Policies aimed at regulating asbestos should target both pure chrysotile and mixtures that include amphibole, a team of researchers said in the conclusion of a case-controlled study on asbestos exposure published in the BMJ Journal: Occupational & Environmental Medicine.

mesothelioma Asbestos policies should include mixtures containing amphiboleAsbestos is a known carcinogen made of up microscopic fibers. Because the mineral is both durable and fire-resistant, it was widely used around the world in construction and building materials like insulation as well as friction products like brakes. In recent decades, as the dangers of asbestos exposure became apparent, more than 50 countries have banned the import and use of asbestos. The United States simply restricted its use.

Asbestos is the name given to six naturally occurring silicate materials, which include serpentine (or Chrysotile), riebeckite (crocidolite), cummingtonite-gunerite (amosite), anthophyllite, actinolite, and tremolite.

It is known that asbestos exposure can lead to illnesses including asbestosis, serious lung inflammation and scarring; mesothelioma, a rare form of cancer that develops in the lining of the lungs or abdomen; and other cancers including ovarian cancer. However, it was unknown whether exposure to only chrysotile asbestos is associated with mesothelioma risk or if the risk also applied to other types of asbestos fibers.

Researchers took on this question using next-of-kin data from 580 white male workers in the United States from 1975 to 1980. Asbestos exposure was determined by an occupational hygienist using a job-exposure matrix and exposure categories including chrysotile only and nine chrysotile-amphibole mixtures.

Researchers found that exposure to just long and short chrysotile was associated with increased mesothelioma risk compared with those who were not exposed. However, “the complex mixture of extra-long amosite, short and long chrysotile, tremolite and anthophyllite was associated with the highest risk,” the researchers noted.

Mesothelioma litigation

Beasley Allen lawyers handle mesothelioma claims. They are looking at cases of industrial, occupational and secondary asbestos exposure resulting in lung cancer or mesothelioma as well as claims of asbestos-related talc products linked to mesothelioma. Charlie Stern in our Toxic Torts Section is the lead attorney working on these types of cases. As an experienced mesothelioma lawyer, Charlie is well equipped to tackle asbestos cases, which are highly complicated and require someone with a true understanding of the facts, medical issues, science and law. He is working together with Will Sutton, an experienced lawyer in our Toxic Torts Section. Contact us for more information.

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