It has been several years since University of Nevada, Las Vegas medical geologist Brenda Buck identified naturally-occurring asbestos in an area northeast of Las Vegas and raised an alarm about the risk of mesothelioma from a planned highway construction project. Though that issue was managed, the concerns about asbestos in one of the nation’s fastest growing areas has remained, and has led to additional questions about whether the mineral has been sickening Nevada residents for decades.
Asbestos in Nevada is Same as That Found in Libby, Montana
A close examination of the asbestos found in Clark County — one of the fastest growing counties in the United States — reveals that it is amphibole asbestos, the same type as is found in Libby, Montana, where hundreds have died from malignant mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases. This has raised significant concerns from health experts, who worry about the fibers being disturbed by development and inhaled by construction workers as well as residents.
Of the various types of asbestos, amphibole is one of the most dangerous, and exposure to it has been linked directly to malignant mesothelioma. Where chrysotile asbestos fibers are curly, amphibole’s are long and thin, and both more easily inhaled and more likely to stay in the body and cause cell damage.
Some of Nevada Mesothelioma Incidence May Be Due to Naturally Occurring Asbestos
Where Clark County, Nevada’s mesothelioma incidence is similar to the rest of the United States, the area’s risk of occupational exposure to asbestos is low, making its median-level incidence unusual. Add to that the fact that many of those who have been diagnosed with the disease have been women and children and the notion that the asbestos is coming from nature becomes even more concerning.
Health experts are working with planners to identify ways to keep asbestos in the environment from becoming a health risk, and those plans can include such common-sense measures as paving areas, wetting down construction sites and instructing homeowners as to safer cleaning practices.
Preventing exposure to asbestos is the best way to prevent malignant mesothelioma. If you have been diagnosed with the disease then those types of precautions were not taken. For information on the resources available to you now, contact us today at 1-800-692-8608.