Asbestos Retrospective Risk Assessment

There are occasions in which unintended exposure to asbestos can occur, which understandably can give rise to concern and anxiety for those involved. In those instances, an expert, thorough and careful retrospective assessment of the probable exposure and potential contribution to lifetime risk is something which clients find extremely valuable.

IOM uses its vast experience and expertise to assess the exposures that have occurred, and then reviews the known relationships between exposure and future risk to health to estimate the risk of cancer in each incident.

Our investigations normally consist of four stages:

  • Stage one: First, we gather information about the specific incident.
  • Stage two: We estimate concentrations of asbestos in the air using the scientific literature, our own extensive practical experience, any existing air concentration measurements and our own measurements.
  • Stage three: The exposure of each individual is estimated from the duration of exposure and the estimated concentration in the air.
  • Stage four: The risks of contracting lung cancer and mesothelioma are derived from the estimated exposures using widely accepted exposure-response models, which take age, gender and smoking habits in to account.

IOM's incident reports

Our carefully constructed, authoritative reports provide the best possible estimates of risk and are tailored to each individual situation. They describe the methods used, the sources of information and the estimated risks of cancer. The estimated risks are always put in to context by comparing the asbestos related risks with common hazards such as smoking or road accidents, as well as benchmark levels of risk used by some authorities to define "acceptable" levels of risk.

We have applied this approach to risks from asbestos in schools, fragmented asbestos cement on rights of way, damage to asbestos ceiling tiles in offices, inadvertent disturbance of asbestos containing materials, and asbestos contamination of soils.

If the risks are low, as they often are, our reports provide reassurance to staff or public. They can be used to assess the requirement for remediation work and are sometimes utilised in civil litigation cases. Although we may find that the risk from an individual incident is low, our reports will also affirm the importance of preventing repetition of such incidents.

Assessment of risk from asbestos in soils

We have used the same approach in contaminated land risk assessments concerning asbestos. This work has been undertaken to help assess risks from past exposure, as well as to help assess how best to deal safely with soil that is contaminated with asbestos, and to determine whether "significant possibility of significant harm" (SPOSH) exists under Part IIA of the Environmental Protection Act 1990. Our reports provide the rational technical basis for either the developer to assess and demonstrate whether a site is "safe and suitable for use", or the Local Authority to form their decision as to the condition of land under Part IIA.

For more information please contact Alan Jones on 0131 449 8000, or email him at alan.jones@iom-world.org.

Dr Karen Galea Head of Exposure Science

Karen is Head of the Exposure Science Section of our Research Division. She is actively involved in a wide variety of research projects, mainly focused on exposure assessment relating to health risks. Her work has included the characterisation of aerosols during offshore drilling operations and primary nickel production; a guide to safe handling and disposal of engineered nanoparticles; a case-control study of cancer among current and former Semiconductor employees; an assessment of exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke in the home and working environment; and pesticide biomonitoring in residents living near agricultural land.

Dr Ioannis Basinas Senior Scientist

Ioannis is a senior scientist within the Exposure Science section of our Research Division. His research interests focus on the establishment and application of improved methods for quantitative exposure assessment based on statistical and mathematical modelling approaches. Ioannis has substantial experience in the assessment of exposure to organic dusts and the related health risks. Previously he was responsible for one of the largest exposure assessment studies on personal bio-aerosol exposures of farmers ever accomplished. He has also been involved in several studies aiming to guide and optimize exposure control strategies for bio-aerosol exposures in farm workplaces, and extensively worked towards the assessment of the burden of historical exposures to organic dusts. Currently he is involved in several projects related to the assessment of exposure to engineered nanomaterials, organic dusts, and the evaluation of Tier 1 models used under REACH. Ioannis won the Thomas Bedford Memorial Prize in 2018.


Dr Karen Galea Head of Exposure Science

Karen is Head of the Exposure Science Section of our Research Division. She is actively involved in a wide variety of research projects, mainly focused on exposure assessment relating to health risks. Her work has included the characterisation of aerosols during offshore drilling operations and primary nickel production; a guide to safe handling and disposal of engineered nanoparticles; a case-control study of cancer among current and former Semiconductor employees; an assessment of exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke in the home and working environment; and pesticide biomonitoring in residents living near agricultural land.

Dr Karen Galea Head of Exposure Science

Karen is Head of the Exposure Science Section of our Research Division. She is actively involved in a wide variety of research projects, mainly focused on exposure assessment relating to health risks. Her work has included the characterisation of aerosols during offshore drilling operations and primary nickel production; a guide to safe handling and disposal of engineered nanoparticles; a case-control study of cancer among current and former Semiconductor employees; an assessment of exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke in the home and working environment; and pesticide biomonitoring in residents living near agricultural land.

Prof Damien McElvenny Principal Epidemiologist

Damien is a principal epidemiologist who has worked in the Statistics and Toxicology Section of Research Division since 2011. He is an Emeritus Professor of Epidemiology at the University of Central Lancashire, an Honorary Associate Professor at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and an Honorary Senior Research Fellow at the University of Manchester. He has over 30 years' experience working in a variety roles relating to the statistical analysis of health data in the public and private sector. Damien was chair of the Local Organising Committee for the EPICOH 2017 conference, the premier international conference on epidemiology in occupational health, which was held in Edinburgh.

Events
02 April
2019

7th Occupational & Environmental Exposure Science Meeting

  • 02 April 2019
  • 10:00
  • NEC Birmingham

The 7th Occupational & Environmental Exposure Science Meeting will take place on Tuesday 2nd April 2019.

Event info
IOMworld
  • Contact Us

If you would like to contact us, please use the attached form and we will get back to you. Alternatively, call or write to us at our Head Office in Edinburgh or one of our regional offices.

Our office hours are: 

Monday to Friday - 8.00am to 5.15pm

Our head office numbers is +44 (0)131 449 8000

Email: info@iom-world.org