Abstracts and Presentation Overviews

Frank Ehrenfeld

Natural Occurrences of Asbestos: NOA Current Issues and Evolving Solutions

Continued international interest in asbestos and other elongated mineral particle deposits at, or near, the surface from geological sources or from man-made activity are being addressed by regulators and environmental professionals by a wide range of responses. Recent case studies from North America outline a variety of potential concerns and how stakeholders adapted to provide best practices. These include the Calaveras Dam project in California, highway construction and earth moving activities in Nevada, illegal dumping of asbestos containing building materials in Canada, and the use of groundcover containment at an abandoned asbestos mill and US Superfund site. Thoughts on the recently released AU and NZ asbestos in soil practice documents will be discussed.


Frank Ehrenfeld

Analytical Methods for Determination of Asbestos in Various Matrices: International Perspective

International standards organizations maintain a growing list of analytical methods and practices to determine asbestos and related elongated mineral particles in matrices from building materials, water, air, soil, and dust. In the standards development pipeline are also methods for these target minerals in talc, vermiculite, zeolitic deposits, and tissue. Current trends in technology (ex. Back Scattered Electron Diffraction in SEM) and use of artificial intelligence and image analysis continue to enhance the already rich pantheon of EM methods – providing solutions to many environmental and occupational health and safety professionals. This overview will list the brief history and challenges of growing these resources as well as the latest developments in EM laboratories.


Samuel Jackson

Emergency Response Clean-up From bushfires to cyclones

The COVID19 Pandemic may have been the overarching focus Australia wide in 2021 however in Western Australia 2 other natural disasters occurred in the first 4 months. The first being the Wooroloo Bushfires which caused significant fire impact to 1150 properties followed closely by the Cyclone Seroja in the North West which damaged 70 per cent of homes in Kalbarri, Northampton and Geraldton Local Government Areas. It has been reported that debris, not wind speed alone, was the main cause of damage.

Asbestos impacts were not only a key factor in both events but also prevented residents and entire LGA;s to be restricted and locked down to non residents due to widespread asbestos impacts. This presentation covers the emergency response and recovery phase covering both natural disasters and the challenges encountered.,

Thuroona’s emergency response team played a key part in both events providing urgent/subject matter expert assistance to various local and State Government s right in the middle of multiple COVID19 shutdowns.

Both events had their own unique applications and challenges where different procedures and risk assessments undertaken to achieve the required outcome.

Samuel was on the ground during both disaster events and will present an overview and difference between each event and how they were both approached from an asbestos risk perspective.


Dru Marsh

Managing risks from asbestos in soil: Victoria’s risk-based, preventative approach

In this session I will aim to place the issue of asbestos in soil into the context of Victoria’s new environmental protection framework, explain how it is characterised under the preventative, risk-based approach and outline how EPA expect duty holders to approach compliance in relation to asbestos.


Marc Hendrickx

Non-regulated elongate mineral particles and emerging issues.

Tremolite schists in Ordovician meta-volcanic units in central New South Wales (NSW) consist of fine fibrous tremolite-actinolite. They host tremolite asbestos occurrences, and small quantities of asbestos were mined from narrow vein deposits in central NSW during the last century. When pulverized, the tremolite schist releases mineral fragments that fall into the classification range for countable mineral fibers and may be classed as asbestos despite not having an asbestiform habit. The ambiguity in the classification of this type of natural material raises significant health and safety, legal, and environmental issues that require clarification.

What are the risks of exposure? There is a lack of quantitative information about fiber levels and types of fibers in air at work sites operating in NOA affected areas. Quantitative Risk Assessments are not undertaken, risk is assumed – precautionary principle. NOA is managed in a way that regards it as being the same as commercial asbestos – but it is not the same. Toxicological properties of non-asbestiform, fibrous amphiboles are not well known and more research is required to understand health risks of these ambiguous materials.


Marta Roberts

Assessor’s duties under the Health and Safety at Work Legislation

Ms Roberts will give presentations on overlapping duties during asbestos removal projects and assessor’s duties under Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 and Health and Safety at Work (Asbestos) Regulations 2016.


Richard Todd

An argument for a harmonised regulatory environment in Australia

Richard as a demolition contractor presents an argument for a harmonised regulatory environment in Australia as a new line in the sand. Working across different Australian states and territories, training requirements and regulatory inconsistencies in the management of asbestos removal are clearly observable. Apart from being a source of confusion for contractors and clients, these variances have potentially serious health, safety, environmental, and financial risks. Recent project examples, training, and qualifications are cited as references to illustrate the challenges and risks with the current regulatory framework, with a focus on soil classification and asbestos training requirements respectively.


Terry Coleman

Lessons learned. Asbestos management During rebuild after a major earthquake

Shaken and stirred. Christchurch a study into conditions following a major natural disaster.

This presentation have given in both Amsterdam and London at asbestos conferences and looks at the Christchurch earthquake and the implications on how asbestos was handled during a major natural disaster.

Ten years on now, what changes did this disaster bring.