Based on a large body of evidence asbestos minerals have been classified as carcinogens. Despite the Italian ban on asbestos in 1992 and the subsequent remediation activities, latent sources of contamination may still represent a hazard where asbestos were particularly used. Using wild rats as sentinel animals, this study aimed at uncovering sites with the greatest potential for non-occupational exposure to asbestos in the city of Casale Monferrato (Piedmont Region, Italy), where the largest Italian manufacturing plant of asbestos-cement had been active. During the study period (2013–2015) a total of 40 wild rats were captured from 16 sampling capture points. The lungs of wild rats have been investigated by using scanning electron microscopy (SEM) with energy dispersive spectroscopy (EDS). The SEM-EDS detected the presence of asbestos fibers (tremolite/actinolite, amosite, and chrysotile) in rats' lungs from 11 sampling points. The hypothetical rats' home-range and the observed site-specific concentration of asbestos fibers per gram of dry lung tissue were used to identify areas to be targeted by additional search of latent sources of asbestos. In conclusion, our results showed that the use of wild rats as sentinel animals may effectively integrate the strategies currently in use to reduce the exposure to asbestos.

Wild rats as urban detectives for latent sources of asbestos contamination

D'Errico V.;Capella S.;Belluso E.;Dondo A.;Fraccaro E.;Ru G.
2020-01-01

Abstract

Based on a large body of evidence asbestos minerals have been classified as carcinogens. Despite the Italian ban on asbestos in 1992 and the subsequent remediation activities, latent sources of contamination may still represent a hazard where asbestos were particularly used. Using wild rats as sentinel animals, this study aimed at uncovering sites with the greatest potential for non-occupational exposure to asbestos in the city of Casale Monferrato (Piedmont Region, Italy), where the largest Italian manufacturing plant of asbestos-cement had been active. During the study period (2013–2015) a total of 40 wild rats were captured from 16 sampling capture points. The lungs of wild rats have been investigated by using scanning electron microscopy (SEM) with energy dispersive spectroscopy (EDS). The SEM-EDS detected the presence of asbestos fibers (tremolite/actinolite, amosite, and chrysotile) in rats' lungs from 11 sampling points. The hypothetical rats' home-range and the observed site-specific concentration of asbestos fibers per gram of dry lung tissue were used to identify areas to be targeted by additional search of latent sources of asbestos. In conclusion, our results showed that the use of wild rats as sentinel animals may effectively integrate the strategies currently in use to reduce the exposure to asbestos.
2020
729
138925
138932
Asbestos contamination; Environmental risk assessment; Exposure assessment; SEM-EDS analysis; Sentinel animals; Animals; Carcinogens; Italy; Lung; Rats; Asbestos
Ingravalle F.; Ceballos L.A.; D'Errico V.; Mirabelli D.; Capella S.; Belluso E.; Pezzolato M.; Bozzetta E.; Dondo A.; Di Blasio A.; Meistro S.; Vizio C.; Fraccaro E.; Ardizzone M.; Seghesio A.; Ru G.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/2318/1765518
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