Naturally forming asbestos affects local residents

Asbestos was once a preferred building material for developers. Its strength, flexibility and resistance to heat all made it the ideal substance for fireproofing, insulation and a glut of other uses around the home. However, when it was discovered that, under certain conditions, asbestos can lead to a number of ailments like scarred lungs, respiratory problems and cancer in extreme cases, its dangers were deemed more significant than its benefits. 

Although asbestos no longer has a place as a common building material, a pair of University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV) geoscientists recently published a paper on asbestos as a naturally occurring substance with immediate and powerful side effects. The discovery of naturally forming asbestos growing in Clark County, Nevada, resulted in the controversial halting of a $490 million highway project. While the area badly needs a new road to reduce its constant traffic congestion, construction threatens to disturb the regional asbestos, which could affect the health of local residents.

Conversely, undisturbed asbestos typically has no adverse effects on people's health, which is why it is commonly left in older building and insulation materials. Trying to remove asbestos is usually what increases the risk of being infected by its properties. 

The fibers of the asbestos found in Clark County closely resembled those in Libby, Montana, where an asbestos-rich mineral vermiculite is mined. Vermiculite has a number of commercial uses, from being used for brake linings to supplementing soil conditioners. Many residents of the area became ill through recreational activities like working the vermiculite into their gardens and vegetable patches. 

The dangers of asbestos are well known. But where it lives, how it forms and how it can affect your home are facts that are still being discovered. If you live in Virginia or Washington, D.C., and are looking to guarantee that your house is safe and asbestos-free, schedule a home inspection with industry leader Alban Inspections today!