Mesothelioma Attorney California - Environmental Asbestos Risks in California

Mesothelioma Attorney California

Mesothelioma Attorney California - Environmental Asbestos Risks in California

Most people know that dangerous levels of asbestos occurs asbestos mines, and in workplaces where asbestos products are used. Yet another type of asbestos exposure threatens many people in northern and central California.

Asbestos is a very common mineral in northern and central California, especially in the Sierra Nevada foothills, the Klamath Mountains, and the Coast ranges. In these areas, a form of asbestos called Serpentine is found in abundance. Serpentine has even been named the state mineral of California

This common rock is greenish-black; often with light and dark-colored areas. It has a shiny appearance and a slightly soapy feel. Serpentine rock frequently contains veins of Chrysotile, the most frequently occurring form of asbestos. Chrysotile fibers are well-documented as a cause of mesothelioma and other serious lung diseases. Breathing elevated levels of Chrysotile fibers increases a person's risk of developing mesothelioma

In northern and central California, highway contractors have frequently quarried this abundant local rock. They have crushed serpentine and used as a road surfacing material, particularly on unpaved roads in rural areas. Crushing rock and spreading it on roads releases enormous amounts of dust into the air. When the rock used is serpentine, that dust contains Chrysotile fibers, which are released into the environment.

Another massive release of Chrysotile fibers occurred in El Dorado Hills, a suburb of Sacramento. Developers building new homes and schools bulldozed veins of naturally occurring serpentine rock, and then used the displaced rock and soil as fill dirt, paving for roads, and surfacing for school playgrounds. Air quality measurements have documented elevated levels of asbestos fibers in the air, soil, and water of El Dorado Hills.

As medical knowledge grew about the dangerous effects of asbestos fibers, the state of California became increasingly concerned about this use of serpentine rock. In 1990California's Air Resources Board acted to reduce this hazard. Recognizing the very significant potential health hazard presented by exposure to Chrysotile asbestos fibers, the board adopted regulations restricting the use of this rock type as a road surfacing material. Nonetheless, the Chrysotile already spread remains in the environment, increasing the risk of asbestos-related disease for residents of northern and central California.

People who have developed mesothelioma or who believe they are at risk may want to seek further information on serpentine use in their area. This information can be obtained by contacting the California Air Resources Board at (916) 322-8285, or local Air Pollution Control District Offices. Persons with a diagnosis of mesothelioma should consult with an attorney who practices asbestos law to determine whether they may have a claim.

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