Mesothelioma from chrysotile asbestos: update

Ann Epidemiol. 2011 Sep;21(9):688-97. doi: 10.1016/j.annepidem.2011.05.010.


Purpose: There are different mineral classes of asbestos, including serpentines and amphiboles. Chrysotile is the main type of serpentine and by far the most frequently used type of asbestos (about 95% of world production and use). There has been continuing controversy over the capability of chrysotile asbestos to cause pleural and peritoneal mesothelioma. This review is to help clarify the issue by detailing cases and epidemiology studies worldwide where chrysotile is the exclusive or overwhelming fiber exposure.

Methods: A worldwide literature review was conducted of asbestos and associated mesothelioma including case series, case-control and cohort epidemiology studies searching for well documented chrysotile asbestos associated mesothelioma cases.

Results: Chrysotile asbestos exposures have occurred in many countries around the world from mining, manufacturing and community exposures. There have been many documented cases of mesothelioma from those exposures.

Conclusions: Chrysotile asbestos, along with all other types of asbestos, has caused mesothelioma and a world-wide ban of all asbestos is warranted to stop an epidemic of mesothelioma.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Asbestos, Serpentine / adverse effects*
  • Environmental Exposure*
  • Environmental Pollutants / adverse effects*
  • Humans
  • Mesothelioma / chemically induced
  • Mesothelioma / epidemiology*
  • Risk Factors


  • Asbestos, Serpentine
  • Environmental Pollutants