Naturally Occurring Asbestos May Pose Risk for Southern Nevada Residents

Dr. Brenda Buck, a professor of geology at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, has been sampling the dust blowing across southern Nevada for the past few years. But more recently, she also started noticing tiny, hair-like fibers on the ground, as well as on her own clothes and boots. The fibers? Asbestos.

What does this mean for the public? The Nevada region may face a previously unknown hazard: asbestos exposure can cause mesothelioma, a rare form of cancer that often arises on the lining of the lung. Dr. Buck and fellow geology professor at U.N.L.V., Rodney V. Metcalf, are now trying to quantify the risk posed to southern Nevada residents. For more information on their work, see Dr. Buck and Mr. Metcalf's article, entitled "Naturally Occurring Asbestos: Potential for Human Exposure, Southern Nevada, USA."