Environmental monitoring of airborne fluoro-edenite fibrous amphibole in Biancavilla (Sicily, Italy): a nine-years survey.

Maria Rita Pinizzotto, Carmelo Cantaro, Maria Caruso, Luciano Chiarenza, Carmelo Petralia, Sebastiano Turrisi, Antonio Brancato

Abstract


Biancavilla was recognized as a National Priority Contaminated Site in 2002 due to environmental dispersion of amphibole fibres with fluoro-edenitic composition. The mining extraction in Monte Calvario quarries and the wide use of sand and rubble in local building industry were responsible for the inhalation of fluoro-edenite fibres by the resident population.


Since 2001, environmental and health authorities have promoted a series of remediation and dust mitigation activities in order to reduce the airborne fibre concentration and population exposure.


Regional Environmental Agency of Sicily Territorial - Structure of Catania (Agenzia Regionale per la Protezione Ambientale della Sicilia, ARPA Sicilia) has started in 2009 an ongoing airborne fibre monitoring. The present report describes results of fluoro-edenite time trend concentrations obtained from 865 air samples collected in Biancavilla from July, 2009 to November, 2017 and analyzed by scanning electron microscopy with energy dispersive spectroscopy (SEM-EDS).


Results demonstrate a real improvement of Biancavilla environmental situation and a gradual reduction of exposure as a consequence of the dust mitigation measures. Nevertheless, a continuous environmental follow up should be carefully carried out particularly during high risk fibre releasing activities, such as excavations and demolitions, in order to prevent adverse health effects.


Keywords


Natural asbestos; fluoro-edenit; air fibre concentrations; population exposure; Biancavilla; asbestos-like

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