February 18, 2019

EARTH Magazine: Asbestos found in Nevada and Arizona

Alexandria, Va. — In 2011, geologists at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, began discovering asbestos where none should be — in granite rocks with a geologic history not previously known to produce asbestos.

The discoveries, in Clark County in southern Nevada and across the border in northwestern Arizona, suggest that asbestos may be more widespread than previously thought; they also raise questions about the potential health hazards of naturally occurring asbestos (NOA).

In 2012, an epidemiologist analyzing cancer data from Clark County found a higher incidence than expected of mesothelioma — a fatal cancer of the lining of the chest cavity that is caused by inhalation of asbestos. In response, geologists have discovered a geologically unexpected deposit of asbestos that might be the source. Disagreements on process between the scientists and the state have prevented the traditional publishing of those findings.

In Nevada, where some popular off-road recreational vehicle areas cross through these asbestos-bearing formations, the planned construction of the new Boulder City Bypass has spurred debate over how much asbestos is getting into the air, and what that means for public health.


Read more about the discovery, geology, and potential health hazards of the new asbestos deposits in the March issue of EARTH magazine

For more stories about the science of our planet, check out EARTH magazine online or subscribe at http://www.earthmagazine.org. The February issue, now available on the digital newsstand, features stories on new tracers that can identify fracking fluids in the environment, a stegosaurus’ deadly battle with an allosaurus, and a geological and historical exploration of the rocks, reefs and beaches of Bermuda, plus much, much more.

Keep up to date with the latest happenings in Earth, energy and environment news with EARTH magazine online at: http://www.earthmagazine.org/. Published by the American Geosciences Institute, EARTH is your source for the science behind the headlines.

The American Geosciences Institute is a nonprofit federation of 50 geoscientific and professional associations that represents more than 250,000 geologists, geophysicists and other earth scientists. Founded in 1948, AGI provides information services to geoscientists, serves as a voice of shared interests in the profession, plays a major role in strengthening geoscience education, and strives to increase public awareness of the vital role the geosciences play in society’s use of resources, resiliency to natural hazards, and interaction with the environment.

Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.

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EARTH Magazine: Asbestos found in Nevada and Arizona

Asbestos likely more widespread than previously thought

Naturally occurring asbestos minerals may be more widespread than previously thought, with newly discovered sources now identified within the Las Vegas metropolitan area. The asbestos-rich areas are in locations not previously considered to be at risk, according to new report that will be presented at the Annual Meeting of the Geological Society of America (GSA) in Vancouver, Canada, on Sunday, 20 October.

“These minerals were found where one wouldn’t expect or think to look,” said Rodney Metcalf, associate professor of geology at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and co-researcher of the study. The naturally occurring asbestos was found in Boulder City, Nevada, in the path of a construction zone to build a multi-million dollar highway called the Boulder City Bypass, the first stage of an I-11 corridor planned between Las Vegas and Arizona.

Asbestos is a family of fibrous minerals which are known to cause lung cancer, mesothelioma, and other serious respiratory related illnesses when the fibers are inhaled. The GSA presentation will focus on the discovery of types of asbestos that geologists call fibrous iron sodium amphiboles and fibrous actinolite in Clark County, Nevada, and the geological settings that caused the unusual asbestos formation, said Metcalf.

“[Asbestos] is like a precious metal deposit, it forms at the confluence of several geologic features, which vary at each location,” said Metcalf.

In this case, it was a geological confluence of groundwater interacting with rock salt and a cooling magma body deep below earth’s surface to form the fibers and create this type of asbestos, said Brenda Buck, a professor of geology at UNLV and co-researcher of the study.

Later the rock was brought to the surface where it now exposed to rain and wind that can disperse it. This is the first discovery of asbestos in this kind of geological setting and it suggests the minerals could occur in other similar settings around the globe, said Buck, who has a background in medical geology.

Many regulations have been created to protect people from exposure to mined and refined asbestos, like fibrous actinolite, which the scientists discovered. But some naturally occurring asbestos is not regulated or labeled toxic under federal law, though they can be just as dangerous or even more toxic to humans, said Buck.

Naturally occurring asbestos can also be harmful and difficult to control, especially when it becomes dust and can be transported on the wind.

The research is being performed while the construction for a Boulder City bypass has been delayed due to concerns about the hazard of the naturally occurring asbestos. Boulder City has about 15,000 residents, and is about 32 kilometers (20 miles) from the Las Vegas metropolitan area, home to over 1.9 million people.

Scientists are still researching the amount of asbestos that is in the soil in the construction area, its toxicity to humans, and how far it can be transported by wind.

