pISSN 0705-3797 eISSN 2586-1298
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Episodes 2020; 43(3): 881-891

Published online September 1, 2020


Copyright © International Union of Geological Sciences.

Occurrence of asbestos in soils: state of the art

by Claudia Ricchiuti1*, Andrea Bloise2, and Rosalda Punturo1

1 Department of Biological, Geological and Environmental Sciences, University of Catania, Corso Italia, 55, 95129 Catania CT, Italy
2 Department of Biology, Ecology and Earth Sciences, University of Calabria, Via Pietro Bucci, I-87036 Rende, Italy

Correspondence to:*E-mail: claudia.ricchiuti@unict.it, punturo@unict.it

Received: February 1, 2020; Revised: May 15, 2020; Accepted: May 15, 2020

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0) which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


In the last decades, it has been widely demonstrated the risk to human health related to asbestos fibres exposure. Many studies have mainly focused on the mineralogical and geochemical characterization of ophiolites (i.e., serpentinite and metabasite rocks) since they are the main lithotypes associated with Naturally Occurring Asbestos (NOA). Nevertheless, derivative soil from these rocks inherits the mineralogical and geochemical composition of bed rock and may contain hazardous fibres, thus making its examination necessary as well. This paper provides a summary of asbestos-containing soils investigation worldwide with the purpose of providing an overview of the data obtained so far. To this aim, the most relevant available literature, testifying the presence of fibrous minerals in soils have been considered. This allowed the global territory mapping in order to depict the distribution of natural asbestos in soils worldwide.