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Naturally Occurring Asbestos in California

Asbestos is a naturally-occurring mineral found within our earth. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has documented the occurrence of asbestos within different areas of the United States, but one of the most prominent is within California.


Asbestos is likely to be found in veins near earthquake faults. This makes California one of the most likely places in America to find the naturally occurring carcinogen. One of the areas that asbestos is most abundant in California soil and rock is El Dorado County.

Naturally occurring asbestos has been a concern of the residents of the El Dorado Hills for many years. The substance has been found in several parts of the county, even around schools, parks, and playgrounds. In October of 2004, out of 450 air and soil samples taken from the community areas of El Dorado Hills, the EPA confirmed that asbestos fibers were present in almost all of them.

It is important to note that asbestos fibers are not dangerous unless disturbed to the point that they become airborne, at which point they can be inhaled. The EPA worked to pave roads and cover bare soil in El Dorado County to prevent such disturbance.

In order to keep individuals safe from exposure, the EPA has a list of suggestions for residents who live in areas where asbestos is present, such as the El Dorado Hills. Some suggestions to minimize the disturbance of asbestos fibers include:

  • Water garden areas before digging
  • Keep windows and doors closed on windy days and during periods when nearby rock or soil may be disturbed, such as during construction
  • Allow children to play in outdoor areas only if the area has a ground covering, such as wood chips, mulch, sand, pea gravel, grass, asphalt, shredded rubber, or rubber mats,
  • Avoid dusty areas, especially in windy conditions

You can find out more about the approaching for reducing exposure to naturally occurring asbestos within the EPA Fact Sheet. Do you live in El Dorado County, or in another area where naturally occurring asbestos is present? Please share your experience with us in a comment below. 

Sources:EPA 1 | USGS | EPA 2


Thanks for posting this! I've always thought that asbestos is usually chemically made. It's interesting that it's naturally made in veins near earthquake faults. I live really close to an earthquake fault, so I can imagine that there must be a lot of asbestos in the soil where I live. It's really good to know that they're usually safe as long as they aren't airborne. Knowing to make sure that the state covers bare soil where asbestos can be found to make sure that it doesn't become airborne when doing road construction.

You're welcome, Deanna, and thank you for your comment! We are glad this information was helpful.

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