No Natural Asbestos Hazard in the Clear Creek Recreation Area
The word "asbestos" is a vernacular term given to six types of naturally occurring fibrous amphibole and serpentine minerals. Asbestos paranoia began in the 1970s after Dr. Irving Selikoff, of Mt. Sinai School of Medicine, found that some workers, occupationally exposed to certain amphibole (non-serpentine) type asbestos fibers, were at increased risk of lung disease. While Dr. Selikoff's work played a key role in removing amphibole asbestos from industry, the nescient media, driven by the need for hysteria headlines, created public panic and a billion dollar industry associated with "evil" asbestos. The issue is further exasperated by the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) unwillingness to accurately represent the facts. Generally the media and the EPA fail to differentiate between amphibole and chrysotile (serpentine) fibers used for asbestos, and that failure has cost billions in unnecessary expense, the loss of many lives and endangered thousands of people.
See samples of article excepts at bottom of this page.
Without exception, every human study in the United States showing asbestos etiology is associated with amphibole fiber asbestos, and there is not a single study showing chrysotile etiology. In fact, every study of chrysotile fiber has shown it to be harmless, even in cases of excessive exposure. The EPA, purposefully ignoring the scientific evidence, has created dangerous policy base solely on pseudoscience, that has cause the death of thousand of people whose lives could have been protected had harmless chrysotile asbestos not been removed from industry. For example, many leading professionals blamed the rapid structural failure of the World Trade Center on the asbestos ban that stopped the use of (chrysotile) asbestos insulation above the 64th floor (James Glanz and Andrew C. Revkin. "A Nation Challenged; Haunting Question: Did the Ban on Asbestos Lead to Loss of Life?" New York Times. September 18, 2001). Even the loss of the Columbia Space Shuttle can be traced back to the removal of chrysotile asbestos fiber from the failed o-ring that caused the disaster ("Did risk reduction backfire in space?" The Washington Times. January 28, 1996).
It should be noted that the EPA is currently (2008) reassessing their approach for evaluating asbestos risk exposure. At present, EPA uses an approach developed in 1986 for quantifying cancer risk from asbestos exposure based on phase contrast microscopy (PCM) as the measure of asbestos exposure. This method cannot differentiate between asbestos and nonasbestos minerals and uses old epidemiological data from workers exposed to amphibole asbestos in a few mining and manufacturing settings to develop risk models and estimate potency factors for lung cancer and mesothelioma. The EPA is currently assessing the Proposed Approach for Estimation of Bin-Specific Cancer Potency Factors for Inhalation Exposure to Asbestos to account for the differences of cancer potency between different mineral types and particle size distributions at different human exposure conditions. The purposed method uses a mathematical approach to estimate cancer risk according to mineral groups (amphibole or chrysotile) and particle size (length and width) based on transmission electron microscopy. Acceptance of this new methodology would invalidate the current EPA opinion about the Clear Creek Recreation Area and their recent study, CCMA Asbestos Exposure and Human Health Risk Assessment.
The official California State Rock is serpentine, the major source of chrysotile asbestos. Millions of acres of the California Coast Ranges and western slope of the Sierra Nevada are underlain by chrysotile asbestos bearing rock and soil which have been there for millions of years. Most of the San Francisco Bay area is underlain by these same rock formations. Were it as dangerous as some government agencies such as the EPA imply, thousands of Californians would be dead and dying from it .,. but no one is ill or dying from exposure to chrysotile asbestos.
Of course, mainstream media and other pseudoscientist would never permit truth to interfere with their dedication to purpose ... whatever that "propose" might be. They have successfully demonized "asbestos" causing many people to believe that it is one of the world's great evils. They conveniently - no, they purposely and neglectfully ignored the fact that not all asbestos is dangerous and the natural occurring asbestos found in the Clear Creek Recreation Area is chrysotile, a harmless serpentine mineral.
Chrysotile is not an amphibole fiber and according to all scientific studies, Chrysotile is harmless to humans. In fact a recent study published in Inhalation Toxicology (Volume 15, Number 14/Dec 2003) "Comparison of Calidria Chrysotile Asbestos to Pure Tremolite: Inhalation Biopersistence and Histopathology Following Short-Term Exposure" concluded that chrysotile "fiber is not associated with lung disease."
While the recent EPA study, CCMA Asbestos Exposure and Human Health Risk Assessment, boasted of finding dangerous amphibole asbestos, including tremolite, actinolite, and crocidolite, the EPA neglected to point out that their study was conducted exclusively on historic industrial sites contaminated with imported industrial asbestos fiber that had been left behind after remediation projects.
No naturally occurring amphibole asbestos has ever been found in the Clear Creek Recreation Area (CCMA).
Summary of Facts:
No asbestosis or mesothelioma has ever been associated with CCMA exposure
Scientific studies show that chrysotile asbestos is harmless
Mesothelioma is an extremely rare diseases
There is no natural amphibole asbestos danger in the CCMA
The EPA study focused on historic sites contaminated with imported asbestos