SoBRA Asbestos in Soil Human Health Risk Assessment (AiSHHRA) Toolbox

Issue Date: December 2021

This interactive Microsoft Powerpoint toolbox has been designed by the SoBRA asbestos sub-group to assist risk assessors in undertaking asbestos in soil human health risk assessments.
It is a collation of the information sources and practices of the sub-group members, assembled in the form of a flowchart.
The toolbox provides users with summary information and links to relevant external reference sources, and advocates a process by which asbestos in soil risk assessment can be carried out.
It is hoped that it will aid in the consistency and robustness of asbestos in soil risk assessment.

Variability in UK Laboratory Methods for the Identification and Quantification of Asbestos in Soil

Issue Date: February 2021

SoBRA’s asbestos sub-group surveyed UK laboratory methods for the identification and quantification of asbestos in soil back in 2018-2019. With the withdrawal of the Standing Committee of Analysts (SCA) Blue Book method for the quantification of asbestos in soil last year this paper should help in understanding some of the key differences in the methods used by laboratories, and it also makes recommendations for how asbestos results should be reported to best inform subsequent risk assessment.

Guidelines for Airborne Concentrations of Asbestos Fibres in Ambient Air: Implications for Quantitative Risk Assessment

Issue Date: January 2021

SoBRA is pleased to announce the publication of further work by its Asbestos Sub-Group. Since a workshop held in April 2019 the sub-group has been working on revision to the discussion white paper published in 2017 on air quality guidelines for asbestos. A key action from that workshop in 2019 was to evaluate the use the linear as well as the non-linear versions of the risk algorithms published by Hodgson & Darnton in 2000. It was the view of the participants of the workshop that the linear model for pleural mesothelioma might be more appropriate for the calculation of risk from low environmental exposures compared to the higher occupational exposures that were the primary focus of the Hodgson & Darnton paper. The updated SoBRA paper presents a comparison of risk models, including the new application of the Hodgson & Darnton algorithms. A beta version of an Excel-based spreadsheet (Jan 2024) has been developed to support the updated paper, allowing users to select from the algorithm options presented in the Hodgson & Darnton (2000) paper and the Darnton (2003) paper, and therefore enabling users to perform model choice sensitivity analysis and evaluate the difference the use of alternative algorithms makes to estimated risk. It is hoped that the updated paper and supporting Excel tool help further our understanding of potential health risk associated with exposure to airborne asbestos.

Feedback is welcomed – please submit to [email protected]

The Distribution of Asbestos in Soil – what can the data mining of sample results held by UK laboratories tell us?

Issue Date: March 2020

This discussion paper is a continuation of the series of discussion papers that the SoBRA asbestos sub-group has published since 2015.   In 2013, SoBRA identified a number of research gaps that had direct relevance to the risk management of asbestos in soil. One of these was the lack of a collective understanding on what typical background concentrations of asbestos in soil across the UK were. To provide a complementary line of evidence to Defra’s recently published Research Project SP1014 (Establishment of typical background levels of dispersed asbestos fibres in urban and rural soils in England and Wales), SoBRA issued a request to major UK soil laboratories to provide SoBRA with anonymised asbestos in soil data.  The principal aim of this paper is to provide a factual presentation of the data provided by the laboratories. The information presented may be used by risk assessors and decision makers as a line of evidence as they see fit.

Conceptual Framework for Asbestos Risk Assessment & Control

SoBRA 2015

The aim of the approach is to have a common framework that can scale to any number of activities that might take place prior, pre, during or post development. The key aims are to have a stepwise approach to enable effective screening of potential areas of concern; encourage appropriate and sufficient data collection and site investigation to support robust decision making; facilitate timely identification and understanding of risky activities and identify the point where mitigation and further Quantitative Risk Assessment is necessary to protect vulnerable on and off site receptors.

Design of an Activity Based Sampling Protocol for the Testing of Asbestos Fibre Release Potential from Residential Garden Soil

SoBRA 2015

This protocol provides a draft outline of a potential activity-based sampling approach for the testing of asbestos fibre release potential from residential garden soil as part of a staged investigation strategy for land being investigated under Part 2A of the Environmental Protection Act 1990. The primary objective of the Activity-Based Sampling (ABS) protocol is to provide a reasonable worst-case estimate of current and future fibre-release and subsequent localised airborne fibre concentrations that might be possible as a result of soil disturbance.

Soil Sampling Protocol for Asbestos in Soil

SoBRA 2015

This protocol provides a draft outline of a potential sampling approach developed by the SoBRA Asbestos-in-soil sub-group. It aims to strike a balance between traditional soil survey sampling strategies and soil sampling strategies designed specifically for known asbestos containing soil, made ground and aggregate.