New technology could aid in asbestos removal

20 Apr 2009 by under News, Organizations, Research/Treatment

A new process that treats asbestos with heat and chemicals, called thermochemical conversion, could help ensure greater safety for asbestos removal projects, particularly those on a large scale. The process is being discussed in several communities that are looking at ways to clean a more than 60-acre site contaminated with asbestos.

The new technology has been developed by ARI Technologies, Inc., a company dedicated to solving environmental waste management problems. The new thermochemical conversion technique has been certified by the EPA as an alternative to asbestos disposal. According to the company web site, the process can destroy PCBs, dixoin and immobilize metals.

According to a report in the the Times Herald, at a recent town meeting in County, Penn., ARI’s president of technologies Dale Timmons said the process “involves using heat and chemicals on a rotary hearth to convert asbestos into volcanic materials.” He said the new substance does not release harmful fibers, which is the main danger of asbestos, so that it can be used in construction aggregate.

Usually, when asbestos is crushed or otherwise disturbed, it releases microscopic fibers that can be inhaled and that lodge themselves in the body. These fibers can cause asbestosis, a severe scarring of the lungs, or mesothelioma, a deadly cancer that affects the lining of the lungs, stomach or heart. Asbestos is the only known cause of mesothelioma.

The Times Herald says that while the EPA has signed off on thermochemical conversion for asbestos destruction, it is unclear at this time if the agency has given full approval for the process for asbestos removal projects.

ARI officials said the Pennsylvania project would require that between 150 and 300 tons of asbestos would need to be processed every day, 24 hours per day, to clean up the affected site, and that it would take nearly 10 years to process the estimated 3 million TONS of asbestos in the affected area, which covers three municipalities.

Asbestos handling would be conducted in an air-locked structure that would have to be built over the affected area, and the company would do constant air monitoring, the Times Herald reports. Cost would be about $135 per ton, with funds for the project likely coming from the federal government, according to the report.

One Response to “New technology could aid in asbestos removal”

  1. felix

    Does anybody have any experience with DH Griffin for asbestos removal ?