Asbestiform fibers in the Biancavilla site of national interest (Sicily, Italy): review of environmental data via GIS platforms
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After the observation of cases of malignant pleural neoplasm in Biancavilla (Catania, Italy), a new asbestiform fiber, named fluoro-edenite (NaCa2Mg5(Si7Al)O22F2), was found in a stone quarry use for local building industry and in the lung tissue of an 86 years old woman who died from pleural mesothelioma. As a consequence the Italian Ministry of the Environment has included the Biancavilla site in the National Priority List. In this study, a point of view on the results from a large scale environmental monitoring program conducted for the implementation of the site investigation is presented. The obtained dataset from the environmental monitoring program results in more than 3,000 values of concentration of asbestos like fibers and fluoro-edenite fibers in air, water and top soil. These data are spatially and temporally distributed in the Biancavilla site, therefore the development and application of a Geographic Information Systems (GIS) was very useful to review, manage and analyze the obtained data and to give direction to the stakeholders in order to define the required remediation activities. A WebGIS was also developed to provide a rapid GIS access and data management by various control bodies.
KeywordsFluoro-edenite Pollution Air Soil Water Health
This study was partially supported by the Italian Ministry of Instruction, University, and Research (MIUR), through the program Research Projects of National Interest “Criteria and tools for environmental remediation and functional regeneration of contaminated sites”, fiscal year 2008 and by the Commissioner for the emergency on water and site remediation in Sicily (Italy).
Authors acknowledge Professors L. Fragalà e E. Ciliberto from the Department of Chemical Science, University of Catania for the analytical part of the study. The cooperation of Dr. Piero Falciglia, Dr. Gianluca Longo and Dr. Daniele Zito at Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Catania, is also acknowledged.
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