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Search Result from the December 1999 Issue

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Press Release, Brookhaven National Laboratory, Upton, NY, Sep 21 1999

DOE's Brookhaven National Laboratory and W.R. Grace & Company have jointly won a prestigious R&D 100 award for their invention of an asbestos-digesting foam. The new formulation chemically digests the asbestos fibers in fireproofing and other materials while maintaining the material's functional properties. Brookhaven and Grace developed the patented foam over a four-year period of joint research and testing. Grace is now marketing the product under the name DMA(R) for use in asbestos-containing products, such as fireproofing on building columns, beams, and decking. The foam is an acid solution that is sprayed directly onto the asbestos-containing material. It chemically digests asbestos fibers, dissolving them into harmless minerals and leaving behind a material that still retains its functions but is no longer considered a regulated material. The active ingredients in DMA are phosphoric acid and a small amount of a proprietary fluoride catalyst. The process is the first to chemically destroy asbestos without first removing the material. Current conventional techniques for removing asbestos require the construction of airtight barriers, labor-intensive scraping, and the installation of new material. The new product eliminates the need to remove and replace older material, substantially reduces the time needed for the entire treatment process, produces essentially no waste, and saves building owners the expense of disposing of regulated asbestos waste materials. DMA has been successfully demonstrated at a four-story building with existing asbestos-containing fireproofing. The DMA-treated fireproofing also was tested at Underwriters Laboratories using nationally recognized test procedures. Those tests demonstrated that treated fireproofing maintained the same fire rating on columns, beams, and decking as the originally installed material. LVI Environmental Services Group, New York, and North Shore Environmental Industries of Michigan have been licensed by Grace as applicators of the DMA process. Brookhaven and Grace have also developed a new analytical method to determine asbestos levels below one percent, which is the regulatory limit above which a material is considered to be an asbestos-containing material. The method detects asbestos fibers in material containing as little as 0.1% of the fibers. Contact: Diane Greenberg, (516) 344-2347,, or Mona S. Rowe, (516) 344-5056, For more information:

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