Further Evidence for Fiber Width as a Determinant of Mesothelioma Induction and Threshold Anthophyllite,Bolivian Crocidolite, and Cape Crocidolite

Publication Information:

Ilgren, E., D. Van Orden, R. J. Lee, Y. Kamiya and J. Hoskins, “Further Evidence for Fiber Width as a Determinant of Mesothelioma Induction and Threshold Anthophyllite, Bolivian Crocidolite, and Cape Crocidolite”, Annals of Respiratory Medicine, 2012, Review Article.

Year: 2012

Crocidolite is a well-known causative agent for mesothelioma. However, studies have shown that the pathogenicity of the fiber from different mines varies considerably and it has been postulated the parameter that appears most likely to account for this variation is fiber width although this has never been formally confirmed. To date, crocidolite appears to be the only asbestos mineral for which an epidemiological study comparing the risk of mesothelioma in a population exposed to ‘thin’ fibers with another exposed to ‘thick’ fibers of the same species may be carried out. Finnish anthophyllite, South African amosite, and African Transvaal crocidolite can also be classified as thick fibers, and there is a paucity of mesotheliomas in populations exposed to them compared to those exposed to thin Cape crocidolite. No thin occurrences of these minerals are known.

Our previous study looked at crocidolite from several sources. The present study considers the amphibole anthophyllite found in many places in the world. This mineral, regardless of source, does not show the same variation in fiber width found with crocidolite from different areas. All anthophyllite fibers that have been mined may be classified as thick and populations exposed show very low levels of mesothelioma. We suggest the most likely explanation is related to the fiber width distribution and a concomitant reduction in the ‘Stanton fiber size’ fraction.

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