Naturally Occurring Asbestos and Protecting Communities and the Enviro…


Qualified Environmental Professionals (QEP®) practice with a broad understanding of environmental science as well as specialized knowledge in solid and hazardous waste, air quality, water quality, or environmental science management & policy.

Lansing, MI, December 10th, 2018 — There are six different fibrous minerals that occur naturally in the environment that are referred to as asbestos. The term naturally occurring asbestos (NOA), refers to the mineral as a natural component of soils or rocks as opposed to asbestos in commercial products, mining, or processing operations.


NOA can be released from rocks or soils by routine human activities or natural weathering processes. According to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), “Asbestos is commonly found in ultramafic rock, including serpentine rock, and near fault zones. The amount of asbestos typically present in these rocks ranges from less than 1% up to about 25%, and sometimes more. Asbestos can be released from ultramafic and serpentine rock if the rock is broken or crushed.” If it is not disturbed, and fibers are not released into the air, then it is not a health risk.


The public and workers can be exposed to naturally occurring asbestos through routine activities, such as construction, that disturb asbestos-containing rock or stir up dust in soils that contain asbestos fibers. The following are a few examples of activities in areas with naturally-occurring asbestos that could expose the public to exposure concerns:

·         Working in a yard or garden

·         Digging or shoveling dirt

·         Riding bicycles, off-road vehicles or driving on unpaved surfaces

·         Running and hiking on unpaved surfaces


“Airborne asbestos fibers are too small to be seen by the naked eye and prolonged inhalation exposure can cause mesothelioma, asbestosis and lung cancer,” said Jeffrey Miller, PhD, CIH® and Chair of ABIH®. “Working to help identify and mitigate environments at risk from naturally occurring asbestos are Qualified Environmental Professionals (QEPs). Those who have earned the QEP® credential have demonstrated a broad understanding of environmental science, along with a commitment to high standards of practice and ethics. QEPs are available to investigate, manage, and mitigate issues associated with NOA and a broad range of other environmental hazards.”


To learn more about the Qualified Environmental Professional (QEP®) credential or Environmental Professional In-Training (EPI) designation, or to locate a professional to perform environmental services, visit, email [email protected], or call (517) 853-5766.


About the American Board of Industrial Hygiene®

Since 1960, ABIH®, a not-for-profit corporation, has been the world’s largest organization for certifying professionals in the practice of industrial hygiene. ABIH® is the premier credentialing body responsible for ensuring high-quality certification including education, experience, examination, certification maintenance, and ethics enforcement. ABIH® administers the Certified Industrial Hygienist® (CIH®) program, the Qualified Environmental Professional (QEP®) credential for established environmental practitioners, and the Environmental Professional In-Training (EPI) designation for early-career practitioners. Currently, more than 7,600 people around the world hold the CIH® credential, QEP® credential, or EPI designation. 


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