The new research Metcalf will be presenting could help scientists locate more formations of naturally occurring asbestos in areas that were not previously considered, he said.

“This means that there could be a lot of areas in the world that could have asbestos that we don’t know about. So there are people that are being exposed that have no idea,” said Buck.

The abstract can be found online at: https://gsa.confex.com/gsa/2014AM/webprogram/Paper250494.html

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The above story is based on materials provided by Geological Society of America. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

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Asbestos likely more widespread than previously thought

Asbestos delays demolition of old Billings library

Like most Billings residents, Bill Cochran thought he’d be seeing the old Parmly Billings Library coming down by now, making way for a 100-space parking lot, new entrance for the library and considerable landscaping just outside the library’s Community Room.

“Things haven’t happened as quickly as we’ve been telling people they would happen,” Cochran, the Billings library director, said Tuesday.

The discovery of what’s called non-friable asbestos in the fifth floor of the old library is contributing to the project delay of up to a month, Cochran said. 

Non-friable asbestos isn’t harmful because its fibers are bound and thus not a breathing hazard.

“There were small amounts in unexpected places — tars and window gaskets — things that ordinarily would have been demolished and taken to the landfill,” Cochran said. “Considerably more caution is being exercised.”

Northern Industrial Hygiene of Billings tested the window gasket and found it contained a small amount of non-friable asbestos.

“It won’t come loose, and it’s not dangerous,” he said, “but it does have to be removed.”

Other factors have contributed to the delay, Cochran said. A sub-contractor expecting its asbestos abatement duties to have been completed by now allowed a state license to expire; renewing the license involves a mandatory 10-day review period, Cochran said.

Without work to do at the site, contractors and sub-contractors are turning their attention to other projects, he said.

The demolition, being done by LM Excavating of Columbia Falls, will restart next week, Cochran said. The demolition work uses green principles in accordance with the new library’s LEED Gold building certification. LEED is an acronym for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.

As the building comes down, clean materials like brick and concrete are separated from rebar — and, of course, from asbestos, wherever it’s found. The clean fill will be used in a boulder pit that will allow water taken from the new library’s roof to irrigate the landscaping.

The clean fill sits in neatly-stacked piles just west of the old library.

LM Excavating is expected on Monday to erect additional protective measures to ensure that as the old library comes down it does no damage to the new building. After that, the demolition can resume in earnest, with completion expected in late July. 

Cochran said a celebration upon culmination of the work is still being planned.

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Asbestos delays demolition of old Billings library

Asbestos 'slows down' HQ demolition

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Asbestos 'slows down' HQ demolition

Asbestos discovery closes Dickson businesses

WorkSafe ACT inspectors will carry out further testing to determine the extent of the exposure.
ABC WorkSafe ACT inspectors will carry out further testing to determine the extent of the exposure.

The discovery of asbestos fibres in a commercial building in Canberra’s inner-north has forced the shut down of several businesses.

Tests carried out by WorkSafe ACT on Thursday confirmed the presence of the potentially deadly fibres in a commercial building backing onto Woolley Street in Dickson.

Work Safety Commissioner Mark McCabe says it appears fibres are coming from the roof which is constructed of compressed asbestos.

“The fibres are collecting in the enclosed space of the businesses which are below that,” he said.

“Although their not coming down in great quantities, because they’re collecting there and people are walking about, that disturbs it and pushes those fibres up into the air and that’s when there’s a risk of people inhaling it.”

The businesses were closed immediately and it is not yet clear how long workers may have been exposed.

“Continued use of this building in its current state could lead to a high risk of exposure to friable asbestos,” Mr McCabe said.

More thorough testing of all the businesses will be conducted today to further clarify the situation.

Mr McCabe says it could be weeks before the businesses can reopen.

“We have to work out how much clean-up has to happen within the businesses, does the roof need to be replaced, does it need to be encapsulated?” he said.

“If the roof needs to be replaced that could be a major job.”

WorkSafe ACT will also investigate the circumstances which led to the exposure and if the building owner failed to meet their work health and safety obligations.

“To see what action the building owner should have been taking, or whether they were aware of this, and had they taken appropriate action to make sure the building was in a fit state for use for business,” Mr McCabe said.

Inspectors say the odds of the potentially deadly fibres contaminating nearby buildings are very low.

“While we believe that the likelihood of exposure for members of the public is low, if members of the public are concerned about possible exposure to asbestos, they should contact their local general practitioner,” Mr McCabe said.


