Asbestos in the wild


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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:


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.


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.


Kids, dogs, gophers. They’ll dig it up for you. Pirates are only a problem if you live near the sea and the 18th century.

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Even though all types of asbestos got swept up in the panic ban my understanding was that the serpentine class of asbestos isn’t nearly as dangerous as the amphibole class. So you’d have to consider not only where asbestos is but what type.

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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.

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IIRC there is a big ol’ stripe of asbestos bearing bedrock (Manhattan Schist containing tremolite) that runs through the middle of Central Park in NYC.


It’s always a risk to the people who work in the building. I mean the ones who actually RUN the building, not the suits, the dickies.

We have a “blue hill” just down the road from where I work. It’s in the middle of town and the state is putting in a highway on-ramp. It’s taking a long time and they seem to be very concerned with keeping dust under control (spraying water etc). My wife happened to talk to the general contractor, and he said it’s because the hill is full of asbestos. He also mentioned there’s an ongoing problem here with people taking the pretty blue rocks and using them to build chimneys and walls.

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


I assume asbestos is bad for the maggots, too?

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Seems like I might be wrong about the absence of evidence: … grantedly an unusual situation, but it sounds like you’d at least want to be careful to filter any groundwater you brought up in such an environment.

The article covers this; as a matter of fact, naturally occurring non-sequestered asbestos and its health effects on local populations is exactly what the article is about.

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There is a nice US Government publication from 2005 with maps showing asbestos mines and naturally occurring asbestos sites in the eastern US. That was linked from a Science news article in 2006 about the town in California mentioned in the article. I am not sure that exposure to naturally occurring asbestos and concerns about it are a new thing, but I like the approach of trying to determine what level of risk that it really entails for those living in those areas.

Hmmm, so snort the Smarties with an asbestos chaser?

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