Asbestos Still in the Air at Suburban Philadelphia Site

Recent air samples collected at the now defunct BoRit plant in Ambler, PA – a suburb of Philadelphia – still show measurable levels of asbestos, but the state’s Environmental Protection Agency says they’re not concerned.

Dawn Ioven, toxicologist for EPA’s Superfund program, recently told the Ambler Gazette that residents would have to be exposed “on a daily basis, 24-hours a day, for 30 years to cause alarm.”

The most recent results available came from air testing in August and September. Of 78 total samples taken, three showed detectable levels of asbestos, one from the August testing and two from September. No airborne asbestos was detected off-site in the community, the article points out.

According to EPA spokesman Roy Seneca, a concentration of 0.00049 fibers per cubic centimeter of air was found in a sampler located at the pile in August. September’s detectable levels showed a concentration of 0.00048 at the pile and 0.00098 at the park, which is no longer open to the public.

The third sample, says Seneca, is “hovering around EPA’s acceptable cancer risk range.” But it’s still a “very conservative figure,” Ioven points out.

“We looked at the highest detected level of asbestos we found and ran a very conservative risk estimate,” she said. But because it was found at a park and not in a residential area, consistent exposure is unlikely, the toxicologist stressed.

“It doesn’t pose concern in terms of risk because no one is exposed under the conditions considered,” said Ioven.

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