New Fact Sheet to Help Localities Address Naturally Occurring Asbestos
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently issued a fact sheet, "Naturally Occurring Asbestos: Approaches for Reducing Exposure," as a resource for state and local governments and environmental professionals contending with naturally occurring asbestos (NOA) in their communities. Limiting exposure to NOA is important because the potential health effects associated with asbestos exposure are serious and include lung disease and disease of the chest cavity, various cancers and noncancer effects. Lung cancer and mesothelioma are clearly linked to asbestos exposures in numerous worker studies.
Developed in collaboration with the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), the fact sheet identifies known engineering, work practices and institutional controls implemented at the state or local government level that have been shown to be appropriate measures for reducing exposures to NOA. In compiling this fact sheet, EPA relied on information from many existing resources including state and county regulations for minimizing NOA exposure during construction and land use activities.
USGS has an ongoing project to map historical asbestos mines, former asbestos exploration prospects, and natural asbestos occurrences. To date, the USGS has published maps and datasets of natural asbestos occurrences within:
- The eastern U.S. (http://pubs.usgs.gov/of/2005/1189/)
- The central U.S. (http://pubs.usgs.gov/of/2006/1211/)
- The Rocky Mountain States (http://pubs.usgs.gov/of/2007/1182/)
- The southwestern U.S. (http://pubs.usgs.gov/of/2008/1095/)
The fact sheet is available on the following EPA web pages: