air concentrations have been estimated in London to range from to fibres/ml 26. American Board on Toxicity and Environmental Health Hazards 27 estimated that ambient air concentrations of asbestos fibres are in the order of f/ml. The airborne asbestos fibre concentration in the urban environment in the vicinity of asbestos processing plants has been measured in the range of to 0.01 fibres/ml. Literature indicates that the airborne asbestos concentrations in indoor building environments containing asbestos materials are similar to the outdoor concentrations. The HEI (1991) indicated that the mean respirable asbestos fibre concentration in public and commercial buildings, based on 1377 air samples is fibres/ml, which is in the order of 50,000 times lower than the occupational levels of the past. J Endeavour Energy Electrical Box Asbestos Exposure Assessment Nov 2012 draft.1 C107533: 1ATB Page: 13

18 November Assessment of Exposure for Endeavour Energy Employees There were no specific disturbance activities identified as part of the assessment by EE employees. The employees may have been in the vicinity of asbestos materials (electrical backing boards containing asbestos), but given the activities undertaken whilst reading the meter boards, the potential cumulative exposure to asbestos fibres would be considered very low to negligible. Based on the estimated duration and concentration of exposure to asbestos by EE employees (i.e. below the reporting limits of <0.01 fibres/ml) during reading the meter boards, their increased cumulative exposure to asbestos fibres during this activity would be considered to be negligible and not above the cumulative background levels of the ambient and outdoor environment. Furthermore, the risk of the EE employees reading the meter boards to develop asbestos related diseases such as mesothelioma and lung cancer from exposure to asbestos in the occupational environment has been described as undetectably low or negligible by various literature. The estimated lifetime cancer risk for the exposure to asbestos in an outdoor and indoor environment is considered to be extremely low or a rare-event risk, which is similar to other natural risk situations such as death from lightning and hurricanes. J Endeavour Energy Electrical Box Asbestos Exposure Assessment Nov 2012 draft.1 C107533: 1ATB Page: 14

19 November Conclusion The findings of this exposure risk assessment has found that, based on the information provided and the simulation asbestos exposure monitoring, the health risk posed by the identified asbestos containing materials within electrical boxes to the Endeavour Energy employees is considered to be very low to negligible Asbestos There were no specific disturbance activities identified as part of the assessment by the EE employees. The EE employees have been in the vicinity of asbestos materials, but given the activities undertaken whilst reading the meter boards, the potential contribution to the employees cumulative exposure to asbestos fibres would be considered very low to negligible Recommendations The following recommendations have, therefore, been made. It should be noted that these recommendations have been made based on this assessment and legislation requirements but have not taken into consideration other factors such as industrial and public relations. Update Endeavour Energy s pre-existing Asbestos Management Plan in accordance with the Code of Practice: How to Manage and Control Asbestos in the Workplace (WorkCover NSW, 2011). J Endeavour Energy Electrical Box Asbestos Exposure Assessment Nov 2012 draft.1 C107533: 1ATB Page: 15

20 November 2012 Asbestos Exposure Risk Assessment Endeavour Energy Residential Houses Electrical Boxes around Western Sydney NSW Appendix A: List of Residential Houses Visited During This Assessment J Endeavour Energy Electrical Box Asbestos Exposure Assessment Nov 2012 draft.1 C107533: 1ATB Page: 16

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