Bad dust

All around the West, there are pockets of asbestos and other hazardous substances that, when disturbed and inhaled at certain concentrations, can be really bad for you. I just found out about another one, called erionite, which is found in rocks and soil of western North Dakota, and acts similarly to asbestos. For decades, people re-surfaced gravel roads with stones that contained erionite, not knowing it’s a potential carcinogen. The oil boom has created even more truck traffic on some of these back roads, sending great clouds of dust into the sky with more frequency, and scientists are concerned about people being exposed to erionite this way. Read more here.

Oil truck in North Dakota. Courtesy Flickr user Tim Evanson.

Oil truck in North Dakota. Courtesy Flickr user Tim Evanson.

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