Skip to main content

Health Department Issues Public Notice About Exposure Risks to Naturally Occurring Asbestos in Parts of Washington State

By: WebWire

In late July, the Washington State Department of Ecology issued a health reminder to residents and visitors of Swift Creek and the Sumas River due to dry conditions that could expose people to naturally occurring asbestos (NOA) found in sediments. The department advises people to avoid walking, driving, cycling, riding horses or disturbing the riverbed and dredge piles because asbestos fibers in the dry sediments can become airborne.

A slow-moving landslide, which began decades ago, has been dumping sediment that contains naturally occurring asbestos into the waterways. Seasonal flooding along the Swift Creek tributary deposits the sediments into the Sumas River and onto the surrounding land. As the sediments dry, they can become airborne due to the wind or because of human activity. Inhalation exposure to asbestos fibers, whether due to NOA that has been disturbed or from airborne asbestos in a home or other structure because of its past use in building materials, is a serious health concern.

“Another exposure concern is the presence of naturally occurring metals introduced by the landside,” said Joe Frasca, Senior Vice President, Marketing at EMSL Analytical, Inc. “They include chromium, cobalt and nickel according to the Washington Department of Ecology and Whatcom County. At EMSL Analytical, we help to protect people from exposure risks to heavy metals and asbestos from naturally occurring deposits or man-made sources. We have a testing facility in Seattle and dozens more across the United States and Canada. These laboratories offer environmental, material and industrial hygiene testing services. We also offer sampling supplies, easy-to-use test kits, air monitoring instruments and even personal protective equipment.”

EMSL sponsored an educational video about naturally occurring asbestos and exposure risks several years ago that can still be seen at:

To learn more about asbestos and heavy metal testing services, please visit, call (800) 220-3675 or email For access to test kits, visit

About EMSL Analytical, Inc.

EMSL Analytical is one of the leading testing laboratories with 46 locations throughout the United States and Canada. EMSL is a nationally recognized and locally focused provider specializing in fast laboratory results for mold, bacteria, Legionella, USP 797, pathogens, asbestos, lead, soot, char & ash from fires, VOCs, odors, radon, formaldehyde, indoor air quality, microbiology, environmental, industrial hygiene, radiological, food, beverage & consumer products and material testing services for the identification of unknown substances. EMSL services both professionals and the general public. EMSL maintains an extensive list of accreditations from leading organizations as well as state and federal regulating bodies including, but not limited to A2LA, AIHA LAP, LLC. (AIHA EMLAP, AIHA IHLAP, AIHA ELLAP), NVLAP, CDC ELITE, CPSC, CA ELAP, NY ELAP, TX DOH, NJDEP and multiple other state accrediting agencies. Please visit our website at for a complete listing of accreditations. In addition, EMSL carries a wide range of Sampling Equipment and Investigative Products for environmental professionals.

— WebWireID293953 —

Data & News supplied by
Stock quotes supplied by Barchart
Quotes delayed at least 20 minutes.
By accessing this page, you agree to the following
Privacy Policy and Terms and Conditions.