_ap_ufes{"success":true,"siteUrl":"friableasbestos.com","urls":{"Home":"http://friableasbestos.com","Category":"http://friableasbestos.com/category/current-asbestos-news/","Archive":"http://friableasbestos.com/2015/04/","Post":"http://friableasbestos.com/asbestos-firms-ready-to-fight-silvers-slanted-legal-system/","Page":"http://friableasbestos.com/effect-asbestos-mesothelioma/","Nav_menu_item":"http://friableasbestos.com/69/"}}_ap_ufee

October 15, 2018

Asbestos likely more widespread than previously thought

Naturally occurring asbestos minerals may be more widespread than previously thought, with newly discovered sources now identified within the Las Vegas metropolitan area. The asbestos-rich areas are in locations not previously considered to be at risk, according to new report that will be presented at the Annual Meeting of the Geological Society of America (GSA) in Vancouver, Canada, on Sunday, 20 October.

“These minerals were found where one wouldn’t expect or think to look,” said Rodney Metcalf, associate professor of geology at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and co-researcher of the study. The naturally occurring asbestos was found in Boulder City, Nevada, in the path of a construction zone to build a multi-million dollar highway called the Boulder City Bypass, the first stage of an I-11 corridor planned between Las Vegas and Arizona.

Asbestos is a family of fibrous minerals which are known to cause lung cancer, mesothelioma, and other serious respiratory related illnesses when the fibers are inhaled. The GSA presentation will focus on the discovery of types of asbestos that geologists call fibrous iron sodium amphiboles and fibrous actinolite in Clark County, Nevada, and the geological settings that caused the unusual asbestos formation, said Metcalf.

“[Asbestos] is like a precious metal deposit, it forms at the confluence of several geologic features, which vary at each location,” said Metcalf.

In this case, it was a geological confluence of groundwater interacting with rock salt and a cooling magma body deep below earth’s surface to form the fibers and create this type of asbestos, said Brenda Buck, a professor of geology at UNLV and co-researcher of the study.

Later the rock was brought to the surface where it now exposed to rain and wind that can disperse it. This is the first discovery of asbestos in this kind of geological setting and it suggests the minerals could occur in other similar settings around the globe, said Buck, who has a background in medical geology.

Many regulations have been created to protect people from exposure to mined and refined asbestos, like fibrous actinolite, which the scientists discovered. But some naturally occurring asbestos is not regulated or labeled toxic under federal law, though they can be just as dangerous or even more toxic to humans, said Buck.

Naturally occurring asbestos can also be harmful and difficult to control, especially when it becomes dust and can be transported on the wind.

The research is being performed while the construction for a Boulder City bypass has been delayed due to concerns about the hazard of the naturally occurring asbestos. Boulder City has about 15,000 residents, and is about 32 kilometers (20 miles) from the Las Vegas metropolitan area, home to over 1.9 million people.

Scientists are still researching the amount of asbestos that is in the soil in the construction area, its toxicity to humans, and how far it can be transported by wind.

The new research Metcalf will be presenting could help scientists locate more formations of naturally occurring asbestos in areas that were not previously considered, he said.

“This means that there could be a lot of areas in the world that could have asbestos that we don’t know about. So there are people that are being exposed that have no idea,” said Buck.

The abstract can be found online at: https://gsa.confex.com/gsa/2014AM/webprogram/Paper250494.html

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Geological Society of America. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

See original article here:  

Asbestos likely more widespread than previously thought

Asbestos proves to be a microscopic road block near Boulder City

Image

L.E. Baskow

UNLV geology professor Brenda Buck and associate professor Rodney Metcalf confer over samples in their lab. They found asbestos in Boulder City that is delaying construction of a highway bypass.

In November 2011, two UNLV scientists touched carbon tape to a sample of bluish-grey mineral on the face of a rock found south of Henderson, then placed it under a microscope. The computer screen showed telltale white fibers, long and slim, like miniature straws.

Asbestos is a mineral fiber found in rock and soil. In the ’60s and ’70s, it was a popular building material.

• Eldorado Hills, Calif.: Naturally occurring asbestos was found in this Sacramento suburb in September 2003 in the soil of the high school. In less than a year, after about $2.5 million in cleanup costs, the EPA and Oak Ridge High significantly cut the health risk to students by landscaping to reduce dust and prevent asbestos fibers from getting airborne.

