JEP  Vol.2 No.8 , October 2011
Libby Amphibole Contamination in Tree Bark Surrounding Historical Vermiculite Processing Facilities
ABSTRACT
Over a 70-year period, a mine near Libby, MT supplied nearly 80% of the world’s vermiculite. Raw vermiculite, which was contaminated with naturally occurring amphibole in veins throughout the deposit, was shipped to processing sites throughout the United States for exfoliation. In this pilot study, tree bark samples were collected near processing facilities in Spokane, WA, Santa Ana, CA, Newark, CA, and Phoenix, AZ in an effort to determine if areas surrounding these facilities are today contaminated with Libby amphibole asbestos (AA). From areas surrounding each of the four historical processing sites, Libby AA was detected in a subset of the bark samples. At the Santa Ana, Newark and Phoenix facilities, actinolite-tremolite and other high Fe Ca-bearing amphibole were also measured from the bark samples. In addition, chrysotile was frequently measured in samples collected from each of the sites. From the results of this pilot study, it is evident that tree bark can serve as reservoirs of asbestos, and indicators of past and current contamination. These data also suggest that areas outside of these historical processing facilities may today have some level of existing contamination resulting from the operation of these facilities.

Cite this paper
nullM. Elashheb, T. Spear, J. Hart, J. Webber and T. Ward, "Libby Amphibole Contamination in Tree Bark Surrounding Historical Vermiculite Processing Facilities," Journal of Environmental Protection, Vol. 2 No. 8, 2011, pp. 1062-1068. doi: 10.4236/jep.2011.28122.
References
[1]   [1] U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), “Libby Asbestos Background,” 2006. http://www.epa.gov/region8/superfund/libby/lbybkgd.html

[2]   J. T. Pardee and E. S. Larsen, “Deposits of Vermiculite and Other Minerals in the Rainy Creek District, Near Libby, Montana,” USGS Bull, Vol. 805, 1929, pp. 17-28.

[3]   G. P. Meeker, A. M. Bern, I. K. Brownsfield, H. A. Lowers, S. J. Sutley, T. M. Hoefen, et al., “The Composition and Morphology of Amphiboles from the Rainy Creek Complex, near Libby, Montana,” American Mineralogist, Vol. 88, No. 2, 2003, pp. 1955-1969.

[4]   J. C. McDonald, A. D. McDonald, B. Armstrong and P. Sebastien, “Cohort study of Mortality of Vermiculite Mi- ners Exposed to Tremolite,” British Journal of Industrial Medicine, Vol. 43, 1986, pp. 436-444.

[5]   H. E. Amandus and R. Wheeler, “The Morbidity and Mor- tality of Vermiculite Miners and Millers Exposed to Yremolite-Actinolite: Part II. Mortality,” American Journal of Industrial Medicine, Vol. 11, No. 1, 1987, pp. 15-26. doi:10.1002/ajim.4700110103

[6]   H. E. Amandus, P. E. Wheeler, J. Jankovic and J. Tucker, “The Morbidity and Mortality of Vermiculite Miners and Millers Exposed to Tremolite-Actinolite: Part I. Exposure Estimates,” American Journal of Industrial Medicine, Vol. 11, No. 1, 1987, pp. 1- 14. doi:10.1002/ajim.4700110102

[7]   L. A. Peipins, “Radiographic Abnormalities and Exposure to Asbestos Contaminated Vermiculite in the Community of Libby, Montana, USA,” Environmental Health Perspectives, Vol. 111, No. 14, 2003, pp. 1753-1759. doi:10.1289/ehp.6346

[8]   T. Ward, T. Spear, J. Hart, C. Noonan, A. Holian, M. Getman and J. Webber, “Trees as Reservoirs for Amphibole Fibers in Libby, Montana,” Science of the Total Environment, Vol. 367, No. 1, 2006, pp. 460-465. doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2006.03.041

[9]   U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), “Asbestos Levels in Tree Bark,” Project Number: 0100-008-900, 2008.

[10]   J. F. Hart, T. J. Ward, T. M. Spear, K. Crispen and T. R. Zolnikov, “Evaluation of Amphibole Exposures during Firewood-Harvesting Simulations in Libby, MT, USA— Preliminary Data,” The Annals of Occupational Hygiene, Vol. 51, No. 8, 2007, pp. 1-7.

[11]   T. J. Ward, J. F. Hart, T. M. Spear, J. B. Meyer and S. J. Webber, “Fate of Libby Amphibole Fibers When Burning Contaminated Firewood,” Environmental Science Technology, Vol. 43, No. 8, 2009, pp. 2878-2883. doi:10.1021/es802817w

[12]   J. F. Hart, T. M. Spear, T. J. Ward, et al., “An Evaluation of Potential Occupational Exposure to Asbestiform Amphiboles near a Former Vermiculite Mine,” Journal of Environment and Public Health, Vol. 2009, 2009, Article ID: 189509.

