CRYSTALLOCHEMICAL CHARACTERIZATION AND STUDY OF SURFACE REACTIVITY OF MINERAL FIBRES OF ENVIRONMENTAL AND HEALTH INTEREST, FOR AN ACCURATE HAZARD ANALYSIS

A consortium made up of: Università di Roma “La Sapienza” (leading institution), Università di Torino-Centro Scansetti, ENEA, Istituto Superiore di Sanità and CNR-IGG, Torino Unit, was granted (January 2020) fundings for a two-years research project, starting May 2020. 

The project “Crystallochemical characterization and study of surface reactivity of mineral fibres of environmental and health interest, for an accurate hazard analysis”, was financed in the frame of the “Bric” research funding program of INAIL - the Italian National Institute for Insurance against Accidents at Work.

The project aims at the evaluation of the environmental hazard related to the presence of fibrous minerals (NOA, Naturally Occurring Asbestos) in natural settings. The project will focus on three fibrous minerals originated in different geological contexts: fibrous antigorite from the serpentinites of the Voltri Massif (Liguria); fibrous tremolite from the serpentinites of the Calabrian-Lucanian Apennines (Basilicata); fibrous fluoredenite from the Pleistocene volcanic rocks of Biancavilla (CT - Sicily), at the foothills of Mount Etna.

The study will be divided into three phases:

  • Definition of the relationships between lithology, mineralogy and micro-/mesostructural setting of rock outcrops and occurrence and characteristics of fibrous minerals (CNR-IGG Torino e UniTO);
  • Analysis of the relations among crystallochemical characters, surface reactivity and in-vitro toxicity for the definition of the hazard of the selected mineral fibres;
  • Integration of the results of geological, mineralogical and toxicological studies for the evaluation of the environmental hazard in the sample areas.

The project will provide the analytical and conceptual tools to design health strategies to mitigate the exposure risk for workers and population living in areas characterized by environmental pollution by natural mineral fibres potentially noxious to human health.

Project coordinator: Alessandro Pacella, Roma Sapienza

CNR-IGG group coordinator: Fabrizio Piana, CNR-IGG (fabrizio.piana(at)igg.cnr(dot)it)