• Clear Creek Management Area, Calif.: Atop one of the largest asbestos deposits in the world, this recreation area sits on a 29,000-acre serpentine deposit in San Benito and Fresno counties. Inside is the Atlas Asbestos Mine Superfund site, which first got the EPA’s attention in 1984 when large amounts of erosion caused asbestos to flow downstream into the California aqueduct. Since then, the water has been cleaned up, all the mines closed and measures taken to stop erosion. The Bureau of Land Management designated the area as hazardous and propped asbestos warning signs up at entrance points.

• Libby Superfund Site, Mont.: Libby, a former mining town of fewer than 3,000, has been on the EPA’s National Priorities List of most contaminated sites since 1983. In June 2009, it was designated a public health emergency. Contamination was town-wide, partly because residents used vermiculite as a soil additive in their gardens.

• North Ridge Estates Superfund Site, Ore.: Also on the National Priorities List, North Ridge Estates is a residential subdivision near Klamath Falls. Asbestos remnants were found across 50 acres of the neighborhood. The source: demolition debris from the Marine Recuperational Barracks, a complex of about 80 1940s-era buildings that housed soldiers recovering from tropical illnesses. In 2005, exposure risk was determined to be so high that residents were temporarily relocated for the summer when children were on school break and the climate was driest and windiest.

• Torch Lake Superfund, Mich.: From 1868 to 1968, copper mining and smelting operations dumped an estimated 200 million pounds of toxic tailings containing asbestos into Torch Lake on the east side of Lake Michigan. The primary concern is the ecosystem, particularly bottom-dwelling animals whose volume was, pre-cleanup, 20 percent contaminant.

• Carter Carburetor, Mo.: Carter Carburetor, a gasoline and diesel engine manufacturing plant just outside of St. Louis, was active from the 1920s to about 1984, when it was dismantled. Asbestos, found in machinery, furniture and building parts, along with toxic polychlorinated biphenyls and trichloroethylene used in the manufacturing process, were found at unacceptable levels.

It was what they feared: asbestos.

Asbestos used to be modern society’s friend — its strong, flexible, heat-resistant fibers mined and spun into insulation, fireproofing and decorative ceiling finishes. Only later was it discovered that, in certain forms, it can cause respiratory problems including scarred and inflamed lungs and, in extreme cases, cancer.

When UNLV geoscientists Brenda Buck, Rodney Metcalf and their colleagues published a scientific paper eight months ago on the presence of naturally occurring asbestos in Clark County, the effects were immediate and potentially far-reaching.

The discovery has stalled plans, more than 10 years in the making, to build a $490 million highway detour around Boulder City so traffic can move smoothly between Las Vegas and Arizona. Until that new highway is built, tourists, truckers and commuters must use Highway 93, which slices into town and slows miserably on busy days.

Beyond that, the first evidence of naturally occurring asbestos in Clark County may conceivably affect development not yet imagined. Asbestos becomes dangerous when disturbed, when it can be inhaled. That means construction potentially could whirl up a deadly cloud. Because the asbestos is a part of the landscape, cleanup is tough.

Bypass delays have frustrated the town.

“We can’t handle the traffic,” Boulder City Mayor Roger Tobler said. “If there’s an accident, it shuts down the whole town. I think this community is tired of what’s going on, and they have been for 10 years.”

The Nevada Department of Transportation and Regional Transportation Commission, partners in the bypass project, are frustrated too, with their own questions: Where exactly is the asbestos-carrying rock? Will construction activity stir it into the air? What is the health risk to workers and travelers?

Construction was scheduled to begin this spring but was put on hold in April to allow for asbestos testing and analysis. Results are expected next month.

NDOT, which is leading Phase I of the project — a 2.5-mile connector heading east from Highway 95 — is prepared to begin construction as soon as it gets the green light. The RTC’s work — a 12.5-mile stretch that finishes the bypass to near the Colorado River — isn’t scheduled to begin until early 2015.

But construction plans may have to be adjusted to reduce workers’ exposure to dust, and bids still need to be sought for contractors.

“Everyone wants to make sure that we proceed in the right manner, and I think we’re doing that,” Tobler said. “I don’t think (the asbestos) is going to hurt the project like it has in other places. I think we’ll be able to move forward.”

