Asbestos contamination in Northern Israel...

From 1952 to 1997, a plant in northern Israel manufactured asbestos-cement pipe and sheet products, using chrysotile, crocidolite and amosite asbestos fiber. Worker exposure to these fibers has resulted in high rates of asbestos-related diseases. The waste material from the manufacturing process is both friable and non-friable, and was disposed of in a manner that contaminated property inside and outside the plant boundaries, as well as residential areas in the community.

I served as a consultant to the Ministry of the Environment on this problem and spent two weeks in Israel inspecting the affected areas and meeting with the parties involved. Specific aspects of the problem include construction of an amusement park on contaminated land, clean-up of an adjacent contaminated beach, and the use of these areas for recreational purposes.

Subsequent to my visit, construction was stopped on the amusement park and never resumed. One of my recommendations was implemented that public access to the beach and roadway through the site be prohibited. Contaminated soil was removed from along the plant property fence line and a plastic membrane laid down and covered with clean soil. The production equipment was removed from the plant and the remaining product and waste material disposed of in a landfill.