Review on the adverse health effects of asbestiform antigorite, a non-regulated asbestiform serpentine mineral

Am J Ind Med. 2018 Jul;61(7):625-630. doi: 10.1002/ajim.22857. Epub 2018 May 7.


Background: Although antigorite is generally described as platy, its fibrous (asbestiform) variant is present widespread in serpentinite rocks. In addition to its primarily fibrous occurrence, asbestiform antigorite may also be formed from serpentinite with massive appearance during tunneling and mining. It is not of commercial interest, but exposure may occur in the certain environments.

Methods and results: Detailed studies of the structural features of this antigorite type revealed characteristics closely related to those of chrysotile. Therefore, it is plausible that this serpentine mineral may present a similar health risk for exposed subjects. This is in agreement with results from clinical and animal studies, as well as in vitro experiments showing the cytotoxic, fibrogenic, and carcinogenic potential of antigorite, similar to that of chrysotile and amphibole asbestos.

Conclusions: Current evidence supports a need for an update to existing regulations to include unregulated asbestiform antigorite, similar to regulatory measures taken for asbestos.

Keywords: antigorite; asbestos; asbestosis; fiber analysis; mesothelioma.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Asbestos, Serpentine / adverse effects*
  • Asbestos, Serpentine / chemistry
  • Asbestos, Serpentine / toxicity
  • Asbestosis / epidemiology
  • Asbestosis / etiology*
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / chemically induced*
  • Lung Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Mesothelioma / chemically induced*
  • Mesothelioma / epidemiology
  • Mining*
  • Occupational Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Occupational Exposure / statistics & numerical data


  • Asbestos, Serpentine