But asbestos has a history of slowing major public work projects. In Ambler, Alaska, its presence in a gravel pit stalled an airport expansion and sewage lagoon project for more than a decade. Outside San Jose, Calif., it delayed a $718 million dam replacement for at least three years, and workers now are required to wear protective clothing and decontaminate before leaving the site.

There are no federal regulations for dealing with naturally occurring asbestos. It’s left to states to create regulations based on Environmental Protection Agency and Occupational Safety and Health Administration guidelines addressing dust control, monitoring of air and soil, and worker exposure.

Nevada hasn’t created such regulations. Native asbestos doesn’t fall under county air quality standards, and Nevada OSHA has yet to address worker protection. For the most part, everyone is waiting for the test results or for the problem to come knocking on their door. Even the EPA, though aware of the Boulder City asbestos and acting as an adviser for mitigation, is waiting for a request from local officials before getting directly involved.

Meanwhile, Buck and Metcalf continue the research that sparked the issue.

Buck, who specializes in medical geology, started the asbestos study in 2011. A sample from the McCullough Range in Clark County, just south of Henderson, showed mineral actinolite — one of the six regulated forms of asbestos.

They teamed with scientists from the University of Hawaii, home to leading researchers on medical asbestos exposure, and started writing proposals for additional research funding, which they received in spring 2013. The mineral trail led them from the rolling, rocky hills of the McCullough Range overlooking Lake Mead to Highway 93 at Eldorado Dry Lake, a popular site for off-roading and Fourth of July parties, to the heart of Boulder City, beside Martha P. King Elementary School, and the outskirts of its southern and eastern neighborhoods. Every sample contained the fibrous amphiboles.

What was particularly concerning was that the type of asbestos fibers the geologists discovered are known to be particularly dangerous, and their breadth was much more extensive than what the UNLV team originally had thought.

“As soon as we found this out, we worked as fast as we could and as hard as we could to get the data published so that we could inform the public,” Buck said.

The fibers were similar to those found in Libby, Mont., where asbestos-rich mineral vermiculite was mined, leading to the town’s designation 15 years ago as a Superfund site. Many Libby residents have been diagnosed with asbestos-related illnesses, including cancer, due in part to their churning vermiculite into their gardens and vegetable patches as a soil conditioner.

The size and shape of the fibers, along with the type of mineral, determine how toxic it is. If it’s small enough, it becomes respirable. Of the fibers Buck and Metcalf found, 97 percent were respirable.

Dormant, undisturbed asbestos isn’t typically a problem. It’s often left in buildings and insulation because it isn’t dangerous unless it becomes airborne. In fact, the act of removing it often presents more danger than leaving it alone.

But that won’t be possible in construction of the highway bypass because explosives are needed to cut a route through the hills.

Thus the challenge: How to ensure the health of construction workers and motorists?

Part of the task includes assessing how extensive the asbestos is. To that end, the geologists are training the transportation departments’ asbestos analysts to spot the kind of rock that hosts the fibers.

There is no known amount of safe exposure to asbestos. But Michele Carbone, a leading researcher of mesothelioma, the cancer linked with asbestos exposure, said the immediate health risks are minimal. Risk rises with the amount of exposure and the concentration of fibers. Signs of the disease may not be evident for 40 years or more.

“Obviously, there is a significant risk, but the odds are you won’t get cancer,” Carbone said. “It takes significant, prolonged exposure. It’s not like shaking hands with someone, and you get the disease. People shouldn’t panic.”

Carbone, of the University of Hawaii, is working with Metcalf and Buck to test their samples on animal and human cells. His colleague Francine Baumann, an epidemiologist specializing in asbestos exposure, is looking at rates of mesothelioma and other asbestos-related illnesses in Southern Nevada to determine if the population already is at risk. She’s looking for trends of disease in young people and women, people least likely to be affected from working in places where asbestos might be present.

Nevada is not a hot spot for the disease; as of 2009, mesothelioma struck only about 20 Nevadans a year, keeping pace with the national average.

“Until we know more, one solution is to try and reduce exposure,” Buck said.

Off-road enthusiasts, for instance, may be encouraged to ride somewhere other than the Eldorado Valley.

