* Erionite falls into the mineral family zeolite It is fibrous like asbestos and is found in volcanic ash deposits which have been weathered by water.

* Erionite forms in the hollows of rock formations and can be found on the earth’s surface.

* Erionite can absorb up to 20% of its weight in water and, hence, has been used as a commercial absorbent.  It has good thermal stability (also similar to asbestos in fire resistance).

Since you’ve probably never heard of Erionite, you might think you have no chance of encountering it but you would be mistaken!

* Erionite deposits are found in many western states in the US including: Nevada, Arizona, Oregon, Utah, North Dakota, South Dakota and Montana.

* Occupational exposure to erionite is the most common way to encounter this dangerous mineral.

* Miners of other zeolites are most often exposed and since it is sometimes a component in products containing zeolites, anyone can encounter erionite in commonly used items, especially laundry detergents, which contain zeolites.

* Erionite has also been found in road dust in Nevada and North Dakota, which is of course dangerous to anyone on the road since the particles become airborne when a vehicle drives on the surface.

It is definitely time to regulate Erionite in the US and use the occupational safety protocols developed for workers who encounter asbestos.  Erionite is even more likely to cause mesothelioma than is asbestos.

Alliance Environmental Group is happy to provide information about asbestos and other dangerous substances. If you need help with safely removing asbestos from a structure because of natural disaster, renovation or restoration, please contact us!

Wendy Stackhouse is the Online Community Manager for Alliance Environmental Group and AirTek Indoor Air Solutions.  She welcomes your comments!  For more news and tips or to ask questions of our experts, Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!  For updates on indoor air challenges, Like us at AirTek on Facebook!