Asbestos minerals have novel properties which make them highly desirable for industrial use. While the health hazards of asbestos have long been recognized and are well documented in the medical literature, ecological and environmental research involving asbestos fibers has only been undertaken in the past 25 years and the significant deleterious effects of asbestos materials on soil and plant ecology has been much less well publicised. This book examines non-occupational exposure and environmental effects of asbestos relating to animal and plant growth in the natural environment. Major nutrient imbalances and excess concentrations of trace metals have been identified as main causes for the poor plant response. Given the complexity of the asbestos analysis and the extent of the problem, this book attempts to bring together the multitude of subjects pertaining to asbestos in the natural environment with the aim of contributing to a better understanding of the chemical characteristics of asbestos-rich materials and their effect on plant growth.

Table of Contents

1. General Introduction. Introduction. What is asbestos? A brief history of asbestos use. Medical and biological problems. Environmental considerations. Topics to be addressed in this book. 2. Properties, Mineralogy, Distribution and Analysis. Introduction. Physical properties. Chemical properties. Solubility and leachability. Physio-chemical conditions. Mineralogy and geology. Geological distribution of asbestos. Identification and quantification of asbestos. Summary. 3. Asbestos in the Aquatic Environment. Introduction. Asbestos fibers in water supplies. Asbestos fiber transport and deterioration in water. Impact of asbestos fibers on aquatic biota. Impact of asbestos fibers on human health. Summary of impact on health by waterborne asbestos fibers and health. 4. Asbestos Fibers in the Soil Environment. Introduction. Mineralogy, soil genesis, and evolution. Nutrient problems. Physical properties. Asbestos in soils and its effect on soil biology. Asbestos rich soils and animal health. Asbestos rich soils and human health. Improving soils to enhance revegetation. Modification of asbestos waste in soils. Summary of asbestos fibers in the soil environment. 5. Asbestos and Plant Growth. Introduction. Plant distribution on asbestos rich serpentinitic sites. Serpentine induced stress and plant response. Plant selection for revegetation of asbestos waste materials. Summary of plant response in asbestos rich environments. 6. Other Environmental Concerns. Introduction. Airborne asbestos fibers in the natural environment. Vehicular traffic on asbestos bearing materials, quarrying, loading and transporting such materials. Asbestos waste disposal and reclamation. Summary relating to special environmental concerns. Epilogue. References. Subject Index.


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© 1989
Elsevier Science
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