Research Article Open Access

Rocks with Asbestos: Risk Evaluation by Means of an Abrasion Test

Bellopede Rossana, Clerici Carlo, Marini Paola and Zanetti Giovanna


Naturally occurring asbestos and asbestiform minerals can be found in metamorphic rocks and in the soil of the alluvial plains. Problem statement: The definition of the "free-asbestos rock" and the limit to consider a rock or a soil safe is still a controversial issue. American and European laws did not present any method to define the hazard of the green stones, instead Italian law, in Ministerial Decree1996, established a limit value obtaoined by the determination of the Release Index. In order to detect an asbestos concentration in the rocks, a reliable analytic methodology has been necessary. Approach: An abrasion trial, using the mechanism action of a rotary cylinder, and a Phase Contrast Optical Microscopy (PCOM) method to analyze the powder obtained from the mill, had been used. To simplify PCOM analysis, the sample, recovered from the mill, was selected in particle size classes: large, medium and small. Each class was separated by means of sedimentation in fibrous and granular fractions. Results: The separation of asbestos in large and medium classes was quite good and the fibers had been weighed. For the small class the transformation of visible data into numerical data was complex, but the results had been reliable. Conclusion/Recommendations: The suggested method, although semi-quantitative, could be useful to solve the difficult problem of the analysis of the asbestos content in the rocks or soils. The division into granular classes allowed a more representative sample to be analyzed and better quality slides to be prepared. From the results obtained, the analysis of the small classes by means of PCOM was a critical point: The use of the SEM method can improve it.

American Journal of Environmental Sciences
Volume 5 No. 4, 2009, 501-507


Submitted On: 13 May 2009 Published On: 31 October 2009

How to Cite: Rossana, B., Carlo, C., Paola, M. & Giovanna, Z. (2009). Rocks with Asbestos: Risk Evaluation by Means of an Abrasion Test. American Journal of Environmental Sciences, 5(4), 501-507.

  • 5 Citations



  • Asbestiform minerals
  • hazard
  • release index
  • PCOM