New study: “off-roading” can lead to asbestos exposure

A study recently published in the International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health raises concerns about a possible link between asbestos exposure and exploring “off-road” on an all-terrain vehicle/off-road vehicle (ATV). The study, led by an epidemiologist at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, suggests the hazards exist anywhere there are naturally occurring asbestos or erionite or at locations where asbestos was present in now-demolished buildings.

Riding an ATV in areas of asbestos deposits stirs up dust and debris that contains asbestos fibers and minerals. Speed and the number of people participating in the ride affect the amount of asbestos concentrations measured in the air. These airborne asbestos fibers can enter the lungs and remain dormant for years, causing damage decades later. As we’ve discussed in previous posts, there is no known safe level of exposure to asbestos. As a result, even relatively small amounts of asbestos exposure during an ATV excursion should be avoided in order to reduce the risks of mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases.

A naturally occurring hazard

There are actually huge natural deposits of asbestos throughout America, including some along the Appalachian Mountains. In addition, there are also numerous sites throughout Tennessee where there are now-demolished and abandoned buildings and worksites that once contained asbestos. As careful as construction workers hopefully are during the demolition process, asbestos fibers could still be present.

The study does not go so far as to suggest completely refraining from ATV off-roading, but it does suggest riders be aware of the geography of the area in which they are riding and it suggests riders wear safety masks and goggles.

The study doesn’t necessarily correlate instances of mesothelioma with a history of off-roading, but it does call upon health care providers and future researchers to consider the activity as a possible source of asbestos exposure. Were you or someone you love diagnosed with mesothelioma or another asbestos-related disease? If so, you may have legal claims. Reach out to an experienced personal injury attorney to learn more about possible causes of action.

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