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Chrysotile proven to be far less hazardous
Conclusive results from a study by international scientists



International Chrysotile Association


Press Release

For immediate release




Chrysotile proven to be far less hazardous

Conclusive results from a study by international scientists


August 5, 2005.  To demonstrate, proof in hand, that chrysotile can be used safely and responsibly, the ICA released the results of studies by teams of leading international specialists several months ago.  According to these numerous studies’ results, chrysotile fibres are far less hazardous than amphibole fibres, whose widespread use in the 1930s and 40s has caused serious health problems in workers exposed to them.


The focus of the biopersistence of chrysotile is a key parameter in determining the specific hazards associated with a fibre, and to compare different fibres with respect to this variable.  Biopersistence is the measurement of the rate at which fibres are eliminated from the lungs.  In 2001, it was confirmed as a crucial parameter by a task force of 19 experts from 11 countries reporting to the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC-WHO) and incorporated by the European Union into its evaluation protocol. According to the concept of biopersistence, if a fibre rapidly dissolves and disappears from the lungs, it does not have a carcinogenic effect.


It has been known for many years, thanks to epidemiological studies, that chrysotile fibres are less hazardous to health than amphibole fibres.  These new studies on biopersistence not only confirm these results, but also provide us with powerful support for this argument. The biopersistence shows that chrysotile compare favorably with replacement fibres, such as some celluloses, whose biopersistence has been evaluated at 1,000 days, aramid fibres 90 days, Refractory Ceramic Fibres 60 days, amosite 466 days and chrysotile less than 16 days.


Recent quantitative reviews which analyzed the data of available epidemiological studies to determine potency of asbestos for causing lung cancer and mesothelioma in relation to fibre type also differentiated between chrysotile and amphibole asbestos. 


With chrysotile asbestos, it is possible that humans can develop lung cancer when the exposure is very high and sustained for long periods.  The weight of evidence suggests that low exposure pure chrysotile is probably not hazardous.  It also suggests that the hazard many be low if even high exposures were of short duration.


Taken in context with the scientific literature available to date, these data provide the world with robust results that clearly supports the difference seen epidemiologically between chrysotile and amphibole asbestos fibres.


ICA wishes to state its concern regarding the fact that too often the word “asbestos” is used indiscriminately, without further specification or clarification.  This results in incomplete and less than factual information.  The general public is ill-served when given incorrect or misleading information.  This unfortunate fact must be addressed by all concerned, including the media.







International Chrysotile Association

PMB 114, 1235 Jefferson Davis Hwy

Arlington, VA 22202, USA

Tel: (514)861-1153, Fax: (514) 861-1152