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Asbestos Exposure Causes Woes Beyond Mesothelioma, Even at Low Levels

When people learn that they’ve been exposed to asbestos, their first thoughts generally turn to the risk of malignant mesothelioma. Though low-level exposures may carry not carry as high a risk of that rare and fatal form of cancer as is true where higher concentrations of the carcinogen are present, that is not reason for relief. A recent study has shown that even low concentrations of asbestos can bring significant health risk, and the news is alarming many people who live near naturally occurring asbestos.

The study’s researcher, Jean Pfau of Montana State University, is theorizing that measuring asbestos exposure in terms relevant to mesothelioma risk may be leaving many exposed to lower levels of asbestos that can cause other serious disease. Her research exposed 40 mice to amphibole asbestos samples gathered from both Libby, Montana and from a site in Arizona close to where two geologists had discovered naturally-occurring asbestos. That discovery brought a much-anticipated road construction project to a halt out of fears of mesothelioma, but involved agencies found levels of exposure were low enough for them to proceed. Jean Pfau worries that other conditions caused by lower levels of exposure are being disregarded.

“Low exposure caused health effects in mice, suggesting that we cannot dismiss low environmental exposures,” she said when making a presentation to citizens in Boulder City. “We can no longer say there is no health risk.” Brenda Buck, one of the geologists from the University of Nevada Las Vegas who made the original discovery agrees. She points out that the asbestos found in the area first sampled is moved by dry and windy conditions, and as a result, “We need long-term measurements for what’s in the air.”

It has long been known that exposure to asbestos in occupational settings and from second-hand exposure can lead to the development of malignant mesothelioma. But with this latest research, it is becoming increasingly clear that no amount of asbestos exposure is safe. If you or someone you love has been exposed to asbestos and suffered as a result, we can help. Call the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net today at 1-800-692-8608 to learn more.

Terri Oppenheimer

Terri Oppenheimer is an independent writer, editor and proofreader. She graduated from the College of William and Mary with a degree in English. Her dreams of a writing career were diverted by a need to pay her bills. She spent a few years providing copy for a major retailer, then landed a lucrative career in advertising sales. With college bills for all three of her kids paid, she left corporate America for a return to her original goal of writing. She specializes in providing content for websites and finds tremendous enjoyment in the things she learns while doing her research. Her specific areas of interest include health and fitness, medical research, and the law.

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