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 Naturally Occurring Asbestos Air Monitoring (NOA)

Asbestos is a commercial term, but in reality, all asbestos comes from nature. The term ‘naturally occurring asbestos’ (NOA) refers to fine fibrous minerals of the serpentine and amphibole groups that occur in rocks or soil.

These materials may be disrupted by weathering or human activities such as construction, agriculture, forestry, mining, and urban development, causing the fine fibres to disperse into the air, posing potential health hazards when inhaled.

Testing a suspected area for naturally occurring asbestos as soon as possible is imperative to ensure the safety of those at risk.

The Geological Occurrence Of Asbestos

Although asbestos and asbestiform minerals may form in a wide range of rock types, large accumulations are usually associated with ultramafic rocks. These are typically dark rocks rich in magnesium and iron with relatively low silica and potassium content, primarily composed of minerals such as olivine and pyroxene.

What Precautions Should You Take When Dealing with Naturally Occurring Asbestos?

At EnviroScience Solutions, we provide comprehensive services to test for naturally occurring asbestos and offer guidance on managing it. Our experts use advanced testing methods to detect NOA in soil or rock samples, helping you make informed decisions about construction or development projects.

The key to managing the risks associated with NOA is awareness and precaution.

If you suspect your property or site may contain naturally occurring asbestos, contact us urgently.

What Areas are Affected by Naturally Occurring Asbestos in NSW?

Major deposits of naturally occurring asbestos in NSW include slip fibre and cross-fibre accumulations at Woodsreef and Baryulgil Chrysotile Asbestos deposits. Tremolite is known to be associated with Ordovician Byng Volcanics, with the Ordovician to Early Silurian Rockley Volcanics, the Fifield Alaskan ultramafic complexes west of Dubbo and is also associated with amphibolites in the Curnamona Geological region around Broken Hill. Additional new geological locations have recently been located around the Parkes region.

Based on the assessment where known locations of naturally occurring asbestos have been identified and probable sites where asbestos indicator minerals and/or textures have been identified, 6,694,479,626 km2 or about 0.83% of NSW is affected by rocks with significant potential to host naturally occurring asbestos.

The main naturally occurring asbestos areas with potential impacts from disturbing activities are:

  • The major serpentinite belts, including the Great Serpentinite Belt in the New England region along with the Coolac Serpentinite in southwest NSW and serpentinites associated with the Gilmore Suture in south central NSW.
  • Ordovician to Early Silurian rocks east of Orange.
  • Ultramafic complexes in central west NSW including areas near Fifield southwest of Dubbo.

Many areas near these sediments, such as the Great Australian Basin and most sedimentary rocks around Greater Sydney and many parts of NSW, have no potential for naturally occurring asbestos.


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