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    Chrysotile asbestos is a toxic and carcinogenic mineral that has been used in a variety of industrial and consumer applications. Much of the fiber- and cement-containing asbestos waste has ended up in terrestrial environments. Chrysotile weathering in soils and the potential for natural attenuation have, however, hardly been examined yet. Here we explored how soil properties influence the dissolution rate of chrysotile, the release of the carcinogenic metals chromium and nickel, and the hydroxyl radical (HO•) generation by chrysotile fibers. Chrysotile dissolution rates in soil suspensions decreased with increasing soil-pH and were lower than reported rates in soil-free systems. Dissolved organic carbon did not markedly accelerate dissolution at circumneutral pH, whereas cement mixed with soil inhibited dissolution because of its alkalinity. The HO•-yield of incubated fibers in non-amended soils eventually decreased by 60-75%. The decline was fastest in an acidic podzol soil, yet was followed by a small rebound. Cement amendment induced the largest HO•-yield reduction (∼90%), presumably due to surface coating of the fibers. Overall, this work demonstrates that the potential for natural attenuation of chrysotile asbestos in soils critically depends on soil chemical parameters and the presence of cement in association with the fibers. Copyright © 2022 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


    Martin Walter, Gerald Geroldinger, Lars Gille, Stephan M Kraemer, Walter D C Schenkeveld. Soil-pH and cement influence the weathering kinetics of chrysotile asbestos in soils and its hydroxyl radical yield. Journal of hazardous materials. 2022 Jun 05;431:128068

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    PMID: 35359096

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