The Unseen Problems with Nevada’s Air Quality

by Abigail Wang

For nearly twenty years Nevada, along with parts of Arizona, has been a hot topic of the debate between public health and economic development. The issue has resurfaced again as Brenda Buck and Rodney Metcalf, geologists and professors of geoscience at University of Nevada, push the Nevada Department of Health to implement more protective measures in areas filled with asbestos.

Asbestos is a naturally occurring carcinogenic fiber that damages the lungs. Deposits of asbestos minerals are fairly common and particularly rich veins have been mined for commercial use. The fibers travel easily through and air and if inhaled, even in modest amounts, can embed themselves into the lungs and cause mesothelioma and other respiratory diseases. Mesothelioma, a type of lung cancer, can only be caused by the exposure to asbestos, and it normally takes 30 or more years to recognize symptoms. Continue reading