Posted on February 7, 2023

After nearly 20 years of receiving common questions, ADAO has collected facts from governments agencies to answer some frequently asked questions about asbestos exposure and cancer risk.

Top Ten Facts about Asbestos Exposure and Cancer Risk

  1. Asbestos is the name given to six minerals that occur naturally in the environment. 
  2. Asbestos,  chrysotile, actinolite, tremolite, anthophyllite, crocidolite, and amosite have been classified as a known human carcinogen (a substance that causes cancer) by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC).
  3. There is sufficient evidence that asbestos causes mesothelioma (a cancer of the thin membranes that line the chest and abdomen), and cancers of the lung, larynx, and ovary. 
  4. The latency period from initial asbestos exposure to a mesothelioma diagnosis ranges from 10 – 50 years. 
  5. Asbestos has not been banned in the United States.
  6. Each year over 40,000 Americans die from preventable asbestos-caused cancers and pleural diseases. 
  7. The last U.S. asbestos mine closed in 2005.
  8. There is no safe or controlled use of asbestos. 
  9. Asbestos was widely used in  the building and construction, shipbuilding, and automotive industries. Asbestos can also be found in consumer products and  asbestos-contaminated vermiculite.
  10.  In 2022, more than 300 metric tons of asbestos was imported for three companies, Olin, OxyChem, and Westlake Corporations, use asbestos diaphragms in eight of their chlor-alkali plants in Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, and Texas.

Linda Reinstein
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