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International Trade Unions Movement "For Chrysotile": Groundbreaking Scientific Study Proves Chrysotile Asbestos is not a Cause of Disease

MOSCOW, October 11, 2017 /PRNewswire/ --

Spanish scientists conducted the first population study of asbestos content in samples of lung tissue undertaken in Spain. The results confirmed the safety of chrysotile (white asbestos). 

The First Identification of Pulmonary Asbestos Fibres in a Spanish Population study was published in August 2017 in LUNG journal (Springer US publishing company)[1]. Authors of the publication: M.I. Velasco-García, M.J. Cruz, C. Diego, M.A. Montero, D. Álvarez-Simón, J. Ferrer.

Lung samples of 38 subjects were studied. Group A included five subjects without known respiratory disease; Group B - 20 shipyard workers (members of this group had long-term contact with different types of asbestos); and Group C - 13 patients with lung cancer.

International Alliance of Trade Union Organizations "Chrysotile" represents the interests of hundreds of thousands of workers and local communities around the world and insists that the safe use of the chrysotile is possible and justified by existing practice and scientific data.

Lung samples were taken from all the participants in the study, and then were analyzed using a scanning electron microscope and energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy. An important study result is confirmation of the fact that, in contrast with amphibole-class asbestos, fibers of chrysotile (a mineral traditionally used in Eastern European and CIS countries), even in cases of entering the lungs, are freely eliminated without any negative effects.

As noted by the team of researchers headed by Dr. M.I. Velasco Garcia from the Department of Pulmonology at the University Hospital of Vall d'Hebron after analyzing the results of the study, "a particularly striking finding is the exclusive retention of amphiboles, which suggests that chrysotile is eliminated after inhalation." The researchers claim that their discovery is consistent with the published data on overwhelming prevalence of amphibole fibers in the lungs of patients with mesothelioma, despite the fact that the most commonly used type of asbestos is chrysotile.

The data suggesting that there is no association between chrysotile and the risk of lung diseases has already been published in the scientific literature, and throughout the recent years such evidence is becoming more and more significant.  

The study by the Spanish scientists is consistent with the other similar results of the well-known British scientists who conducted their study in 2016 under the title Pleural mesothelioma and lung cancer risks in relation to occupational history and asbestos lung burden, published in Occupational & Environmental Medicine journal.[2] Authors: Clare Gilham, Christine Rake, Garry Burdett, Andrew G Nicholson, Leslie Davison, Angelo Franchini, James Carpenter, John Hodgson, Andrew Darnton, Julian Peto.

The findings of this recent study largely repeat the results of the study conducted in Spain: in lung samples of 133 and 266 patients who died from mesothelioma and lung cancer, respectively, only amphibole asbestos types (crocidolite and amosite) were found in 98% of cases.

The authors emphasize that since 1954 until the time of the complete ban of asbestos, Britain imported five million tons of asbestos, including 89% of chrysotile, 9% of amosite and 2% of crocidolite. The study shows that, despite the rare use of amphibole, this particular asbestos type accounts for the most of the asbestos-related morbidity cases in the UK.

The authors emphasize: "The rapid clearance of chrysotile from the lungs with a half-life of 3 months explains its virtual absence in our samples and implies that we cannot estimate its effects...".

Therefore, this up-to-date publication has a serious impact on the perception of harmfulness of different types of asbestos and can change attitudes towards chrysotile and assist the reassessment of chrysotile regulation in a number of countries where it was banned on the basis of incorrect science data.

Useful links: 

Website of the International Trade Union Movement for Chrysotile:

Twitter of the Chrysotile Association Non-Profit Organization



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Source : PR Newswire


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