Naturally Occurring Asbestos Surprise at Nevada’s Boulder City Bypass
Last month, the Las Vegas Sun published a report about an unexpected development at the Boulder City Bypass Project. The project has been designed to make traffic improvements in Henderson and Boulder City, Nevada.
According to the article, naturally occurring asbestos has been discovered in soil samples conducted by a team of UNLV researchers. Since the project would disturb large amounts of soil during construction activities, the discovery has prompted concerns over exposure to asbestos by both workers and nearby communities. The Transportation Department plans on taking additional samples and conducting a comprehensive study before moving forward with the project.
Asbestos is the name given to a group of fibrous minerals that occur naturally in the environment. The term “naturally occurring asbestos” refers to the mineral as a natural component of soils or rocks, as opposed to asbestos used in commercial products, mining or processing operations.
“Naturally occurring asbestos can be released from soil or rock due to natural weathering conditions or by human activities, such as construction,” said Ed Cahill, Vice President, Asbestos Division at EMSL Analytical, Inc., one of the largest asbestos testing laboratories in North America. “If naturally occurring asbestos is not disturbed and fibers are not released into the air, then there is not an immediate health risk. Outdoor construction projects that disturb the soil and rock, creating dust, can pose a health risk to anyone who inhales contaminated air. Fortunately, the researchers from UNLV revealed the asbestos and this will serve to minimize exposures now that it has been discovered. At EMSL, we provide testing services to identify naturally occurring asbestos from outdoor construction surveys and projects such as these. The laboratory also analyzes commercial asbestos used in building materials.”
About EMSL Analytical, Inc.
EMSL Analytical is a nationally recognized and locally focused provider of environmental, food, pharmaceutical, and materials testing services and products to professionals and the general public. The company has an extensive list of accreditations from leading organizations as well as state and federal regulatory agencies.
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