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ECN-L  February 2018, Week 2

ECN-L February 2018, Week 2

Subject:

Re: vermiculite

From:

"Opitz, Cindy E" <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Opitz, Cindy E

Date:

Fri, 9 Feb 2018 21:19:20 +0000

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (77 lines)

Forwarding Andy's response from Nhcoll-l, with suggestion for safer alternative:

3M chemical absorption sheets are the way to go - https://www.amazon.com/3M-Chemical-P-110-Absorption-Capacity/dp/B00AKLFZ2C.  We cut them into appropriately sized squares to insert into all ethanol containing packages that emanate from the KUBI.
 
Andy
    A  :             A  :             A  :
 }<(((_°>.,.,.,.}<(((_°>.,.,.,.}<)))_°>
    V                V                V
Andy Bentley
Ichthyology Collection Manager
University of Kansas
Biodiversity Institute
Dyche Hall
1345 Jayhawk Boulevard
Lawrence, KS, 66045-7561
USA

Tel: (785) 864-3863
Fax: (785) 864-5335 
Email: [log in to unmask]  
http://ichthyology.biodiversity.ku.edu
    A  :             A  :             A  :
 }<(((_°>.,.,.,.}<(((_°>.,.,.,.}<)))_°>
    V                V                V

-----Original Message-----
From: Entomological Collections Network Listserve [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Andy Deans
Sent: Friday, February 09, 2018 1:46 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: vermiculite

A relevant message on nhcoll listserv (below). I don't get too many packages, at least lately, with vermiculite, but it's good think about these issues. I suspect not many of us use it ...?

===== FWD from Nhcoll-l =====

Hi Folks,

I have health and safety concerns regarding the use of vermiculite as an “outer packet” absorbency material in the shipping of  alcohol preserved specimens. We have never used vermiculite in the Florida Museum Fish Collection, but I receive many specimen shipments containing it and thus must handle it. And as anyone who has touched the stuff can attest, no matter how carefully handled, tiny particles of vermiculite end up suspended in the air one is breathing.

A number of scientific papers lead me to conclude my health and safety concerns are not unreasonable. Here’s some of what I’ve found:
 
* No matter where it was mined from, vermiculite is likely to contain fibrous minerals.
 
* That few of these types of fibrous minerals have been formally classified as asbestos and regulated as such would appear to be more a function of what fibers were in use commercially at the time the regulations were created. (Baumann, F., J. P. Ambrosi, and M. Carbone. 2013. Asbestos is not just asbestos: an unrecognized health hazard. The Lancet Vol 14 June 2013).

* To be certain, vermiculite has at times been found to contain asbestiform amphiboles (groups of needlelike silicates clumped together) such as winchite, richterite, and tremolite, the latter of which is regulated (Sullivan, P. 2007. Vermiculite, respiratory disease, and asbestos exposure in Libby, Montana: Update of a cohort mortality study. Environmental Health Perspectives Apr; 115 (4): 579-585).


My question to the list: Why is anyone using vermiculite as an absorbent when inert and safe alternatives such as polypropylene chemical spill absorbent pads are widely and cheaply available? Failing any good answer to this question, my follow up would be, can we all please stop?

Best wishes,

Rob Robins

 
P.S. The Baumann paper concludes thusly, and I agree:
 
“The restricted regulatory definition of asbestos to six fibres used commercially contributes to miscommunication and uncertainty regarding the toxic effects of some fibrous minerals. We propose that all fibrous minerals be handled as potentially pathogenic until they are proven safe. Moreover, to protect human health, a wider regulatory definition of asbestos should include all potentially carcinogenic mineral fibres, without distinction of type and commercial use.”

Robert H. Robins
Collection Manager
Division of Ichthyology
FLMNH Fishes logo email small
Florida Museum of Natural History
1659 Museum Road
Gainesville, FL 32611-7800
Office: (352) 273-1957
Fax: (352) 846-0287
[log in to unmask]
www.flmnh.ufl.edu


Search the Collection:
http://specifyportal.flmnh.ufl.edu/fishes/

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