Following the social requirement to strengthen field supervision of the asbestos containing materials (ACM) abatement process with regard to asbestos school buildings, this study was conducted to understand the status and characteristics of airborne asbestos that may potentially occur after the ACM abatement process is completed. In the area where a series of asbestos abatement processes were finally completed, comprehensive area air sampling was performed. For sample analysis, Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM) was used according to The Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (AHERA) method and Phase Contrast Microscopy (PCM) analysis was also performed. Airborne asbestos was detected in 29.5% of the total samples, and the average concentration was 0.0039 ± 0.0123 s/cc (12.3 ± 38.9 s/mm2). 4.5% of the total samples exceeded the AHERA standard (70.0 s/mm2) and the average concentration was 0.0528 ± 0.0256 s/cc (167.2 ± 82.0 s/mm2). Airborne asbestos was no longer detected at the point when AHERA is exceeded after re-cleaning. Most of the detected asbestos was chrysotile (94.4%) and the structure types of asbestos were Matrix (41.4%), Fiber (39.9%), Bundle (10.8%), and Cluster (7.8%). Among the asbestos structures detected through transmission electron microscope analysis, the asbestos structures satisfying PCM-equivalent structures were found to be 6% of the detected asbestos, indicating that there is a limitation of the PCM analysis to check the airborne asbestos in that area. As a result of reviewing the status of airborne asbestos that may potentially occur and the type and dimensions of asbestos structure detected in the area, since the airborne asbestos exposure caused by poor field supervision for the ACM abatement process could not be ruled out, thorough management is necessary. In addition, the result of this study could be used as scientific evidence for establishing and strengthening policies related to ACM abatement, including cases of school buildings.
Asbestos was a general term applied to certain fibrous minerals long popular for their heat-resistance, tensile strength, acoustic insulation and inexpensive price. Despite its many uses, asbestos is a hazardous material. Inhalation of asbestos fibers can cause serious health problems, such as lung cancer, asbestosis and mesothelioma. According to the compliance regulations for asbestos-related materials in Korea, all kindergartens have to be inspected for asbestos materials before April 2014. The purpose of this study is to investigate the distribution of asbestos containing materials in kindergartens in Gwangju, Korea. We investigated 93 kindergartens between January and May in 2014. Asbestos types and contents were analysed using the polarized light microscopy (PLM). Kindergartens facilities that featured ACM(Asbestos Containing Material) included ceiling textiles that contained chrysolite/amosite in amounts between 2 and 5% and gaskets that contained chrysolite in amounts between 15 and 35%. Also, wall cement flat boards contained chrysolite in amounts between 10 and 15%. In this study, risk assessment of asbestos material showed that all kindergarten materials were classified as Low grade when assessed by the Korea Ministry of Employment and Labor guideline method.