Today, Buck and Metcalf are mapping the area where the asbestos may lurk, looking into areas with similar geology such as Searchlight, Laughlin and Lake Mead. And they’re trying to get funding to collect air samples, to determine the risk of exposure from different activities, including four-wheeling, horseback riding or simply taking a walk in areas that contain the asbestos.

When they go into the field, they’re careful, wearing respiratory devices and protective clothing. They take their own cars instead of the UNLV geoscience department’s vehicles, so they don’t expose students. They’ve notified UNLV geology, biology and anthropology departments to close down contaminated zones to fieldwork.

They’re worried about their own exposure, having spent years in the field kicking up dust and hammering into contaminated rock. They’re hoping it’s not as bad as it could be.

But they won’t know the answers until their research is complete.

Taken from:  

Asbestos proves to be a microscopic road block near Boulder City

Poison Pen: Landscapes Tainted by Asbestos

Brenda Buck, left, and Rodney Metcalf from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas examining rocks in Boulder City, Nev., for naturally occurring asbestos.Steve Andrascik/Las Vegas Review-Journal, via Associated PressBrenda Buck, left, and Rodney Metcalf from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas examining rocks in Boulder City, Nev., for naturally occurring asbestos.
Poison Pen
Poison Pen

Deborah Blum writes about chemicals and the environment.

For the past few years, Brenda Buck has been sampling the dust blowing across southern Nevada. Until recently, she focused on the risks of airborne elements such as arsenic. But then she started noticing an oddity in her samples, a sprinkling of tiny, hairlike mineral fibers.

She found them on herself as well. After a ride on horseback down a dirt road 20 miles south of Las Vegas, her clothes and boots were dappled with the fibrous material. Dr. Buck, a professor of geology at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, turned to her colleagues to help identify it.

Their verdict: asbestos. And lots of it.

In a paper published late last year, titled “Naturally Occurring Asbestos: Potential for Human Exposure, Southern Nevada, USA,” Dr. Buck and her colleagues reported that the fibers were similar to those found at asbestos-contaminated Superfund sites and warned that they “could be transported by wind, water, cars or on clothing after outdoor recreational activities.” The research raises the possibility that many communities in the region, including Las Vegas, may face a previously unknown hazard.

Dr. Buck and her co-author Rodney V. Metcalf, a fellow U.N.L.V. geology professor, are now trying to quantify the range and the danger posed by natural asbestos-bearing mineral deposits spread across 53,000 acres, stretching from the southern shore of Lake Mead to the edges of the McCullough Range. “Nobody wants bad news — we’re all hoping the health risks will be very low,” Dr. Buck said in an interview. “But the fact is, we don’t know that yet.”

Similar concerns are arising in an unexpectedly wide swath of the United States: Naturally occurring asbestos deposits now have been mapped in locations across the country, from Staten Island to the foothills of the Sierras in California.

Elongated asbestos fibers are created by natural mineral formations. When they turn up in industrial products, it is because people have excavated them and refined them for use — a practice dating back more than 2,000 years. Ancient Greeks used asbestos to strengthen everything from napkins to lamp wicks.

Stories of asbestos-linked illnesses date back almost as long. But it was the post-World War II embrace of these fibers, in products ranging from insulating materials to ceiling tiles to roofing shingles, that provided undeniable evidence of health effects. By the 1960s, scientists had demonstrated that a chain of occupational illnesses, including a lung cancer called mesothelioma, could be directly linked to the presence of such mineral fibers.

The term asbestos technically refers to a group of six silicate-based fibrous minerals. But this definition may underestimate the extent of naturally occurring risks, scientists say. The mineral erionite, for instance, also forms needlelike structures, which have been linked to startlingly high levels of mesothelioma in Turkey and which have recently been discovered in the oil-and-gas boom regions of North Dakota. The discovery of airborne erionite fibers in North Dakota recently led the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to describe it as “an emerging North American hazard.”

“Essentially, these fibers flow aerodynamically into the deep lung tissue and lodge there” said Geoffrey Plumlee, a geochemist with the United States Geological Survey in Denver. They remain embedded for years, like needles in a pincushion, spurring the onset of not only mesothelioma but also other lung cancers and diseases of the respiratory system.

By the 1970s such health effects were so well documented that the Environmental Protection Agency moved to limit asbestos use, and in 1989 the agency banned almost all industrial use of the minerals. But a recent cascade of research has renewed scientific worries.

