Asbestos in the wild

When you're used to seeing it in processed form, wrapped around old heating pipes or pressed into floor tiles, it's easy to forget that good old, cancer causing asbestos is actually a natural mineral. What's more, the natural form can cause the same kind of lung damage and illness associated with factory production. New efforts are underway to map places where fibrous asbestos is a part of the natural landscape, though it's unclear what you can really do about it if it turns out that your subdivision was built on top of an asbestos deposit. Deborah Blum has the story at The New York Times.

Notable Replies

  1. Oh what? Natural things can't possibly be bad for you. That's reserved for man made things only. Didn't you get the memo? stuck_out_tongue

  2. I suppose having your house built on top of a major asbestos deposit is still better than building it on top of an ancient Native American burial mound. Those movies never end well.

  3. Other than needing to be careful when you dig, I don't see where living on top of an asbestos deposit would be so bad. It's not water soluable so the layer of dirt between you and the minerals should be pretty good protection. Now if you live in a windswept area with lots of exposed rock, then yeah, that could be an issue, but simply living over top of them doesn't seem like an issue.

  4. If living on top of an asbestos deposit were actually bad for you, I would expect mesothelioma clusters in these locations. To my knowledge these don't exist, because people don't normally extract core samples and then grind them up and snort them. Even in buildings with asbestos insulation it's not at all clear that there is significant risk until the asbestos is disturbed.

  5. It's the newest disturbing trend hitting schools now that the kids have gotten bored of grinding up and snorting Hallowe'en candy.

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