Asbestos discovery closes Dickson businesses

Reconstruction Unravels Asbestos in Charleston Airport, Florida Asbestos Testing Firm – AGC Environmental – Gives …

…like its mold inspection and testing and other environmental services, it[AGC Environmental] pointed out that it is implemented by an expert in accordance to the Florida state guidelines.

Charleston, SC (PRWEB) January 23, 2014

An asbestos problem was recently discovered in Charleston Airport. In connection with it, AGC Environmental, a Florida asbestos testing company, gave out an advise how the public could early detect its presence and avoid its health risks.

A report from postandcourier.com dated January 22, 2014, said that it was the recent renovations being done in the airport that led to the discovery of asbestos. It detailed that it was particularly found at the front wall of the building, the outside wall of Concourse A and a number of other areas.

Nonetheless, John Connell, deputy director of engineering and planning for the Charleston County Aviation Authority, said in the report that the airport is safe for the public. He detailed that the asbestos was not in the public sections of the building and they were already proceeding to the removal of it. Moreover, it was said that the areas were already barricaded and the employees were informed about it as well.

Below is an excerpt from the said report.

“Charleston International Airport is monitoring air quality in some construction areas of the terminal after asbestos-laced materials were discovered during demolition on two exterior walls.

The two areas include the front wall, which is being ripped away to be replaced with glass to allow more light into the building, and behind the outside wall of Concourse A. That area is being expanded to include a new consolidated security checkpoint and upper-floor administrative offices.”

Exposure to asbestos could cause several health problems, including cancer, said AGC Environmental. And so, it commented that it’s a good thing officials were prompt in taking care of the asbestos in Charleston Airport.

However, it stated that asbestos could be present not just in huge buildings. It said that it could also be found even in houses and pose threats to anyone’s health.

With that said, AGC Environmental stated that it is important to detect the fibrous mineral’s presence early on. That way, its negative effects, particularly to health, could be prevented, it said. And to get that done, it stressed that an asbestos testing is needed.

For a Florida asbestos testing that is truly efficient though, the company only recommended its own. That’s because, like its mold inspection and testing and other environmental services, it pointed out that it is implemented by an expert in accordance to the Florida state guidelines.

Not just that. In addition, it cited that its asbestos expert witnesses also offer detailed report and advises about the problem. Those things, it stated, could be used in court room appearances regarding asbestos.

To learn more about it, AGC environmental invites the public to visit its website at http://agcenvironmental.com.

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Reconstruction Unravels Asbestos in Charleston Airport, Florida Asbestos Testing Firm – AGC Environmental – Gives …

Asbestos fears in Williamstown

Asbestos fears in Williamstown
Asbestos fears in Williamstown

Williamstown residents say that their children are at risk due to the way Kalgoorlie Consolidated Gold Mines have handled the discovery of asbestos on four vacant lots on Brownhill Road.

The asbestos was discovered after City of Kalgoorlie-Boulder rangers ordered KCGM, in November, to clean up a number of fire hazards on the properties.

Contractors employed by the Super Pit operator have spent the past week working at the site, which has a large amount of visible asbestos lying around.

Williamstown resident Paul Harris said he was concerned for the welfare of his family and neighbours, as well as the workers being exposed to the deadly material.

“They are meant to be clearing a fire hazard, so they are taking precautions to deal with those risks, and not the risks associated with asbestos,” Mr Harris said. “There is nobody supervising this work and, as a result, it’s not being done properly.”

A KCGM spokesperson said work was halted on the site as soon as the presence of asbestos was brought to the company’s and the city’s attention.

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Asbestos fears in Williamstown

Asbestos school closed until 2014

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Asbestos school closed until 2014

Asbestos school closed until 2014

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Asbestos school closed until 2014

Asbestos on site

Dumped asbestos has been found on the construction site of the 350-bed Eastern Goldfields Regional Prison redevelopment.

The find raises concerns about potential delays and an increase in the construction costs for the state-of-the-art $232 million facility.

The quantity of the carcinogen is undetermined, but the discovery has been confirmed by the City of Kalgoorlie-Boulder and the Department of Corrective Services.

Construction of the prison officially began on August 2. The City of Kalgoorlie-Boulder was notified of the find on August 15.

“It is the responsibility of the construction company to appoint someone to remove the asbestos,” City acting chief executive Rob Radosevich said.

“The City’s health and compliance department’s only involvement has been to undertake an initial site inspection in conjunction with the construction company and provide notifications and advice to the company or landowner.

“The construction company has not advised of any changes to its timeframe as a result of the asbestos. The cost of the cleanup is as yet unknown.”

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Asbestos on site