Identification of natural asbestos and other elongate mineral particles that represent a potential risk

Does your activity mean you and/or your employees come into contact with materials that may contain asbestos? Are you concerned about potential health risks for local residents due to naturally-occurring asbestos in the area? BRGM provides you with all its expertise in detecting and characterising asbestos and elongate mineral particles (EMP) that could represent a health hazard.
Asbestos in its natural environment

Asbestos in its natural environment (northern Corsica, 2013). 

© BRGM - Didier Lahondère

Your issues and needs

People in France are well aware of the health risk linked to asbestos. Many individuals and companies may find themselves facing this risk, whether it be due to asbestos present in buildings or in the natural environment. Ensuring protection against this health risk is absolutely crucial for the well-being of your workers and local residents. 

To achieve this, various types of risk-prevention actions can be implemented. These may involve characterising materials on a site or the state of the surrounding air, inspecting the site beforehand, or training your operators. 

Our added value 

With more than 15 years' experience in the study of naturally-occurring asbestos and elongate mineral particles, BRGM is now well-equipped to provide all the requisite expertise, processes and services to meet your needs:  

  • Field-sampling methodologies and laboratory analyses to identify the presence of fibres or EMPs; 
  • The implementation of physical tests to determine the asbestos-emission capacity of solid or alluvial materials; 
  • Asbestos mapping to determine whether asbestos fibres released from natural outcrops on site (exhaustive survey) are present in the atmosphere; 
  • The development of innovative systems and the implementation of appropriate protocols to detect and characterise EMPs present in the air, materials and buildings; 
  • A 5-day training course to certify trainers and operators and enable them to identify and characterise natural asbestos, based on both an academic and a practical approach (laboratory and field). 
System for detecting layers of serpentinite

System for detecting layers of serpentinite, an asbestos-bearing rock (New Caledonia, 2012). 

© BRGM - Jean-Christophe Gourry 

Tools and platforms 

  • InfoTerre: 1:50,000-scale map showing the likelihood of naturally-occurring asbestos 
  • CARAMIN: Mineralogical and crystallographic characterisation 
  • CARAPHY: Physico-chemical and textural characterisation 

Patents 

  • LODAIM: System for on-site detection of asbestos particles in building materials (patent pending) 

A few references

  • Survey of areas with naturally-occurring asbestos in eight municipalities in the Bastia region (northern Corsica). Report BRGM/RP-62198-FR 
  • Preliminary feasibility study concerning the extraction and identification of minerals in quarry materials (PIMAC) - Report BRGM/RP-66008-FR 
  • PLASMIANTE and LODAIM (formerly LOAC-AMIANTE) projects funded by the French Asbestos Research and Development Plan (PRDA): Detection of asbestos in the air and in building materials.  
  • Mapping of naturally-occurring asbestos risks in several French départements (on a scale of 1:50,000) for the Ministry of the Environment. 
A seam of actinolite-asbestos, Haute-Corse

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