Asbestos Hazard Assessment

Wayne Powell, Brooklyn College

This interactive site introduces students to concepts related to asbestos and how geologists analyze asbestos in building materials. The site is divided into three components: the geology of asbestos, identifying asbestos in the lab, and asbestos in our world. Each section of the site provides information, images and interactive quizzes. Of particular interest is the use of images to simulate use of a petrographic microscope. This section explains the theory and application of using polarized light to identify minerals including color and pleochroism, refractive index, extinction angle, birefringence, retardation and interference colors. Using what they have learned from the site, students are then asked to act as professional consultants and use petrographic data to assess the asbestos hazard of an urban high school and submit their findings in a report.

Part of the Cutting Edge collection. The NAGT/DLESE On the Cutting Edge project helps geoscience faculty stay up-to-date with both geoscience research and teaching methods.

Cutting Edge

This resource originally cataloged at:


Subject: Geoscience:Geology:Geochemistry, Mineralogy:Optical Mineralogy, Physical Properties, Environmental Mineralogy, Geoscience:Geology:Environmental Geology
Resource Type: Course Information:Course Site, Scientific Resources:Overview/Reference Work, Audio/Visual:Images/Illustrations, Activities:Project:Investigative Case Studies
Grade Level: College Lower (13-14), High School (9-12)
Theme: Teach the Earth:Course Topics:Geochemistry, Environmental Geology, Mineralogy
Health Topics: Epidemiology and Risk Analysis, Analytical Techniques, Minerals, Airborne Transport Processes
Topics: Human Dimensions/Resources, Solid Earth, Mineralogy:Optical Mineralogy, Physical Properties, Environmental Mineralogy, Solid Earth:Geochemistry, Chemistry/Physics/Mathematics