Talc asbestos

Talc asbestos: At a recent technician's meeting, it was brought to our attention that all Mohs Hardness Mineral kits had to be disposed of, if they contained a sample of talc.  Apparently, the formation of talc can be contaminated with asbestos fibers.  Could you please confirm this request?  An email with this information was sent out to some schools detailing this information, but our school did not receive the email.

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Publication Date: 18 September 2015
Asked By: Anonymous
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Talc asbestos

Thank you for bringing this to our attention.


Answer edited [17/11/2015]:


We have consulted with the regulators who have issued a national response to raise awareness of the possible inclusion of asbestos in mineral kits in schools. See https://www.asbestossafety.gov.au/safety-alerts-and-recalls/health-and-s... (Link updated, April 2018)


Science ASSIST has produced a detailed information sheet on this topic, including the issue of kits containing talc. See AIS: Asbestos minerals in schools.


Various alerts have also previously been sent out by different jurisdictions. For example, see http://education.qld.gov.au/health/pdfs/healthsafety/mineral-kit-safety-... and http://www.decd.sa.gov.au/hrhealthsafety/files/pages/communication/2014_...


Schools may have geological specimens of asbestos and/or specimens that potentially contain asbestos (e.g. talc, serpentine). Therefore, it is recommended that schools undertake a review of all mineral kits and geological specimens to assess for the presence of asbestos. This should be done in consultation with the school principal, following the school's policy for dealing with asbestos and your state/territory workplace health and safety regulator regarding regulations and recommended processes for the removal and disposal of asbestos containing materials.


It is important to ensure that future purchases of rock and mineral specimens are from a supplier who is able to confirm that they are asbestos free, and document this instruction for any future acquisitions. Note: a number of suppliers are already providing this certification.

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