Road Scare in the Dakotas?

A new study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences reports that 300 miles of roads as well as schoolyards, playgrounds and baseball fields in Dunn County, North Dakota have been surfaced with the asbestos-like erionite — a mineral that has been associated with malignant meosthelioma (MM) in Turkish villages.

The authors conclude:

Airborne erionite concentrations measured in North Dakota (ND) along roadsides, indoors, and inside vehicles, including school buses, equaled or exceeded concentrations in Boyali [Turkey], where 6.25% of all deaths are caused by MM. With the exception of outdoor samples along roadsides, ND concentrations were lower than those measured in Turkish villages with MM mortality ranging from 20 to 50%. The physical and chemical properties of erionite from Turkey and ND are very similar and they showed identical biological activities. Considering the known 30- to 60-y latency for MM development, there is reason for concern for increased risk in ND in the future.

As erionite has been used in North Dakota (and perhaps South Dakota) roads for at least 30 years, residents are on the cusp of the latency curve (if one actually exists). There is also a strong genetic component in Turkey helping to raise the MM incidence rate to between 0.001 to 0.01. In the US, MM incidence is about 0.000001. In North Dakota the rate is 0.000012, within the range of states with higher asbestos exposures.

To the researchers dismay,

Area residents in ND have expressed skepticism about the potential for health effects from erionite exposures. Similar skepticism prevailed in the first half of the past century about asbestos and it was only when the number of asbestos-related deaths increased to the magnitude of an epidemic that strict preventive measures were implemented. We hope that the lessons learned from such experiences will help to prevent a possible new wave of MM in the United States that could be caused by erionite. [Footnotes omitted]

Stay tuned.

6 thoughts on “Road Scare in the Dakotas?”

  1. Is anyone aware that every time the space shuttle lifted off there was 18,000,000 lbs or 9 tones of asbestos dumped into the atmosphere from the solid fuel rocket boosters? People need to get over worrying about things that will kill 3 people in the next month while thousands die because they are grossly over weight. How do I know about the asbestos? I worked for the company that made the o-rings and asbestos that were put in the solid fuel booster rockets.
    The fake scientific anti-capitalist fanatics are killing with their false research presented in an effort to get money and fame. Shame on all the people who are drawn into their web of deceit and fear mongering without a question.

  2. One would really think ALCOHOL would be the Main SUBJECT as far as Killing other People and causing Diseases,young kids consuming it,and what do they have as a Warning Label ? “MAY CAUSE Health Problems ” and “Drink Responsibly” Mainly in the USA,And at a COST of $ 280 Billion a Year Just because of its USE….

  3. nostraden,

    Ya gotta keep up son. EPA has renamed it. It is officially ETS, which stands for Environmental Tobacco Smoke. NB the similarity between the names, ETS and EPA, means Environmental Politics Activists.

  4. I believe that it is the morphology of asbestos, not its chemical composition that makes it dangerous. I think that the long, thin fibers of asbestos penetrate deep into the lung and stick into flesh like tiny arrows. Asbestos is chemically similar to clay, and is not soluble in water or body fluids so the fibers stay in the lung and the continuous irritation of your immune system attacking the fiber and the cells around it causes the cancer. Small particles of the same chemical composition but shaped like small basketballs are removable by the phlegm and the cilia.

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