152135 Environmental asbestos contamination: Precautionary approaches for naturally occurring and manmade pollution

Wednesday, November 7, 2007: 3:30 PM

Jeffery C. Camplin, MS, CSP, CPEA , Camplin Environmental Services, Inc., Rosemont, IL
Naturally occurring asbestos and amphibole minerals, and elevated levels of asbestos pollution created by industrial/mining operations, have impacted public health in Libby, Montana. Now the presence of environmental asbestos contamination threatens the public health of many other communities in the United States. Naturally occurring asbestos and amphibole minerals have been found in Alexandria Virginia, and Eldorado California, leading to precautionary guidance and local regulations. Manufacturing and mining industries have also caused elevated levels of environmental asbestos contamination at former WR Grace vermiculite processing sites, former Johns-Manville manufacturing facilities, and abandoned mining sites. An overview of the issues at these sites will be provided. New science on toxicity of amphibole forms of asbestos and other amphibole minerals indicate that these minerals are 100-300 more toxic than the much more common serpentine asbestos minerals used in the manufacturing of asbestos-containing materials. Unfortunately the tools, testing and analytical methods previously used to assess potential risk from human exposure to environmental asbestos contamination cannot be used to conclude asbestos exposures do not pose an unreasonable risk to human health. New risk-based tools are under development by USEPA. Current gaps in asbestos risk assessments and the resulting precautionary principles necessary to address these gaps in knowledge will be discussed. The presentation will conclude with a case study overview of how politically influenced public health agencies are inadequately addressing asbestos contamination that is present along the Illinois Lake Michigan shoreline including Oak Street beach in Chicago which was found to be contaminated with tremolite asbestos.

Learning Objectives:
1.Recognize limitations of previous asbestos public health assessments and risk assessments 2.Understand the public health implications from exposures to naturally occurring asbestos and elevated outdoor asbestos pollution caused by industry. 3.Analyze precautionary principles necessary to prevent community members unnecessary environmental exposures to asbestos and amphibole mineral contamination

Keywords: Asbestos, Public Health Policy

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Any relevant financial relationships? No
Any institutionally-contracted trials related to this submission?

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.