Paula Lee says she is right in the thick of naturally occurring asbestos in her Cameron Park neighborhood, but Rancho Cordova is where she gets things done.

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration proposed Friday to toughen its 27-year-old asbestos exposure limit - a threshold so weak that it impeded the discovery of a health disaster from a Montana vermiculite mine.

Construction projects in El Dorado County will be subject to more stringent dust-control measures under rules adopted by the county's Air Quality Management District board.

The El Dorado County Board of Supervisors, acting as the Air Quality Management District board, is scheduled to adopt new rules to control construction dust and reduce the impacts of naturally occurring asbestos.

A new study should help move the debate over living near asbestos veins from whether the situation is potentially dangerous to how people should best respond to the hazard, the study's lead scientist said Tuesday.

Roger Worthington, a Los Angeles attorney, makes his living suing manufacturers and building owners on behalf of people with a rare, asbestos-caused cancer called mesothelioma.

Work to clean up naturally occurring asbestos at a new high school site in Folsom is scheduled to begin at the end of this month.

El Dorado County officials have postponed adopting new rules meant to reduce the effect of naturally occurring asbestos, citing concerns about unintended consequences of the proposed regulations.

Not every asbestos fiber resides in El Dorado County.

People who live near the kind of rocks that can contain asbestos are more likely than other Californians to contract a rare cancer, according to a study being published in the nation's leading respiratory medical journal.

Complaints about dust have resulted in two stop-work orders at construction sites since El Dorado County initiated a telephone hotline June 1, part of stepped-up efforts to monitor and reduce the impact of naturally occurring asbestos.

Al Rogel, a Rancho Cordova engineer, is tired of fretting about whether tiny asbestos fibers in the air might be hurting his friends in El Dorado County.

Two community meetings in El Dorado Hills to discuss naturally occurring asbestos issues and dust prevention efforts have been postponed to 7 p.m. June 21 and 28 because of conflicts with other activities at the meeting site, the El Dorado Hills Community Services District Pavilion, according to a county spokesman.

WASHINGTON - In a bipartisan 13-5 vote, the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday approved a $140 billion legislative settlement that would end asbestos injury suits stemming from the nation's worst workplace disaster.

El Dorado County officials on Wednesday announced an aggressive plan to reduce the threat of the region's asbestos hazard and touted their effort as a national model.

The Bureau of Land Management announced Wednesday that it will close one of California's most popular off-road recreational vehicle areas during the dry months after tests showed riders kicking up dust with dangerously high levels of asbestos native to the region.

Two summers ago, the new Bass Lake Regional Park seemed to be well on its way. An environmental review had begun, community meetings had been held, and the Cameron Park Community Services District had expressed its unanimous support for the 41-acre park.

The El Dorado County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday will consider authorizing an agreement to secure funding for the Naturally Occurring Asbestos Project, in cooperation with the state Department of Toxic Substances Control.

In the grassy foothills of El Dorado County, doctors and public health experts are trying to do the near-impossible.

As El Dorado County's leaders search for ways to protect the populace from exposure to the region's naturally occurring asbestos, one option is not being considered: stopping the large-scale development that churned up the cancer-causing fibers in the first place.

El Dorado Hills residents returned for a second day of meetings with environmental and health officials Saturday to learn more about the asbestos hazard in their region.

In an overflow crowd of 1,000 at El Dorado Hills' community gymnasium Friday night, foothills residents hammered federal officials for raising too many questions and providing too few answers on the health risks posed by asbestos found in their soil.

Two moms want answers. And so Vicki Summers and Jennifer Pedersen are discussing life at risk here in El Dorado Hills, a place that looks more like a suburban California paradise, with its hilly, oak-studded landscape and pricey custom housing developments, than a potentially toxic hell.

Anxious or cavalier, angry or curious, El Dorado County residents and officials Monday were sizing up how a new federal asbestos study could affect their lives and their health.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has found that everyday recreation at El Dorado Hills' busiest park and nearby schools can significantly elevate exposure to a particularly toxic kind of asbestos, according to air test results obtained by The Bee.

The spotlight of asbestos concerns in the foothills of El Dorado County is turning back to development, as bulldozers and graders continue to churn up the hazardous minerals in densely populated areas.

Federal health officials say those who have played or coached sports, or tended fields at El Dorado Hills' high school prior to this academic year, should be checked for early signs of asbestos-related disease, according to a draft of a public advisory obtained by The Bee.

Scientists have reported "greatly elevated" levels of a highly toxic kind of asbestos in the lungs of a small sampling of pets from western El Dorado County, where fast-paced development has unearthed the naturally occurring minerals and liberated its hazardous fibers.

Starting next month in El Dorado Hills, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency plans to conduct the first tests designed to gauge residents' exposure to naturally occurring asbestos, particularly those of children at play, internal records obtained by The Bee show.

The naturally occurring asbestos found where Folsom has broken ground for a new high school is a highly toxic type of the fibrous minerals, and it is in rock that officials have not flagged as potentially hazardous, state geologists said Monday.

Geologists experimenting with an aircraft-mounted mineral scanner have identified miles of residential back roads in the foothills of El Dorado County that appear to be covered with asbestos-bearing gravel.

California is lobbying for an asbestos exposure study that would have dozens of El Dorado Hills teenagers wearing air monitors and keeping activity diaries as they go about their lives.

Federal environmental officials said Wednesday night they do not expect any of El Dorado Hills' asbestos-tainted areas will get the notorious "Superfund site" label, mainly because the potential hazards are relatively easy to remedy.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is considering Superfund cleanups of El Dorado Hills schoolyards, parks and other public grounds contaminated with asbestos, the result of foothill development carved through veins of the hazardous minerals.

Is it safe yet?

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has given El Dorado school officials 14 days to craft a plan for sealing many areas of asbestos-tainted soil they overlooked at Oak Ridge High School.

El Dorado Hills' high school has cancer-causing asbestos at "very high levels" on bare ground around sports bleachers, in playing areas and in numerous other outdoor locations that get a lot of foot traffic, federal environmental officials said Friday.

Construction in the fast-developing foothills of El Dorado County has been unearthing and stirring up naturally occurring asbestos, creating a potential cancer hazard to some residents -- especially children.

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