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Mesothelioma Clusters Found in Turkey and Mexico

A study recently conducted by scientists in the central region of Mexico has determined that there is a mesothelioma cluster in that area that bears a close resemblance to one found in the Cappadocian region of Turkey. It is believed that the high incidence of mesothelioma in both regions is attributable to the prevalence of a mineral called erionite which is extremely similar to asbestos and may have the same effects on the human body.

The study, which was published in the e-journal Environmental Geochemistry and Health, looked at the makeup of the soil in the region of Guanajuato, near San Miguel de Allende. Several towns in the area have experienced abnormally high rates of malignant mesothelioma and lung cancer; the two diseases are said to be the primary causes of death in the region and researchers believe that it is a result of the toxic mineral.

Mesothelioma is a disease that affects the lining of the mesothelium, organs that surround and protect various other organs within the body, most notably the lungs and the peritoneum. The disease is always considered fatal, and often takes decades to make itself known after a patient is initially exposed to asbestos. In the majority of diagnosed cases, mesothelioma is caused by exposure to asbestos, a mineral that was heavily used in industrial settings around the world for centuries.

In the United States and many other industrialized countries the majority of the exposures to asbestos were attributed to the workplace. But in the cases seen in central Mexico and in the country of Turkey, the illness is though to be caused by the erionite that is found in the soil.

Erionite is very similar to asbestos in that it can break down into fine particles that become embedded in the lungs and do damage once it is there. In the central region of Mexico many of the hoes have been built of adobe made from the soil, which contains high levels of the toxin. In Turkey the stones that the people use to build their homes contain equally high levels of erionite.

Though erionite is common in the ground in these two countries it is not known to be prevalent in the United States. The World Health Organization has included this mineral on its list of respiratory carcinogens.

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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