Amphibole asbestos is a subtype of asbestos belonging to the amphibole family; a mineral supergroup made up of over 100 rock-forming minerals called silicates. Amphibole asbestos is most notoriously identified as a mineral that has allegedly been found in talc products, leading to accusations that these contaminated products caused cancer in victims.
Amphibole minerals are characterized by two traits: having perfect lines of separation, called cleavage by geologists, and fracturing in a splinter-like pattern. In addition, amphibole minerals can range in colors. Most amphibole minerals are dark green, brown, or black, but an amphibole mineral can be white or even colorless.
Amphibole minerals most often form in igneous or metamorphic rock as dark, elongated grains and crystals embedded in the surrounding rock. Amphibole minerals are considered to be a highly complex group, and there is a wide variety in the type of mineral that qualifies as amphibole. The amphibole asbestos subtype includes five minerals:
In the case of crocidolite and amosite, they are more fibrous variants of other naturally occurring minerals. Crocidolite is a variant of riebeckite, and amosite is a more fibrous version of grunerite. Amphibole asbestos can be smaller than the human eye can detect. In this state, problems can arise.
Amphibole asbestos has come into focus for a variety of personal injury lawsuits. Most famously, amphibole asbestos has been associated with litigation surrounding contaminated talcum powder.
In brief, because amphibole asbestos and talc form in similar places under similar conditions, there can be subtle cross contamination. This results in amphibole asbestos being found in cosmetics.
Amphibole asbestos can be extremely difficult to detect. According to epidemiological studies and experimental animal studies, fibers longer than 5 micrometers can cause cancer. This makes the asbestos small enough to potentially be suspended in the air, and can lead to a large amount of small asbestos particles being found in the lungs of victims.
One of the only consistent ways to identify amphibole asbestos in a lawsuit is to take a sample of the substance that allegedly contains the asbestos and subject it to analysis under a transmission electron microscope. Unfortunately, the use of a transmission electron microscope is complex, difficult, and expensive.
When it comes to what objects or substances may contain amphibole asbestos, it depends on which kind of amphibole asbestos the victim has been exposed to.
Actinolite has been used in cement, insulation, paints, sealants, and drywall. This means that if these surfaces are disturbed, actinolite particles can be tossed into the air to be inhaled by the victim. Individuals who have worked in a factory or facility that produces these objects may be exposed to actinolite for years or even decades just by breathing in their workplace.
Similarly, amosite asbestos accounts for 5% of all asbestos material in the U.S. and is found in a variety of construction materials including cement, chemical insulation, electrical insulation, gaskets, roofing shingles, fire protection, or tiles. By contrast, anthophyllite is only found in some cement or insulation materials.
Crocidolite is not as commonly found in materials since it is not as heat resistant. It does still occur in cement, insulation, or tiles.
The most notorious of the amphibole asbestos types, tremolite is found in common materials, structures, paints, sealants, roofing, and plumbing materials. However, termolite is currently most notorious for its discovery in the cosmetic talc products of Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder.
If you have been exposed to amphibole asbestos and have developed any cancers, including mesothelioma, you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit to recover the costs of medical expenses, pain, suffering, or lost wages. In order to file and prevail in your personal injury lawsuit you will need the help of an experienced Personal Injury Attorney.
With their legal expertise, trial tactics, and expert witnesses, your Personal Injury attorney will be able to zealously advocate for you in order to achieve the best possible outcome for your case. Additionally, since Personal Injury attorneys work on contingency, if you don’t win, you don’t pay.