A North Dakota town is facing a health crisis over its playground and other states are concerned over their roads. The city elders used a common gravel in the area for base material, only to learn that it is composed of erionite that can cause lung cancer.
The EPA has been testing erionite and found that it causes cancer in lab animals. It is found in at least a dozen states in the West.
The elders in the area, however, are dismissing the risk to the children regardless of the views of scientists — showing that age is no measure of intellect or judgment.
“I’m 80 years old and it hasn’t killed me yet,” said Milton Johnson, who ranches in the Killdeer Mountains. “They can test my lungs if they want — I’ve been breathing it all my life.”
Gary Jepson, another rancher in the area, called the worries over erionite “one of those sky-is-falling kind of deals.”
There may indeed be difference with the carcinogenic erionite found in Turkey where it has been linked to mesothelioma, an form of lung cancer associated with asbestos exposure.
Erionite found in North Dakota differs slightly than the mineral found in Turkey, where it’s a known carcinogen, Murphy said. Erionite in the state is more calcium based; the mineral in Turkey is sodium based, he said.
Yet, a modicum of concern from some of these citizens would be appreciated given the risk to children and others. If there is a link, this is going to be a very serious problem given the extensive use of this material.
For the full story, here