For one thing, recent soil studies show that residential developments have spread into mineral-rich regions. California’s state capital, Sacramento, for example, spilled into neighboring El Dorado County, where, it turned out, whole neighborhoods were built across a swatch of asbestos deposits.

And sophisticated epidemiological studies have shown that this was more than an occupational health issue. The small mining town of Libby, Mont., provided one of the most dramatic case studies. Almost a fifth of the residents have now received diagnoses of asbestos-linked illnesses, from mesothelioma to severe scarring of lung tissue.

When these conditions began cropping up across the entire town in the late 1990s, investigators assumed that those sickened were all workers at a nearby mine. But the illnesses weren’t appearing only in mine workers. Family members were stricken, too, as were residents of the town who had nothing to do with the mining business.

Investigations by alarmed government agencies — including the E.P.A, the Geological Survey and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences — established that miners brought asbestos fibers back to town with them on clothes, vehicles and other possessions. But residents were also exposed to fibers blowing about the surrounding environment — and, to the dismay of researchers, people were being sickened by far smaller exposures than had been thought to cause harm.

“Libby really started the new focus on the issue,” said Bradley Van Gosen, a research geochemist with the Geological Survey in Denver. Dr. Van Gosen has been put in charge of a new U.S.G.S. mapping project, an ambitious effort to trace the minerals not only across Western mining states but also elsewhere, from the Upper Midwest to a rambling path up the Eastern Seaboard, starting in southern Appalachia and stretching into Maine.

Dr. Van Gosen said that most of the Eastern deposits were linked to an ancient crustal boundary, perhaps a billion years old, that underlies mountain ranges like the Appalachians. Wherever they are found, though, minerals in the asbestos family tend to form when magnesium, silica and water are transformed by superheated magma from the earth’s mantle.

In Western states, such filamented minerals tend to result from volcanic activity. In the Midwest, where fibers have recently turned up associated with mining interests in Minnesota and Wisconsin, geologists suspect they originated in ancient magnesium-rich seafloors. A recent study in Minnesota linked an increased risk of death among miners to time spent working in mines contaminated by such deposits.

“It has the potential to be a huge deal,” said Christopher P. Weis, toxicology adviser to the director of the National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences. “And we want to get the word out, because this is something that can be addressed if we tackle it upfront.”

Dr. Buck’s discovery of similar hazards in southern Nevada was the first time that naturally occurring asbestos had been reported in the region. At this point, she and her colleagues are simply trying to figure out the extent of the problem. A leading mesothelioma researcher, Dr. Michele Carbone of the University of Hawaii, is analyzing the fibers to help establish the magnitude of any health risk. Dr. Buck and Dr. Metcalf are expanding their sampling deeper into the Nevada desert, trying to build a better map of the hazardous regions.

“We live here. Our children are here,” Dr. Buck said. “We want very much to get this right.”

And they are approaching their discovery with personal caution. They now wear protective gear while sampling, and Dr. Buck has decided against taking her graduate students out for what appears to be risky fieldwork.

On a larger scale, researchers are investigating alternatives to creating large forbidden zones, such as wetting down roads or requiring that people in high-exposure areas wear protective masks and gear. But even small measures, like bathing after exposure and washing contaminated clothing separately, may help, Dr. Weis said.

“We can be smart and efficient about this, both at the government and at the personal level,” he said.

Continue reading:

Poison Pen: Landscapes Tainted by Asbestos

Landscapes Tainted by Asbestos

Brenda Buck, left, and Rodney Metcalf from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas examining rocks in Boulder City, Nev., for naturally occurring asbestos.Steve Andrascik/Las Vegas Review-Journal, via Associated PressBrenda Buck, left, and Rodney Metcalf from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas examining rocks in Boulder City, Nev., for naturally occurring asbestos.
Poison Pen
Poison Pen

Deborah Blum writes about chemicals and the environment.

For the past few years, Brenda Buck has been sampling the dust blowing across southern Nevada. Until recently, she focused on the risks of airborne elements such as arsenic. But then she started noticing an oddity in her samples, a sprinkling of tiny, hairlike mineral fibers.

She found them on herself as well. After a ride on horseback down a dirt road 20 miles south of Las Vegas, her clothes and boots were dappled with the fibrous material. Dr. Buck, a professor of geology at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, turned to her colleagues to help identify it.

