It’s a favorite pastime of about 44 million Americans – riding all-terrain vehicles or off-roading, as it’s sometimes called. It can be dangerous because of the severe injuries that can happen in a crash. But is there another potential risk?
This study examined the connection between individuals who off-road and asbestos exposure. Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral in the United States and other countries. After mining, builders often used it in construction until the Environmental Protection Agency banned the toxic material in 1989. Over time, people who inhale asbestos fibers are at risk of mesothelioma, which causes a deadly cancer that has no cure.
This study looked ATV riders and the possibly that off-roading kicked up dust that led to asbestos inhalation. The study focused on California and looked at 15 previous investigations. For individuals in the study with measured asbestos concentrations, speed and riding in a group were commonalities. It was an interesting investigation into the relationship between asbestos and off-roading. More studies looking at this issue in other parts of the country where asbestos is prevalent could be useful.