Blowing in the wind: Asbestos

The asbestos chrysotile, is a fibrous magnesium silicate mineral of which airborne dust-sized particles can be carcinogenic. This heat resistant and chemically inert mineral has been abundantly used in construction before it was banned about 20 years ago in Europe. How can geochemical technology manage asbestos pollution?

When asbestos containing constructions are damaged, special cautionary measures are required to prevent the spreading of asbestos dust. The challenges posed by exceptionally large constructions and the way these can be met with sophisticated technology were discussed by Mariangela Venco (ENI Rewind) in her lecture titled Design of asbestos removal from large-scale industrial site asset, presented at the RemTech Europe 2020 conference.

How collected asbestos is best handled and what treatment technologies are needed remains to be seen.

Can it be buried safely on the long term in special disposal sites, should it then first be encapsulated and consolidated and what would be the minimum disposal costs to stimulate recycling and treatment technology?

Can asbestos be economically transformed into harmless glass by melting or into filler by ball milling at over 1000 degrees Celsius, destroying the fibrous crystal structure?

How can we handle the voluminous and impure asbestos, diluted by building waste, soil or water?

What role can geochemical technology play in designing safe, cost-efficient and effective storage in acidic soil with natural weathering that is supported by fungi, mitigating climate change, when released magnesium ions sequester carbon dioxide?