Report co-author Laurel Beckett says the study confirms what scientists suspected. "It really is true that the closer you are to the naturally occurring asbestos, the more likely it is that it would be a mesothelioma case."
Mesothelioma kills about the same number of Americans each year as secondhand tobacco smoke.
The study’s lead author Marc Schenker says they found a connection between cancer rates and people who live near rocks that contain asbestos. High levels of naturally occurring asbestos have been detected throughout the foothills, including El Dorado Hills. "We see, for example, in El Dorado right now there are about two cases of mesothelioma per year. That number could go up significantly and that’s what we’d like to prevent."
He says there are no simple answers to preventing exposure but he says public health efforts should be stepped up to let people know how to reduce risks and he says California needs better maps of where naturally occurring asbestos is throughout the state.