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Dirty Little Secret

Asbestos laces many residential soils

It was the mid-1980s, and Terry Trent and his wife, Carol Adams, had broken ground for their dream home. Atop a hill east of Sacramento, Calif., the remote, 10-acre site in the Sierra foothills offered plenty of privacy. As the couple eventually learned, it offered plenty of something else as well: a nasty type of asbestos known as tremolite. Respiratory exposure to this mineral has been linked with mesothelioma, a lung cancer that quickly turns fatal.

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