I-Team: Scientists unveil asbestos study results in Boulder City

LAS VEGAS - Residents of Boulder City received chilling news Thursday night when scientists unveiled a new study about the risks of exposure to natural asbestos.

The research project stems from a discovery four years ago by two UNLV geologists. They found widespread deposits of asbestos type fibers in the soil around Boulder City as well as across the Colorado River in Arizona.

The fibers found are similar to those found in Libby, Montana, the site of the deadliest environmental exposure in U.S. history.

As the I-Team previously reported, UNLV geologists Rod Metcalf and Brenda Buck warned about potential health risks from asbestos particles in the air.

READ: I-Team stories on asbestos fibers found in Boulder City

Those professors were joined by a Montana toxicologist who told Boulder City residents about the results of tests done on mice and potential health risks from low levels of asbestos exposure.

"We saw an increase in antibodies in the mice. We saw examples of systemic immunity. We saw an increase in inflammation and kidney damage. All of the things you would see in an auto immune disease," said Dr. Jean Pfau, expert.

The doctor explained severe exposure to the fibers found in the soil can result in cancers or even mesothelioma, a fatal disease, but even at low levels, there can be serious risks to public health.

The discovery of asbestos fibers here caused a one year delay in the construction of the massive I-11 project.



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