Thursday, March 10, 2011

Asbestos contaminated soils: the health risk lurking in your backyard?

Asbestos was widely used in all types of buildings until about 30 years ago. As a result, asbestos contaminated soils are often present on brownfield sites – before, during and after redevelopment. We frequently come across high levels of asbestos contamination in gardens and community recreation areas. During dry weather, asbestos can easily become airborne as a result of any soil disturbance, for example from children playing, gardening and major construction activities. Asbestos contaminated soil can easily be transferred indoors on shoes or carried on vehicle wheels to public highways, causing additional, secondary exposures. Tailored risk assessments and asbestos management procedures, appropriate for the current/planned use of affected ground, are required to avoid increased risks of lung cancer and mesothelioma.
Although statistics show a growing number of people who have never worked with asbestos are suffering with an asbestos-related disease, most documented cases are caused by occupational exposure to the toxic mineral. This is due to the likeliness of repeated exposure, which occurs through standard operations in a variety of industries and jobsites.
Jobsites such as asbestos mines, processing plants and
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