Digging Deep – Asbestos in Soil
Do You Know
The soil in our garden areas could potentially be contaminated with asbestos.
Yes, you read that right. And if you are fond of gardening and love to engage in the activity in your free time, there is a chance that you might be exposing yourself to the risk of asbestos exposure.
How Asbestos Can Get in Our Garden Soil?
Asbestos can find its way into our garden soil, and can contaminate it through three possible ways.
1) Soil Contamination Through the Use of Vermiculite
The vermiculite that we use in our potting mixtures to retain water and loosen the soil can sometimes come contaminated with asbestos.
This contamination happens at the time of mining vermiculite, where the site may contain asbestos fibers that mixes with the mined mineral.
Experts say that the content of asbestos in packaged vermiculite is likely to be low.
However, since there are no clinical studies to suggest how much exposure to asbestos can be classified as critical, exercising safety precautions might be the best bet in this case.
2) Soil Contamination Through Past Demolition and Renovation Projects
Then, you have the construction and renovation projects executed in past, where the incomplete clean-up of the site may cause asbestos containing products to mix up with the soil stratum.
Left undisturbed over the years, the fibers from the friable and non-friable asbestos products may become airborne while executing a DIY gardening project. This can expose you to the risk of inhaling these fibers, which can be detrimental for your health.
3) Soil Contamination Through the Moving Asbestos Fibers
Asbestos fibers can also move through soil. This is an alarming revelation, the possibility of which has recently been explored by a research group at the University of California San Diego.
The researchers found that if you cover asbestos with organic acids, it can give rise to colloids.
These colloids can move through soil and potentially contaminate a site even where there have been no traces of asbestos in the past.
The research was conducted in laboratory settings and therefore, the team is not certain that asbestos fibers will exhibit mobility under normal, uncontrolled conditions as well.
However, since plants and fungi can release organic acids, the possibility of contamination could be high. More research is being carried out in the wake of the results observed in the initial phase of experiments.
What You Can Do
Hiring an asbestos removal service Pennsylvania to conduct a thorough inspection of your garden soil is the first step you need to follow. This would allow you to establish whether there is asbestos in your garden area.
Secondly, always wear protective gear (gloves, mask etc.) when executing a DIY gardening project. Make sure when you are done with the day’s activity, you dispose-off the protective gear safely.
Need Professional Help?
We are here to help you. ACI-TECH Inc. is a certified asbestos abatement contractor, servicing clients all across Pennsylvania. Our services include asbestos removal, asbestos abatement and asbestos inspection. Contact us for a free estimate.