Chrysotile Factsheet

This article is reproduced from the European Asbestos Forum website.

The foundation aims to improve international relations and knowledge regarding all matters related to health and safety, asbestos in particular. The foundation was founded in 2014 by Yvonne Waterman Ph.D. LL.M., who serves as its President

The following facts, kindly provided by Dr. Richard Lemen, as stated and signed by him and other leading specialists (see below) represent knowledge concerning chrysotile asbestos, the only form of asbestos currently marketed.


“Throughout the last thirty years, scientific organisations and governmental agencies have thoroughly and meticulously reviewed extensive published data on asbestos and have concluded that all of its commercially viable fibre types (including amosite, anthophyllite, actinolite, chrysotile, crocidolite, and tremolite) cause disease and death resulting from asbestosis, lung cancer, mesothelioma and cancers of the larynx and ovary.

There has not been identified any safe level of exposure to any form of asbestos; i.e. no threshold value below which all individuals would be risk-free of contracting an asbestos-related disease.

Therefore, we support the immediate prohibition of the use of any form of asbestos-containing products, including those containing chrysotile, and call for their complete elimination.”

Fact 1 For the past two decades, chrysotile has been the only commercially mined form of asbestos being mass marketed. It has constituted over 95% of all asbestos marketed over the past century. The latest data show global use of chrysotile is around 2 million metric tons per year (USGS, 2013).

Fact 2 Chrysotile is frequently found contaminated with amphibole forms of asbestos, most commonly tremolite (IARC, 2012). However, the UICC Canadian chrysotile, which has been shown capable of causing disease, has not been found to contain tremolite (Frank et al., 1998).

Fact 3 Chrysotile has been shown to cause asbestosis, lung cancer, mesothelioma and cancers of the larynx and ovary (IPCS, 1998; WTO, 2001; IARC, 2012; WHO, 2014; Collegium Ramazzini, 2015).

Fact 4 Latest data show the global burden of asbestos-related cancers estimated to be 194,000 deaths per year in 2013, up from 94,000 in 1990 (an increase of over 100%) with a disability-adjusted life-years (DALYs) burden of 3,402,000 – up 94% from 1990 and accounting for nearly two-thirds of the burden from all occupational carcinogens (GBD, 2015).

Fact 5 Currently, at least 55 countries have banned the use of all forms of asbestos (IBAS, 2015).