Environmental monitoring of airborne fluoro-edenite fibrous amphibole in Biancavilla (Sicily, Italy): a nine-years survey.

Maria Rita Pinizzotto, Carmelo Cantaro, Maria Caruso, Luciano Chiarenza, Carmelo Petralia, Sebastiano Turrisi, Antonio Brancato


Biancavilla was recognized as a National Priority Contaminated Site in 2002 due to environmental dispersion of amphibole fibres with fluoro-edenitic composition. The mining extraction in Monte Calvario quarries and the wide use of sand and rubble in local building industry were responsible for the inhalation of fluoro-edenite fibres by the resident population.

Since 2001, environmental and health authorities have promoted a series of remediation and dust mitigation activities in order to reduce the airborne fibre concentration and population exposure.

Regional Environmental Agency of Sicily Territorial - Structure of Catania (Agenzia Regionale per la Protezione Ambientale della Sicilia, ARPA Sicilia) has started in 2009 an ongoing airborne fibre monitoring. The present report describes results of fluoro-edenite time trend concentrations obtained from 865 air samples collected in Biancavilla from July, 2009 to November, 2017 and analyzed by scanning electron microscopy with energy dispersive spectroscopy (SEM-EDS).

Results demonstrate a real improvement of Biancavilla environmental situation and a gradual reduction of exposure as a consequence of the dust mitigation measures. Nevertheless, a continuous environmental follow up should be carefully carried out particularly during high risk fibre releasing activities, such as excavations and demolitions, in order to prevent adverse health effects.


Natural asbestos; fluoro-edenit; air fibre concentrations; population exposure; Biancavilla; asbestos-like

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.3304/JMES.2018.018


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ISSN Online: 2280-6148
ISSN Print: 2037-2272