Asbestos in Nature
There is a common misconception that being exposed to asbestos can only occur in poorly ventilated areas that have been constructed by humans, like a ship or a factory. This, however, is completely untrue. Asbestos is a naturally-occurring mineral and as such, exposure can also happen in nature.
While not technically part of nature, many potting soils and garden additives have been known to include asbestos. In particular, vermiculite, which is excellent for controlling water flow through pots and other planting containers, is commonly contaminated by asbestos. This means that a person’s own backyard, despite being thousands of miles from any rocks that actually contain asbestos, can potentially be a source of exposure to asbestos.
Because asbestos is so durable, a person living in an older home that has had numerous individuals care for the gardens may still be exposed to asbestos, even if he or she has been very careful about not using materials that contain asbestos.
Because asbestos occurs naturally, there is also the chance that hiking through mountains or wandering through woods may lead to asbestos exposure. Asbestos deposits found in nature or in a rock can be just as harmful to a person’s lungs and health as refined asbestos that has been using in insulation or another common application.
It takes very little to disturb asbestos deposits in nature, particularly if they are not part of one big boulder. An activity as eco-friendly as biking can actually be enough to release asbestos fibers into the air. California has the largest known number of near-surface asbestos deposits. 19 other states, including Virginia, are also known to have near-surface asbestos deposits.
Asbestos exposure is extremely dangerous, no matter where or how it takes place. For more information on asbestos in nature, contact a mesothelioma lawyer today at 800-781-3955.