[13]   Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), “Exposure to Asbestos-Containing Vermiculite from Libby, Montana,” Summary Report, 29 October 2008, accessed 3 May 2010. http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/asbestos/sites/national_map/Summary_Report_102908.pdf

[14]   U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), “Vermi- culite Processing,” Clearinghouse for Inventories and Emission Factors, Chapter 11: Mineral Products Industry, 5th Edition, Vol. 1, 2006.

[15]   Health Consultation Exposure Assessment, “Western Mi- neral Products Site, City of Minneapolis, Minnesota,” The Minnesota Department of Health, 2003.

[16]   Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), “Vermiculite Northwest—Spokane WA,” accessed 7 May 2010. http://yosemite.epa.gov/R10/cleanup.nsf/0/717834e601dce8cd8825762d0072baad?

[17]   Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), “Fact Sheet,” Santa Ana, accessed 10 May 2010. http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/asbestos/sites/national_map/fact_sheets/santaanaca.html

[18]   Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), “Fact Sheet,” Newark, accessed 12 May 2010. http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/asbestos/sites/national_map/fact_sheets/newarkca.html

[19]   Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), “Fact Sheet,” Phoenix, accessed 14 May 2010. http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/asbestos/sites/national_map/fact_sheets/pdf/WR%20%20Grace%20--%20Solomon%27s%20Mines_HC_FINAL.pdf

[20]   U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), “40 Code of Federal Regulations: Part 763,” The Federal Register, Vol. 52, 1987, pp. 41826-41905.

[21]   H. Schulz, P. Popp, G. Huhn, H.-J. Stark and G. Schuur- mann, “Biomonitoring of Airborne Inorganic and Organic Pollutants by Means of Pine Tree Barks. I. Temporal and Spatial Variations,” Science of the Total Environment, Vol. 232, No. 1-2, 1999, pp. 49-58. doi:10.1016/S0048-9697(99)00109-6

[22]   P. J. Clarkson, D. Larrazabal-Moya, I. Staton, C. W. Mc- Leod, D. B. Ward, V. N. Sharifi and J. Swithenbank, “The Use of Tree Bark as a Passive Sampler for Polychlorinated Dibenzo-P-Dioxins and Furans,” Interna- tional Journal of Environmental Analytical Chemistry, Vol. 82, No. 11-12, 2002, pp. 843-850. doi:10.1080/0306731021000102301

[23]   A. Sturaro, G. Parvoli and L. Doretti, “Plane Tree Bark as a Passive Sampler of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons in an Urban Environment,” International Journal of En- vironmental Analytical Chemistry, Vol. 643, No. 11-12, 1993, pp. 435-438. doi:10.1016/0021-9673(93)80580-2

[24]   M. L. Meredith and R. A. Hites, “Polychlorinated Biphenyl Accumulation in Tree Bark and Wood Growth Rings,” Environmental Science Technology, Vol. 21, No. 7, 1987, pp. 709-712. doi:10.1021/es00161a013

[25]   M. H. Hermanson and R. A. Hites, “Polychlorinated Biphenyls in Tree Bark,” Environmental Science Technology, Vol. 24, No. 1, 1990, pp. 666-671. doi:10.1021/es00075a008

[26]   M. H. Hermanson and G. W. Johnson, “Polychlorinated Biphenyls in Tree Bark near a Former Manufacturing Plant in Anniston, Alabama,” Chemosphere., Vol. 68, No. 1, 2007, pp. 191-198. doi:10.1016/j.chemosphere.2006.11.068

[27]   S. L. Simonich and R. A. Hites, “Relationships between Socioeconomic Indicators and Concentrations of Organo- chlorine Pesticides in Tree Bark,” Environmental Science Technology, Vol. 31, No. 4, 1997, pp. 999-1003. doi:10.1021/es9604020

[28]   J. C. McDonald and R. A. Hites, “Radial Dilution Model for the Distribution ofToxaphene in the United States and Canada on the Basis of Measured Concentrations in Tree Bark,” Environmental Science Technology, Vol. 37, No. 3, 2003, pp. 475-481. doi:10.1021/es020707g

[29]   M. Belivermis, O. Kilic, Y. Cotuk, S. Topcuoglu, G. Kalayci and D. Pestreli, “The Usability of Tree Barks as Long Term Biomonitors of Atmospheric Radionuclide Deposition,” Appled Radiation and Isotopes, Vol. 68, No. 12, 2010, pp. 2433-2437. doi:10.1016/j.apradiso.2010.07.010

[30]   M. Zhiyanski, M. Sokolovska, J. Bech, A. Clouvas, I. Penev and V. Badulin, “Cesium-137 Contamination of Oak (Quercus Petrae Liebl.) from Sub-Mediterranean Zone in South Bulgaria,” J. of Environmental Radioactivity, Vol. 101, No. 10, 2010, pp. 864-868. doi:10.1016/j.jenvrad.2010.05.011

[31]   E. I. H. Siwik, L. M. Campbell and G. Mierle, “Distri- bution and Trends of Mercury in Deciduous Tree Cores,” Environmental Pollution, Vol. 158, No. 6, 2010, pp. 2067-2073. doi:10.1016/j.envpol.2010.03.002

[32]   S. Celik, E. Yucel, S. Celik, S. Gucel and M. Ozturk, “Carolina Poplar (Populus x Canadensis Moench) as a Biomonitor of Trace Elements in Black Sea Region of Turkey,” Journal of Environmental Biology, Vol. 31, No. 1-2, 2010, pp. 225-232.

