CaMAm is a three-year research project for the characterization and mapping of asbestos in ophiolitic bodies of Tuscany.

The research program, coordinated by Prof. Michele Marroni of the Earth Sciences Department of Pisa University, also provides for a close ALITEC and PivotConsulting collaboration, both involved for years in environmental monitoring by means of innovative techniques, and for a collaboration with ARPAT and the Tuscan USLs, which have always been involved in monitoring issues related to asbestos exposure.

At the center of the investigation, supported by the Regional Operational Programme under the European Social Fund, there is the group of six minerals denoted by asbestos. The project aims in fact to produce a mapping of the natural presence of asbestos in Tuscany.

For the realization of the CAMAM project is expected a multidisciplinary approach, which uses, together with the structural-geological mapping at different scales, the most modern mineralogical and petrographic techniques necessary to characterize the sites potentially able to contaminate the environment. These techniques will be combined with innovative methods of investigation. The final step will lead to the development of a database of territorial type, built from the geological mapping database which Regione Toscana has recently adopted. The final product of the project will be an inventory of areas characterized by lithotypes containing asbestos associated with a qualitative and quantitative assessment.

"The study - quoting Prof. Marroni - will lead to the drafting of a proper mapping, useful for deciding whether it is appropriate or not to undertake work in certain areas. Considering the hazard and the quantity of the encountered materials these are important choices to make: since the first half of the last century asbestos had a wide industrial use. During the time it became evident that this group of minerals is extremely harmful to health: the fibers, when inhaled, are capable of inducing severe respiratory problems, such as asbestosis, lung cancer, pleural mesothelioma. In the last twenty years, in many developed countries the use of asbestos has been gradually reduced until its complete elimination from the production and marketing. "

The asbestos hazards are related to excavation activities. The health risks are still present. "It 's possible, even today, extracting and marketing materials in the form of slabs, blocks and rubble coming from rocks which, by their nature, may contain minerals classified as asbestos and that are used as fine aggregates. Therefore the risks associated with excavation in areas with natural asbestos remain: mining and processing has been completely suspended, but in excavations for road works, for tunnels construction or ballast of railway lines you may encounter asbestos-containing rocks. The activity led to smash the rock, releasing fibers harmful to workers and residents around the construction sites. In the case of action related to the road system, our research will indicate, since the planning stage, the "cleaner" track , considering, according to the percentage of asbestos in rocks, a change in the way or the identification of that types of work that can reduce the release of fibers. It is clear how it can be strategic for the country use planning, including a fair and non-risky use of the land, to develop a tool allowing, not only a thorough knowledge of the areas with outcrops of rock types that contain the fibrous minerals potentially dangerous, but also a qualitative and quantitative assessment of themselves. "

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