Their verdict: asbestos. And lots of it.

In a paper published late last year, titled “Naturally Occurring Asbestos: Potential for Human Exposure, Southern Nevada, USA,” Dr. Buck and her colleagues reported that the fibers were similar to those found at asbestos-contaminated Superfund sites and warned that they “could be transported by wind, water, cars or on clothing after outdoor recreational activities.” The research raises the possibility that many communities in the region, including Las Vegas, may face a previously unknown hazard.

Dr. Buck and her co-author Rodney V. Metcalf, a fellow U.N.L.V. geology professor, are now trying to quantify the range and the danger posed by natural asbestos-bearing mineral deposits spread across 53,000 acres, stretching from the southern shore of Lake Mead to the edges of the McCullough Range. “Nobody wants bad news — we’re all hoping the health risks will be very low,” Dr. Buck said in an interview. “But the fact is, we don’t know that yet.”

Similar concerns are arising in an unexpectedly wide swath of the United States: Naturally occurring asbestos deposits now have been mapped in locations across the country, from Staten Island to the foothills of the Sierras in California.

Elongated asbestos fibers are created by natural mineral formations. When they turn up in industrial products, it is because people have excavated them and refined them for use — a practice dating back more than 2,000 years. Ancient Greeks used asbestos to strengthen everything from napkins to lamp wicks.

Stories of asbestos-linked illnesses date back almost as long. But it was the post-World War II embrace of these fibers, in products ranging from insulating materials to ceiling tiles to roofing shingles, that provided undeniable evidence of health effects. By the 1960s, scientists had demonstrated that a chain of occupational illnesses, including a lung cancer called mesothelioma, could be directly linked to the presence of such mineral fibers.

The term asbestos technically refers to a group of six silicate-based fibrous minerals. But this definition may underestimate the extent of naturally occurring risks, scientists say. The mineral erionite, for instance, also forms needlelike structures, which have been linked to startlingly high levels of mesothelioma in Turkey and which have recently been discovered in the oil-and-gas boom regions of North Dakota. The discovery of airborne erionite fibers in North Dakota recently led the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to describe it as “an emerging North American hazard.”

“Essentially, these fibers flow aerodynamically into the deep lung tissue and lodge there” said Geoffrey Plumlee, a geochemist with the United States Geological Survey in Denver. They remain embedded for years, like needles in a pincushion, spurring the onset of not only mesothelioma but also other lung cancers and diseases of the respiratory system.

By the 1970s such health effects were so well documented that the Environmental Protection Agency moved to limit asbestos use, and in 1989 the agency banned almost all industrial use of the minerals. But a recent cascade of research has renewed scientific worries.

For one thing, recent soil studies show that residential developments have spread into mineral-rich regions. California’s state capital, Sacramento, for example, spilled into neighboring El Dorado County, where, it turned out, whole neighborhoods were built across a swatch of asbestos deposits.

And sophisticated epidemiological studies have shown that this was more than an occupational health issue. The small mining town of Libby, Mont., provided one of the most dramatic case studies. Almost a fifth of the residents have now received diagnoses of asbestos-linked illnesses, from mesothelioma to severe scarring of lung tissue.

When these conditions began cropping up across the entire town in the late 1990s, investigators assumed that those sickened were all workers at a nearby mine. But the illnesses weren’t appearing only in mine workers. Family members were stricken, too, as were residents of the town who had nothing to do with the mining business.

Investigations by alarmed government agencies — including the E.P.A, the Geological Survey and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences — established that miners brought asbestos fibers back to town with them on clothes, vehicles and other possessions. But residents were also exposed to fibers blowing about the surrounding environment — and, to the dismay of researchers, people were being sickened by far smaller exposures than had been thought to cause harm.

“Libby really started the new focus on the issue,” said Bradley Van Gosen, a research geochemist with the Geological Survey in Denver. Dr. Van Gosen has been put in charge of a new U.S.G.S. mapping project, an ambitious effort to trace the minerals not only across Western mining states but also elsewhere, from the Upper Midwest to a rambling path up the Eastern Seaboard, starting in southern Appalachia and stretching into Maine.