[33]   A. M. G. Pacheco and M. D. Freitas, “Trace-Element Enrichment in Epiphytic Lichens and Tree Bark at Pico Island, Azores, Portugal,” Journal of the Air & Waste Management Association, Vol. 59, No. 4, 2009, pp. 411- 418.

[34]   H. N. Sedumedi, K. L. Mandiwana, P. Ngobeni and N. Panichev, “Speciation of Cr (VI) in Environmental Samples in the Vicinity of the Ferrochrome Smelter,” Journal of Hazardous Materials, Vol. 172, No. 2-3, 2009, pp. 1686-1689. doi:10.1016/j.jhazmat.2009.07.111

[35]   M. Catinon, S. Ayrault, R. Clocchiatti, O. Boudouma, J. Asta, M. Tissut and P. Ravanel, “The Anthropogenic Atomspheric Elements Fraction: A New Interpretation of Elemental Deposits on Tree Barks,” Atmospheric Environment, Vol. 43, No. 5, 2009, pp. 1124-1130. doi:10.1016/j.atmosenv.2008.11.004

[36]   M. Conkova and J. Kubiznakova, “Lead Isotope Ratios in Tree Bark Pockets: An Indicator of Past Air Pollution in the Czech Republic,” Science of the Total Environment, Vol. 404, No. 2-3, 2008, pp. 440-445. doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2008.04.025

[37]   M. Batarseh, A. Ziadat, M. Al-Alawi, B. Berdanier and A. Jiries, “The Use of Cypress Tree Bark as an Environmental Indicator of Heavy Metals Deposition in Fuheis City, Jordan,” Inter. J. of Environ. And Pollution, Vol. 33, No. 2-3, 2008, pp. 207-217. doi:10.1504/IJEP.2008.019394

[38]   A. M. G. Pacheco, M. C. Freitas, M. S. Baptista, M. T. S. D. Vasconcelos and J. P. Cabral, “Elemental Levels in Tree Bark and Epiphytic-Lichen Transplants at a Mixed Environment in Mainland Portugal, and Comparisons with an in Situ Lichen,” Environmental Pollution, Vol. 151, No. 2, 2008, pp. 326-333. doi:10.1016/j.envpol.2007.06.038

[39]   M. Al-Alawl, M. Batarseh, H. Carreras, M. Alawi, A. Jiries and S. M. Charlesworth, “Aleppo Pine Bark as a Blomonitor of Atmospheric Pollution in the Arid Environment of Jordan,” Clean-Soil Air Water, Vol. 35, No. 5, 2007, pp. 438-443. doi:10.1002/clen.200720017

[40]   Y. L. Zhao, L. M. Yang and Q. Q. Wang, “Modeling Persistent Organic Pollutant (POP) Partitioning between Tree Bark and Air and Its Application to Spatial Monitoring of Atmospheric POPs in Mainland China,” Environmental Science Technology, Vol. 42, No. 16, 2008, pp. 6046-6051.

[41]   A. G. Wylie and J. R. Verkouteren, “Amphibole Asbestos from Libby, Montana, Aspects of Nomenclature,” Ame- rican Mineralogist, Vol. 85, No. 10, 2000, pp. 1540-1542.

[42]   M. E. Gunter, D. M. Dyar, B. Twamley, F. F. Foit Jr and S. Cornelius, “Composition, Fe3+/Fe, and Crystal Structure of Non-Asbestiform and Asbestiform Amphiboles from Libby, Montana, USA,” American Mineralogist, Vol. 89, No. 10, 2003, pp. 1579-1579.

[43]   R. F. Dodson and S. P. Hammar, “Asbestos: Risk Assess- ment, Epidemiology, and Health Effects,” Taylor & Francis Group, Boca Raton, 2006.

[44]   U.S. Government Accountability Office (USGAO), “EPA Assessment of Sites that may have Received Asbestos Contaminated Ore from Libby, Montana,” GAO-09-7SP, March 2009, accessed 10 May 2011. http://www.gao.gov/special.pubs/gao-09-7sp/#scope

[45]   W. M. Ewing, “Further Observations of Settled Asbestos Dust in Buildings,” In: M. E. Beard and H. L. Rook, Eds., Advances in Environmental Methods for Asbestos, ASTM STP 1342, Philadelphia, 2000.

[46]   J. L. Adgate, “Modeling Community Asbestos Exposure near a Vermiculite Processing Facility: Impact of human Activities on Cumulative Exposure,” Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology, Vol. 21, 2011, pp. 529-535. doi:10.1038/jes.2011.8

 
 
Top