Defra - Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

Science Search

Science and Research Projects

Return to Science Search homepage   Return to Project List

Establishment of typical background levels of dispersed asbestos fibres in urban and rural soils in England and Wales - SP1014

Description
To establish an estimate of the range of typical background dispersed asbestos fibres in soil concentrations in England and Wales that are primarily a result of atmospheric dispersion and deposition of fibres from historic import and use of asbestos products in England and Wales.

It is not the aim of this project to establish the range of asbestos fibres or asbestos-containing material in soil concentrations resulting from localised input of asbestos as a result of waste disposal or input to ground via the incorporation of former building materials. The survey will specifically avoid land areas where elevated levels of asbestos are known or strongly suspected (for example former asbestos manufacturing facilities or manufacturing facilities that extensively used asbestos historically, and areas of naturally occurring asbestos).
The project will design a survey and sampling approach which will deliver a dataset that is relevant and statistically robust, such that it can withstand public and scientific scrutiny.

The research will target surface soils (50-100mm of soil once vegetation has been removed) that are representative in land use both spatially and geographically using publicly accessible areas of open spaces or land where access is provided by Defra, Welsh Government or local authorities that are not likely to have been subject to the addition of former building materials or any other asbestos containing materials. The survey will distinguishing between urban and rural soils, and will aim to provide as much land-use discretion as is practicable such that robust analysis can be carried out. Soil samples will be sent to a laboratory for analysis with the findings of the survey being presented in a report.

The results of the research will assist in defining typical background concentrations in areas not expected to be subject to asbestos contamination (for example small grassed areas in residential estates or playing fields).
Objective
The aim of the research is to design and carry out a survey to measure background levels of asbestos in soil representative of England and Wales. The work will deliver a dataset that is relevant and statistically robust, such that it can withstand public and scientific scrutiny. It will target surface soils representative in land use both spatially and geographically using publicly accessible areas, open spaces or land where access is provided by Defra, Welsh Government or local authorities, that are not likely to have been subject to the addition of former building materials or any other asbestos containing materials (ACM). The survey will be capable as a minimum of distinguishing between urban and rural soils, and will include an analysis of the relationship between soil asbestos concentration and potential influencing factors – to be agreed by the Steering Group and Reading University.
The survey will avoid spatial biasing where practicable and will not target areas that are suspected of having soil containing asbestos.
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2015

To: 2015

Cost: £140,000
Contractor / Funded Organisations
C L A I R E (CLAIRE)
Keywords
Hazardous substances              
Soil