The aim of this work was to establish whether asbestos fibers homogeneously occur in the different fractions ground from naturally occurring asbestos lithotypes, and to calculate the contribution of fibers from each fraction to the overall concentration in the sample. Serpentinite, metabasalt, calc-schist, clay, debris material, and soil, were addressed. Grain size fractions below 20 mm were sieved at 2 mm and 0.106 mm; they were then were mechanically milled to obtain powders below 0.106 mm. The three powdered fractions were characterized using a scanning electron microscope coupled with energy dispersive spectroscopy following M.D. 06/09/94. The still in use (in some cases), Italian normative M.D. 161/2012 specifies that analyses must be performed on the <2 mm fraction and the concentration (mg/kg) correlated with the weight of the whole sample <20 mm. However, the fiber counts yielded asbestos concentrations 50–60% lower compared with total asbestos analyses according to the new R.P.D. 120/2017. Consequently, there is a need to standardize the normative worldwide regulations for the management of asbestos-containing materials, by re-evaluation of sample preparation and quantification of asbestos.
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