Asbestos is a naturally-occurring substance, and clusters of asbestos can be found in various parts of the United States, including California and the eastern Appalachian Mountains. Individuals who live near asbestos deposits are at higher risk of asbestos-related illness such as mesothelioma. The further a person lives from an asbestos deposit, the lower their risk of disease. This finding was well borne out by a large study of people who lived near a deposit in California. For every 10km a person lived away from the deposit, their risk for mesothelioma decreased by over 6%.

Undisturbed asbestos deposits pose little to no health risk. However, as more areas of the United States are developed, disruption of naturally-occurring asbestos deposits is more likely to occur.

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