International Asbestos Testing Laboratories (iATL)

Asbestos in soil methods

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Courtesy of Courtesy of International Asbestos Testing Laboratories (iATL)

I wanted to start off this brief technical summary with an item that appeared in the January 2009 Indoor Environment Connections publication… “Asbestos in Soil; The State of the Issue, Tom Laubenthal, Sean Fitzgerald, Alan Seagrave, P.G. In this session, Laubenthal and Seagrave will describe the nature of asbestos contamination in soil. This issue has perplexed the industry for years. What constitutes a contaminated soil? How does one go about sampling and then analyzing soil for the presence of asbestos? Is the asbestos in the soil from site pollution or from naturally occurring sources? When performing a site clean up for asbestos, what constitutes “clean?” These are all questions that many in the asbestos control industry wrestle with on a regular basis often with little guidance from the regulatory community or well-defined industry practices. This session will be broken into three portions. The first will be an overview of the issues and the nature of the problems encountered. The second section will be the laboratory perspective; past and current lab analysis perspectives and data interpretation. The third section will describe the current asbestos-in-soil analysis method being developed by the ASTM (D-22.07).”

Tom and Alan are well-respected colleagues and friends. This plug for their presentation at the upcoming EIA conference is well-deserving and might even earn me a cold beer at the next ASTM committee meeting. Their topic, summarized here, has been the subject of debate among laboratory professionals and regulators for years. I strongly encourage you to attend this session for a more comprehensive review of this subject. So what’s the big deal about asbestos in soil? I mean, doesn’t the mineral originate in the ground?! Isn’t “asbestos in soil” redundant? For that matter, is “Naturally Occurring Asbestos” redundant? Isn’t asbestos only a problem in the air? There are, of course, multiple sources of regulations dictating how a bulk sample can be handled and analyzed for asbestos… isn’t that good enough? Consider also the questions posed in Tom and Alan’s abstract above. Like most issues surrounding anything asbestos, the answers can be quite complex.

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