Mesothelioma.com Resources for Patients and their Families

Study Shows Lake Mead Mice Became Sick from Asbestos

Jillian Duff covers pressing news for the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance.

Jillian Duff

January 04, 2018

Study Shows Lake Mead Mice Became Sick from AsbestosBoulder City, Nevada - A new study shows that even low doses of asbestos fibers found around the Lake Mead area make mice sick. The study was conducted to understand whether rocks in Boulder City are toxic and cause negative health effects.

The study was undertaken by researchers from Montana State University and University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV). Some of the fibers were extracted from Lake Mead and some from the asbestos Superfund site in Libby, Montana.

“The mice exposed to the asbestos developed autoimmune diseases,” said lead author and University of Montana researcher Dr. Jean Pfau. “Autoimmune diseases connected to asbestos exposure in humans include lupus, scleroderma, and rheumatoid arthritis.”

The longer and thinner the fibers are, the more hazardous they are to human health. The study’s results go against the Nevada Department of Health’s assumption that small doses of asbestos are so small they have no dangerous impact.

The study also revealed differences in the effects of asbestos exposure. The commercial asbestos of Libby is associated with cancers like mesothelioma. On the other hand, the naturally-occurring asbestos of Boulder City and Lake Mead in Southern Nevada are linked to scar tissue developing between the lungs and chest wall, as well as autoimmune diseases.

“That is one of the big findings we have had over the past couple of decades is that there is a huge difference in the health outcomes of commercial asbestos and these needle-like fibers we’re finding in the rocks,” said Dr. Pfau.

“When they’re [asbestos fibers] in the rock, they’re sold. They’re not going to get into air unless you do something to that rock to pry those minerals loose,” said UNLV researcher Dr. Brenda Buck.

“You are possibly breathing them in if you are disturbing a soil that has asbestos in it,” added Dr. Buck. This could include an activity like using off-road vehicles or digging. High winds can also release fibers into the air.

“The thing is that these fibers are so tiny that you can’t see them when they’re in the air,” said Dr. Pfau. “So you don’t know if you’re breathing them in or not, unless we actually measure the air.”

Much research has been done concerning mesothelioma. However, further research needs to be conducted on how much asbestos people are breathing in around the desert, especially concerning which activities and areas are most likely to result in exposure. More work also needs to be funded regarding whether Boulder City has seen an increase in autoimmune diseases.

According to Dr. Pfau, “That’s why this study I think is important is in bringing attention to this and awareness so that physicians start asking those questions.”

Resources for Mesothelioma Patients and Their Families

Search the News:

Search the News

Upcoming Events

May 2018

National Cancer Research Month

“Each May, the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) celebrates National Cancer Research Month, which recognizes the importance of cancer research and the contributions of researchers, physician-scientists, survivors, and patient advocates across the United States who are dedicated to the conquest of cancer. For more information, please visit AACR's website via the link below. ”


6/5/2018

United Nations (UN) World Environment Day

“World Environment Day is the UN's most important day for encouraging worldwide awareness and action for the protection of our environment. Since it began in 1974, it has grown to become a global platform for public outreach that is widely celebrated in over 100 countries. For more information, please visit the link below.”

Mesothelioma Treatment Guide

Free Mesothelioma Treatment Guide

Please fill in the form below to request our FREE Mesothelioma Treatment Guide. It will be sent to you within 24 hours.

Have you or someone you know been diagnosed with mesothelioma?

Get Access To: