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Public Health Officials Raise Concerns About Asbestos, Off-Road Vehicles, and Mesothelioma

When you think of asbestos exposure and the risk of mesothelioma, chances are good that you picture factory workers, shipyard workers, firemen and others working in occupations known for their risk. But public health officials are raising concerns about long-term risks of mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases coming from young people using off-road vehicles in areas that are known to  have high quantities of naturally occurring asbestos and erionite. According to researchers at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, the dust raised while riding four-wheel drive vehicles, all-terrain vehicles, motorcycles and other off road recreational vehicles poses a significant danger, particularly to riders under the age of 16 years old.

The concerns about mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases cited by the study are very real, and very frightening. According to lead author Chris Wolfe, MS, an epidemiologist at the renowned children’s medical facility, “ORVs (off road vehicles) have been designed to operate in rugged, unpaved terrain, and they can produce copious amounts of dust. During off-roading in these areas, asbestos and other mineral fibers can become airborne as a component of the dust generated by ORVs. This puts riders – particularly children – at risk of inhalation exposure, but the dust can also be blown to other areas and may pose a risk to others. We found that a substantial amount of ORV tails are located within 20 miles of a naturally occurring asbestos deposit.”

Thought the report does not include information regarding negative health outcomes related to asbestos that may have resulted from the use of off road vehicles, it does call on other researchers to begin documenting their occurrence in order to determine whether there is a link between frequent use of the recreational vehicles and mesothelioma or other asbestos-related diseases. It does make a recommendation that riders using trails located near naturally occurring asbestos use safety masks and goggles. The areas that have the highest prevalence of these mineral deposits are located in the Appalachian Mountains and in mountain ranges in the West and Southwest. There has been one instance of a recreational area being closed as a result of asbestos prevalence, but there is a move in the House of Representatives to reopen it for public use.

Mesothelioma is cause by just one thing – exposure to asbestos – but that exposure can occur in many different ways. To learn more about what actions you should take if you have been impacted by this or any other asbestos-related disease, contact the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net today. We can be reached at 1-800-692-8608.

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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