Incidence of mesothelioma has been found to be higher in populations living near naturally occurring asbestos. People can be exposed to naturally occurring asbestos in areas where mining or road construction is occurring, or when asbestos-containing rock is naturally weathered.
Another common route of exposure is through asbestos-containing soil, which is used to whitewash, plaster, and roof houses in Greece. In central Cappadocia, Turkey, mesothelioma was causing 50% of all deaths in three small villages—Tuzköy, Karain and Sarıhıdır. Initially, this was attributed to erionite. Environmental exposure to asbestos has caused mesothelioma in places other than Turkey, including Corsica, Greece, Cyprus, China, and California. In Metsovo, this exposure had resulted in mesothelioma incidence around 300 times more than expected in asbestos free populations and was associated with very frequent pleural calcification known as "Metsovo Lung".
The documented presence of asbestos fibers in water supplies and food products has fostered concerns about the possible impact of long-term and, as yet, unknown exposure of the general population to these fibers.
Exposure to talc is also a risk factor for mesothelioma; exposure can affect those who live near talc mines, work in talc mines, or work in talc mills.
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