A survey of the health problems associated with the production and use of high density chrysotile products

The last 20 years or so have seen enormous advances in our knowledge and understanding of asbestos-related disease. Unfortunately, governments and regulatory agencies have largely ignored the findings. Lawyers and pressure groups vigorously resist them.

Health and safety records for workers in the chrysotile industry have been kept for perhaps only the last 60 years. They show few health problems among those involved in the manufacture and use of these products even in the early days when there was little attempt at dust suppression.

This has been borne out by every health study of chrysotile cement or friction product workers that has ever been carried out. Concerns about the use of chrysotile in such products have been raised by those who have used health statistics from other forms of asbestos or from mixed fibre exposures or who have failed to understand the confounding role of smoking in the epidemiology. The concerns have been compounded through reliance on questionable mathematical models, rather than actual worker health data. It is relevant at this point to note that no such risk models have been used to calculate worker health risks from the use of substitute fibres in these products.