POTENTIALLY TOXIC ELEMENTS (PTES) IN ACTINOLITE AND SERPENTINITE HOST ROCKS: A CASE STUDY FROM THE BASILICATA REGION (ITALY)
Keywords:Potentially Toxic Elements, actinolite elongated mineral particles, serpentinite, ophiolite, Southern Italy
It is generally accepted by the scientific community, that various factors such as morphometry, biodurability and chemistry contribute to the toxic potential of elongated mineral particles. As far as the chemical composition is concerned, in addition to its major structural elements, asbestos Elongated Mineral Particles (EMPs) may contain various Potentially Toxic Elements (PTEs), which could play an important role in pathological effects on human health. In this study the concentration levels of PTEs in two actinolite elongated mineral particles and two host-serpentinite rocks, were determined by means of inductively coupled plasma spectroscopy with optical emission spectrometry (ICP-OES). The present work aims to provide a contribution to the already existent literature studies focusing on asbestos-related toxicity with new chemical data of actinolite EMPs and host-serpentinite rocks accommodating PTEs. Study samples come from the Southern Apennine thrust belt in Basilicata region (southern Italy), where asbestos-bearing outcrops are documented in the literature and – induced pathogenic effects have been reported so far. Geochemical results of actinolite samples revealed high concentrations of toxic elements especially Cr and Ni with values ranging between 158-870 ppm and 20-103 ppm respectively. Similarly, analyzed bulk serpentinite rocks showed Cr and Ni critical concentrations. Based on the obtained results it is possible to assert that populations living in areas with amphibole asbestos occurrences within serpentinite outcrops, such as the studied cases, are potentially exposed to health risks related to the presence of significant amounts of PTEs.