Dr. Van Gosen said that most of the Eastern deposits were linked to an ancient crustal boundary, perhaps a billion years old, that underlies mountain ranges like the Appalachians. Wherever they are found, though, minerals in the asbestos family tend to form when magnesium, silica and water are transformed by superheated magma from the earth’s mantle.

In Western states, such filamented minerals tend to result from volcanic activity. In the Midwest, where fibers have recently turned up associated with mining interests in Minnesota and Wisconsin, geologists suspect they originated in ancient magnesium-rich seafloors. A recent study in Minnesota linked an increased risk of death among miners to time spent working in mines contaminated by such deposits.

“It has the potential to be a huge deal,” said Christopher P. Weis, toxicology adviser to the director of the National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences. “And we want to get the word out, because this is something that can be addressed if we tackle it upfront.”

Dr. Buck’s discovery of similar hazards in southern Nevada was the first time that naturally occurring asbestos had been reported in the region. At this point, she and her colleagues are simply trying to figure out the extent of the problem. A leading mesothelioma researcher, Dr. Michele Carbone of the University of Hawaii, is analyzing the fibers to help establish the magnitude of any health risk. Dr. Buck and Dr. Metcalf are expanding their sampling deeper into the Nevada desert, trying to build a better map of the hazardous regions.

“We live here. Our children are here,” Dr. Buck said. “We want very much to get this right.”

And they are approaching their discovery with personal caution. They now wear protective gear while sampling, and Dr. Buck has decided against taking her graduate students out for what appears to be risky fieldwork.

On a larger scale, researchers are investigating alternatives to creating large forbidden zones, such as wetting down roads or requiring that people in high-exposure areas wear protective masks and gear. But even small measures, like bathing after exposure and washing contaminated clothing separately, may help, Dr. Weis said.

“We can be smart and efficient about this, both at the government and at the personal level,” he said.

Original article: 

Landscapes Tainted by Asbestos

Midwest Asbestos Litigation Conference Provides Forum for Judges, Attorneys and Doctors

ALTON, Ill., Sept. 27, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — Simmons Browder Gianaris Angelides & Barnerd LLC, a nationwide leader in asbestos and mesothelioma litigation, will sponsor and co-host HarrisMartin’s Midwest Asbestos Litigation Conference. The event will take place Friday, Sept. 27, at the Four Seasons Hotel in St. Louis. This is the fourth consecutive year Simmons has co-hosted and sponsored the event.

The one-day conference will bring together attorneys — plaintiff and defendant — from around the Midwest to learn about ongoing trends in asbestos litigation. Firm shareholder Amy Garrett will serve as the conference’s co-chair.

“The Midwest Asbestos Conference is an opportunity for attorneys, doctors, and judges to exchange information and ideas about this unique area of litigation,” said Garrett.

Other Simmons Firm attorneys joining the conference as presenters are Conard Metcalf, Of Counsel, and Nick Angelides, Shareholder. Metcalf and his co-presenter, Dwayne Stanley, of Husch Blackwell LLC, are scheduled to present in the afternoon session “Concepts in Causation: Lung Cancer Cases, Part I.”

Angelides will appear as a panel member in the session “Local Court Procedures in Asbestos Cases.” He and other panel members, Judge Clarence Harrison, Judge Steve Ohmer and Rebecca Nickelson of HelplerBroom, will address Pro Hoc rules, motions to accelerate participation in depositions and jury selection.

Other conference topics on the agenda include Medicare and case settlements, deposition practice, Minnesota Asbestos Litigation Update and professionalism and ethics.  For more information about the conference or to register, visit www.Harrismartin.com.

About Simmons Browder Gianaris Angelides & Barnerd LLC:
The Simmons Firm is a national leader in mesothelioma and asbestos litigation. Headquartered in Alton, Ill., with offices in Illinois, Missouri and California, the firm has represented thousands of patients and families affected by mesothelioma throughout the country. The Simmons Firm has pledged nearly $20 million to cancer research and proudly supports mesothelioma research throughout the country. For more information about the Simmons Firm, visit http://www.simmonsfirm.com.

Contact: Mark Motley
Simmons Browder Gianaris Angelides & Barnerd LLC
618.259.2222
mmotley@simmonsfirm.com

Visit site:

Midwest Asbestos Litigation Conference Provides Forum for Judges, Attorneys and Doctors