Asbestos Abatement >> Asbestos Pipe Insulation Removal

In February 2001 the. Environmental Protection Agency, as part of a national evaluation of facilities that received ore from the mine in Libby, Montana, collected surface soil, air, and Asbestos Pipe Insulation Removal surface dust samples from this. W.R. Grace Phoenix facility in Phoenix. 

EPA collected 14 soil samples (including one duplicate), 6 microvacuum dust samples (plus two blanks), and 4 ambient air samples (plus two blanks). Four bulk samples of suspect vermiculite-containing materials were also collected (EPA 2001). The Asbestos Pipe Insulation Removal results of the 2001 investigation are contained in Tables 1–4. 

Table 1 shows six Asbestos Pipe Insulation Removal composite microvacuum dust samples that were collected from horizontal surfaces within the on-site buildings. Appendix A, Figure 2 shows the sample locations. Samples were collected in the Office Building, Production Building, and Warehouse. 

Microvacuum dust samples were collected by drawing air through a mixed cellulose ester (MCE) filter (0.45 micrometer (µm) pore size) at a flow rate of 2.0 liters per minute (L/min.) for 2 minutes at each sampling location. The Asbestos Pipe Insulation Removal sampling was performed using battery-operated sampling pumps. 

To obtain a more representative dust sample, personnel vacuumed three separate 100-square centimeter (cm2 ) Asbestos Pipe Insulation Removal sampling areas per sampling cassette. Samples were analyzed by transmission electron microscopy (TEM) by the International Standards Organization (ISO) Method 10312. 

Two of the Asbestos Pipe Insulation Removal samples were rejected by the laboratory because of damage to the cassettes during shipping (e.g., the plastic seal caps fell off the ends of each cassette). Three of the remaining microvacuum samples were found to contain asbestos. Fourteen samples were collected at 13 locations at unpaved portions of the site (Table 2). 

Sample locations are shown in Appendix A, Figure 3. All of the soil samples were grab samples and Asbestos Pipe Insulation Removal were collected from approximately the top 3 inches of soil using a stainless steel scoop. Soil samples were analyzed using polarized light microscopy (PLM) in accordance with National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Method 9002. 

Sample results are reported as tremolite-actinolite to indicate the presence of Libby asbestos. Of the 14 soil samples, Asbestos Pipe Insulation Removal a maximum of 2 percent tremolite/actinolite asbestos was detected in a sample taken along the railroad tracks at the site’s western perimeter. 

In addition, 1 percent chrysotile and Asbestos Pipe Insulation Removal a trace amount of tremolite/actinolite asbestos were detected in a sample that was also collected at the railroad tracks. For the remaining 12 soil samples, a trace amount (i.e., less than 1 percent by visual estimate) of tremolite/actinolite asbestos was detected in each sample. 

A trace amount of chrysotile asbestos was also detected in 3 of the 12 soil samples. The three samples containing trace amounts of chrysotile were collected from unpaved areas along the eastern perimeters of the site and Asbestos Pipe Insulation Removal near the railroad tracks adjacent to the western perimeter. Tables 3 and 4 show the analytic results of the four air samples. 

These samples were collected in the office building, the production building, and Asbestos Pipe Insulation Removal the warehouse. These samples were collected while routine operations were occurring at the site. No deliberate attempt was made to stir up residual contamination;, therefore, these were not aggressive samples. 

Air samples were analyzed by ISO Method 10312: a TEM method that determines the types of asbestos fibers present, Asbestos Pipe Insulation Removal as well as the lengths, widths, and aspect ratios of the asbestos structures. Asbestos structures were detected in one of the four ambient air samples. 

This sample was collected between the exfoliation ovens and Asbestos Pipe Insulation Removal was found to contain 0.0107 s/cc of amphibole asbestos (tremolite-actinolite). The site investigation at the W.R. Grace Phoenix plant is part of ATSDR’s national effort to identify and evaluate potential asbestos exposures that may have occurred at sites where vermiculite mined in Libby, Montana was processed. 

This effort is known as the National Asbestos Exposure Review (NAER). The findings of studies conducted at Libby linked asbestos exposure with several health effects (ATSDR 2002; Peipins et al. 2003) and Asbestos Pipe Insulation Removal led to the current investigation of Libby-vermiculite processing sites, including the W.R. Grace Phoenix facility. 

Significantly, however, Asbestos Pipe Insulation Removal the asbestos exposures documented in the Libby community are in many ways unique to that community. Exposures in Libby include factors that will not be present as a group at other sites where Libby vermiculite was processed or handled. 

Asbestos Overview Asbestos is a general name applied to a group of silicate minerals consisting of thin, Asbestos Pipe Insulation Removal separable fibers in a parallel arrangement. Asbestos minerals fall into two classes: serpentine and amphibole. Serpentine or chrysotile asbestos has relatively long and flexible crystalline fibers; it is the predominant type of asbestos used commercially. 

Amphibole asbestos minerals are brittle and Asbestos Pipe Insulation Removal have a rod- or needle-like shape. Amphibole minerals regulated as asbestos by EPA and OSHA include five classes: • fibrous tremolite, • actinolite, • anthophyllite, • crocidolite, and • amosite. 

Other amphibole minerals such as winchite and richterite can, however, Asbestos Pipe Insulation Removal exhibit fibrous asbestiform properties (ATSDR 2001). Asbestos fibers do not have any detectable odor or taste. They do not dissolve in water or evaporate, and they are resistant to heat, fire, and chemical and biological degradation. 

The vermiculite mined at Libby contains amphibole asbestos, with a characteristic composition including tremolite, actinolite, richterite, and winchite; Asbestos Pipe Insulation Removal this material will be referred to as Libby asbestos. The raw vermiculite ore was estimated to contain up to 26% Libby asbestos as it was mined (MRI 1982). 

For most of the mine’s operation, Asbestos Pipe Insulation Removal Libby asbestos was considered a byproduct of little value and was not used commercially. The mined vermiculite ore was processed to remove unwanted materials and then sorted into various grades or sizes of vermiculite that were then shipped to sites across the nation for expansion (exfoliation) or use as a raw material in manufactured products. 

Samples of the various grades of unexpanded vermiculite shipped from the Libby mine contained 0.3%–7% fibrous tremolite-actinolite (by mass) (MRI 1982). The following sections provide an overview of several concepts relevant to the evaluation of asbestos exposure, including analytical techniques, toxicity and health effects, and Asbestos Pipe Insulation Removal the current regulations concerning asbestos in the environment. 

A more detailed discussion of these topics will also be provided in Asbestos Pipe Insulation Removal ATSDR’s upcoming summary report for the national review of vermiculite sites.

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