Geological occurrence, mineralogical character and preliminary risk assessment of carcinogenic erionite in New Zealand

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dc.contributor.author Patel, Janki
dc.contributor.author Brook, Martin
dc.contributor.author Di Giuseppe, Dario
dc.contributor.author Scognamiglio, Valentina
dc.contributor.author Gualitieri, Alessandro F
dc.date.accessioned 2021-11-10T20:57:57Z
dc.date.available 2021-11-10T20:57:57Z
dc.identifier.citation EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-13686
dc.identifier.uri https://hdl.handle.net/2292/57357
dc.description.abstract <jats:p>&amp;lt;p&amp;gt;Erionite is a naturally-occurring zeolite mineral that has emerged as a well-known health hazard over the last few decades. Human exposure to erionite fibers has been unequivocally linked to malignant mesothelioma, a disease also associated with inhalation of airborne asbestos. Indeed, erionite is now classified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) as a Group 1 carcinogen (i.e., carcinogenic to humans), but it appears to be more toxic than asbestos. Since volcaniclastic rocks containing erionite are widely present in New Zealand, there is a concern over potential health issues following inhalation of dust particles in particular areas.&amp;amp;#160; Indeed, New Zealand is one of a number of high-income countries with elevated incidence of malignant mesothelioma (2.6 per 100,000), and this has traditionally been thought to be a result of occupational exposure to airborne asbestos fibers. However, recent cases of malignant mesothelioma have emerged without a known link to asbestos exposure, and in 2015, the New Zealand Government acknowledged that erionite was a more potent carcinogen than asbestos. Despite this, there are no established occupational exposure limits for erionite in New Zealand or globally. We are currently using a multi-methodological approach, based upon field investigation, morphological characterization, scanning electron microscopy (SEM)/energy-dispersive spectroscopy (EDS), Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM), and X-ray powder diffraction (XRPD) to analyse erionite from sites around New Zealand. Preliminary results are reported here, including erionite from Miocene tuff in Auckland. The erionite appears to be erionite-K. From the dimensional analysis, 45.6% of minerals satisfied the requirements for a respirable airborne fibre (length, L &amp;amp;#8805; 5 &amp;amp;#956;m, a diameter, w &amp;amp;#8804; 3 &amp;amp;#956;m, and L/w value &amp;amp;#8805; 3:1). The presence of this mineral is of concern for risk to human health, especially considering the land development in the Auckland region and the quarries and mining-related activities that are operating in the zeolite host rocks elsewhere in New Zealand. Thus, there is a need for a detailed risk assessment in parts of the country indicative of potential hazard. Further assessments of erionite species, quantification of the potentially respirable airborne fibers, and targeted epidemiological surveillance are planned.&amp;lt;/p&amp;gt;</jats:p>
dc.publisher Copernicus GmbH
dc.rights Items in ResearchSpace are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated. Previously published items are made available in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.
dc.rights.uri https://researchspace.auckland.ac.nz/docs/uoa-docs/rights.htm
dc.rights.uri https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
dc.title Geological occurrence, mineralogical character and preliminary risk assessment of carcinogenic erionite in New Zealand
dc.type Journal Article
dc.identifier.doi 10.5194/egusphere-egu21-13686
dc.date.updated 2021-10-12T09:28:06Z
dc.rights.holder Copyright: The author en
dc.rights.accessrights http://purl.org/eprint/accessRights/OpenAccess en
pubs.elements-id 859282


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