Chrysotile asbestos in a California recreational area

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Science  09 Nov 1979:
Vol. 206, Issue 4419, pp. 685-688
DOI: 10.1126/science.493972


Dustfall along roads and trails being used recreationally in the Clear Creek area of San Benito County, California, located in the New Idria serpentinite, was found to be 90 percent or more chrysotile asbestos. Personal samplers worn by motorcyclists using one of the trails showed concentrations of airborne fibers ranging from 0.3 to 5.3 fibers per milliliter, according to methods prescribed for monitoring occupational exposures. The present workplace standard for brief exposures to asbestos is 10 fibers per milliliter; 5 fibers per milliliter is the proposed standard. The average total dust concentration estimated from personal samplers was approximately 20 milligrams per cubic meter of roughly 90 percent chrysotile. To our knowledge, this is the first demonstration of asbestos exposures of this magnitude, in size ranges known to be pathogenic, resulting from natural deposits not associated with mining, milling, or industrial use.