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ATSDR Press Room

ATSDR Releases Final Health Consultation on Asbestos Exposure in El Dorado Hills, CA

El Dorado County, El Dorado Hills, California

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) today released the final version of its health consultation for El Dorado Hills, CA. The health consultation says that people should use caution in areas of naturally occurring asbestos to reduce potential health risks from exposure. The consultation also says that breathing in naturally occurring asbestos over a lifetime is a potential health risk.

ATSDR bases these conclusions on estimates of past exposures in the El Dorado Hills area.

The final version of ATSDR’s health consultation incorporates changes from the draft health consultation released in March 2010. These changes clarify ATSDR’s conclusions and recommendations and respond to comments received during a 90-day public comment period. ATSDR’s overall findings are not changed significantly.

ATSDR evaluated this problem in response to community concerns about potential exposures to naturally occurring asbestos deposits in local soil and rock formations. Asbestos sampling results from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 2004 showed that people performing typical outdoor recreational activities could breathe in high levels of asbestos. Community members asked ATSDR how this finding could affect their health and what they should do to protect themselves.

ATSDR estimated the level of increased cancer risk for people exposed to naturally occurring asbestos. This risk is determined by how much and how often people may breathe it in. ATSDR concluded that the predicted cancer risks are high enough to warrant preventive measures.

“It’s difficult to predict the risk of disease from asbestos exposure. We compared several different risk methods and examined additional asbestos findings from El Dorado Hills. We found an increased risk of disease. The best way to keep this risk from becoming a reality is to prevent inhalation of asbestos to the greatest extent possible,” said Jill Dyken, PhD, an ATSDR environmental health scientist.

“These findings highlight the importance of continuing the current efforts to reduce naturally occurring asbestos exposures in El Dorado Hills. Asbestos-related diseases often take years or decades to appear. As we monitor the situation and learn from ongoing asbestos research projects, we may update our recommendations,” she added.

ATSDR recommends that El Dorado County environmental health officials continue to enforce state and local dust regulations to limit people’s potential exposure to asbestos. ATSDR also recommends that officials continue to provide information to the community about where naturally-occurring asbestos is found so that people can avoid it or minimize their exposure during normal activities. Additionally, ATSDR recommends that the state of California continue to monitor asbestos-related cancer incidence rates in the area in case the rates increase. People concerned about their exposure to asbestos should talk to their doctor or other medical professional.

ATSDR recommends these steps to reduce or prevent asbestos exposure in areas of naturally occurring asbestos:


  • Walk, run, hike, and bike on paved trails.
  • Play in outdoor areas with a ground covering such as wood chips, mulch, sand, pea gravel, grass, asphalt, shredded rubber, or rubber mats.
  • Pave over unpaved walkways, driveways, or roadways that may have asbestos-containing rock or soil.
  • Cover asbestos-containing rock or soil in gardens and yards with asbestos-free soil or landscape covering.
  • Wet garden areas before digging or shoveling soil.
  • Drive slowly over unpaved roads.


  • Keep pets from carrying dust or dirt on their fur or feet into the home.
  • Remove shoes before entering your home to prevent tracking in dirt.
  • Use doormats to lower the amount of soil that is tracked into the home.
  • Keep windows and doors closed on windy days and during nearby construction.
  • Use a wet rag instead of a dry rag or duster to dust.
  • Use a wet mop on non-carpeted floors.
  • Use washable area rugs on floors and wash rugs regularly.
  • Vacuum carpets often using a vacuum with a high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter.

ATSDR’s Health Consultation: Evaluation of Community-wide Asbestos Exposures in El Dorado Hills Naturally Occurring Asbestos Site, El Dorado Hills CA can be viewed at A copy of the health consultation is also available at the following locations:

El Dorado County Main Library
345 Fair Lane
Placerville, CA 95667
(530) 621-5540

El Dorado Hills Community Services District
1021 Harvard Way
El Dorado Hills, CA 95762
(916) 933 –6624

El Dorado Hills Branch Library
7455 Silva Valley Parkway
El Dorado Hills, California 95762
(916) 358-3500

For more information, call 1-800-CDC-INFO.

Members of the news media can request an interview with ATSDR staff by calling the NCEH/ATSDR Office of Communication at 770-488-0070.

ATSDR, a federal public health agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, evaluates the potential for adverse human health effects due to exposure to hazardous substances in the environment.

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Related Web Site(s)

ATSDR El Dorado Hills Site Information
ATSDR El Dorado Hills Site Information

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Related PHA & HC For this Press Release

El Dorado Hills Naturally Occurring Asbestos Site
-Evaluation of Community-Wide Asbestos Exposures
Document Date: 8/16/2011 - HC  [PDF - 6455 KB]

El Dorado Hills Naturally Occurring Asbestos Site
-Technical Information Sheet: ATSDR Evaluation of Community-Wide Exposure to Naturally Occurring Asbestos
Document Date: 8/16/2011 - HC  [PDF - 613 KB]

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Related News Releases For El Dorado County, El Dorado Hills, California


ATSDR to Hold Meetings in El Dorado Hills to Discuss Report on Naturally Occurring Asbestos - El Dorado Hills, California
Release Date: Tuesday, May 4, 2010
Residents will be able to ask federal scientists questions about their report examining health effects from naturally occurring asbestos later this month in El Dorado Hills.

ATSDR Releases Health Consultation for Public Comment - El Dorado Hills, California
Release Date: Monday, March 29, 2010
People can minimize potential health risks from naturally occurring asbestos in the El Dorado Hills area by taking precautions, according to a health consultation by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR).

ATSDR Hace Pública Su Consulta de Salud y Pide Sus Comentarios - El Dorado Hills, California
Release Date: Monday, March 29, 2010
La gente pueden disminuir los riesgos potenciales a la salud causados por el asbesto que se encuentra de forma natural en el área de El Dorado Hills al tomar precauciones, de acuerdo a la consulta de salud preparada por la Agencia de Sustancias Tóxicas y el Registro de Enfermedades (ATSDR por sus siglas en inglés). 

Final Report on Oak Ridge High School Asbestos Exposures
Release Date: Tuesday, February 7, 2006
A final report released by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) concludes that current exposures to naturally occurring amphibole asbestos from campus soil at Oak Ridge High School have been minimized by the mitigations conducted by the El Dorado Union High School District (EDUHSD) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. However, the potential exists for current or future exposures from unmitigated areas on campus or from other off-campus sources.

ATSDR Public Health Consultation Finds Asbestos Exposure No Longer a Hazard for Students and Staff at Oak Ridge High School
Release Date: Friday, May 6, 2005
Students and staff at Oak Ridge High School in El Dorado Hills, Calif., currently are not being exposed to dangerous levels of asbestos at the school, according to a report released today by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR).

ATSDR Schedules Meetings About Asbestos Exposure at Oak Ridge High School in El Dorado Hills, Calif.
Release Date: Monday, August 16, 2004
Representatives from the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) want to hear community members' health concerns about naturally occurring asbestos at Oak Ridge High School in El Dorado Hills, Calif. ATSDR representatives will be available to talk with residents one-to-one on Aug. 17, 2004, from 1:00-3:00 p.m. and 5:00-8:00 p.m. at the Cameron Park Library, 2500 Country Club Drive, Cameron Park, Calif.

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