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Gravel roads contain cancer-causing mineral
About the author: 
WDDTY Team

Gravel roads in rural areas may contain erionite, a mineral that can cause mesothelioma, a form of lung cancer

Gravel roads in rural areas may contain erionite, a mineral that can cause mesothelioma, a form of lung cancer. The mineral has been discovered in roads in Turkey and in 12 states in the US - and many more unmade tracks around the world could be affected.
Erionite is used in the manufacture of gravel, and cars and heavy vehicles using the tracks create dust clouds that contain the cancer-causing mineral. Although it is a known problem in rural areas of Turkey, researchers have also discovered it in unmade roads in at least 12 states in the US.
Researchers from six colleges and research centres, including the Environmental Protection Agency, have located 300 miles of erionite-containing gravel roads in just one county in North Dakota alone.
Although it is not as toxic as asbestos, which also causes mesotheliema, erionite can lodge in the lungs and, over time, cause cancer. In experiments with laboratory mice, those injected with the mineral quickly showed signs of inflammation and abnormal cell growth was detected.
(Source: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2011; July 25: doi: 10.1073/pnas.1105887108).


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