Saturday, August 15, 2009

What's the Fiber Release From Asbestos Cement Roofs - Still Don't Know

Annals of Occupational Hygiene Advance Access originally published online on June 2, 2009
Annals of Occupational Hygiene 2009 53(6):627-638; doi:10.1093/annhyg/mep036
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© The Author 2009. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the British Occupational Hygiene Society

Risk Assessment of the Decay of Asbestos Cement Roofs

Antonella Campopiano1,*, Deborah Ramires1, Aneta Maria Zakrzewska2, Rosa Ferri3, Antonio D'annibale3 and Giancarlo Pizzutelli3

1 Department of Occupational Hygiene, National Institute for Occupational Prevention and Safety (ISPESL), 00040 Monte Porzio Catone, Rome, Italy
2 National Institute for Occupational Prevention and Safety (ISPESL), 88046 Lamezia Terme, Catanzaro, Italy
3 ASL Frosinone, Department of Prevention, 03100 Frosinone, Rome, Italy

* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed. Tel: +39-06-94181445; fax: +39-06-94181419; e-mail: antonella.campopiano@ispesl.it

Objectives: In an assessment of the risk of asbestos fibres release from asbestos cement materials, an important role is played by the assessment of the surface corrosion and by the disaggregation of asbestos cement. The aim of this work is to evaluate the differences among several methods used for the risk assessment that lead to a specific choice of abatement techniques.

Methods: The state of deterioration of 40 asbestos cement roofs was evaluated using two priority assessment algorithms elaborated in Italy, the ‘pull-up test’ described by the Italian Organization for Standardization and the indicators described in the Italian legislation coupled with the observation of a small sample, taken from each roof, by a stereomicroscope.

Results: The results obtained with the methods, proposed in this study, for the risk assessment of the decay of asbestos cement roofs show slight differences among them, only one deviates from the others in judgement on the state of conservation of the roof.

Conclusions: It is very important to train the operator conducting the study since a completely subjectivity-free method does not exist. Whatever method is used will always be affected by the subjectivity linked to the competency and the training of the operator. Moreover, each method on its own cannot assess the risk of exposure to asbestos, but reliable assessment of asbestos-containing materials requires the use of more than one method, such as visual inspections, a pull-up test, and an assessment algorithm.

Keywords: asbestos cement roof • priority assessment algorithm • pull-up test • risk assessment • SEM

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