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Portable Real Time Detection of Airborne Asbestos Fibres for Tradespersons (ALERT)
Start date: Aug 2, 2010, End date: Aug 1, 2013 PROJECT  FINISHED 

"Asbestos-related diseases are the leading cause of occupational death in Europe. 500,000 European workers, mostly within the construction, demolition and remediation industries, are expected to die by 2030. Despite a ban on asbestos use, our members’ workers are continually exposed to this potent, invisible carcinogen from legacy products such as insulation, water tanks, ceiling panels, floor tiles and textured wall coverings. We feel that this level of risk is completely unacceptable for our members and must be addressed. Currently, asbestos is detected by a slow process of air sampling, with samples sent off to a lab and results being returned days later. Not only is this too late to take action, but tests are only performed if asbestos is suspected to be present. There is currently no way to detect asbestos in real-time. The ALERT project will change this. A decade ago, researchers discovered a way to detect asbestos fibres through a light-scattering technique. This work stalled due to technical and cost barriers; barriers we now believe we can overcome. We have assembled a world-leading consortium to extend this early research and develop a low-cost portable detector that can be worn by the worker to continuously monitor their work environment. By developing the ALERT system, we will provide 30 million European workers with a means of detecting asbestos the moment it is disturbed, allowing them to protect themselves and avoid becoming one of the 100,000 people worldwide killed each year by exposure to asbestos."
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