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Asbestos-Like Substance in the West Raising Mesothelioma Fears

AsbestosA study of a naturally-occurring asbestos-like mineral in the Custer National Forest garnered little attention when it was first released in November, but is now raising questions about the safety and future health of Forest Service workers who may be exposed to the substance. Erionite has been found in rocks and soil in a number of states in America’s West, and has been blamed for a high incidence of mesothelioma, a rare and deadly form of cancer, in the country of Turkey. As a result, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) conducted the recent test. Though they report indicated that the initial findings were inconclusive regarding risk, the division of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention did suggest that changes be made to certain practices in order to minimize worker’s from being exposed to dust from the erionite.

Of particular concern is the fact that in the Cappadocia region of central Turkey where 40 to 50 percent of deaths are attributed to mesothelioma, erionite is extremely common, and is frequently used in home construction. In the last few years the erionite that has been mined in the Western U.S. states has been mixed into gravel used in popular parking lots and at recreational sites as well as in unpaved roads. In air quality tests done in these areas in the United States, the levels of erionite have been similar to that found in the Turkish villages. Though there have been no instances of mesothelioma attributable to the erionite in the West, health advocates are still concerned. They worry that it has only been in the last several years that the erionite has been exposed, and it takes decades for the symptoms of mesothelioma to make themselves known.

The Custer National Forest is an area that covers both the far southeastern corner of Montana and the northwest corner of South Dakota. Montana has already seen more than its share of sickness caused by asbestos and asbestos-like materials, as it is home to the town of Libby, where thousands died as a result of exposure to the deadly carcinogen.

Guarding the public against exposure to toxic materials is extremely important, especially after the years of negligence exposed by asbestos companies in the first half of the twentieth century. Those who have been sickened by mesothelioma as a result of past exposure to asbestos face the reality that they will likely die within two years of their diagnosis, and will incur medical expenses that will jeopardize their family’s financial security. The attorneys at Danziger & De Llano are committed to providing these victims with the protection and advocacy that they need. Call us today to learn how we can help you get the compensation you need.

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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