Serpentine asbestos, also sometimes called “white asbestos,” is a subtype of asbestos that forms in unique patterns. There is only one mineral in the serpentine asbestos family: chrysotile.
In addition to the serpentine asbestos family, there is also the amphibole asbestos family. Amphibole asbestos includes the minerals actinolite, amosite, anthophyllite, crocidolite, and tremolite. The difference between amphibole asbestos and serpentine asbestos is that amphibole asbestos fibers are thin and needle-like while serpentine asbestos forms in whorling patterns.
Chrysotile, like other types of asbestos, is a material that has high tensile strength, resists heat, and prevents corrosion. While chrysotile is the only type of serpentine asbestos, it accounts for over 90% of all asbestos used for manufacturing.
Serpentine asbestos has been utilized in many products including:
Chrysotile is generally used as a binding material and is also found in products like linoleum.
Serpentine asbestos, like most forms of asbestos, saw the most mining and usage after World War II until the 1970s. While serpentine asbestos was found very useful, there were also some health concerns.
In the late 20th century, at the peak of asbestos’ popularity, health concerns were raised about the safety of serpentine and amphibole asbestos. While the material can be useful for industry, construction, or manufacturing, people who ingest serpentine asbestos can suffer severe health complications, leading to the classification of serpentine asbestos as a carcinogen.
As a consequence of being the most common form of mineral asbestos used in the U.S., serpentine asbestos exposure is also the leading cause of asbestos-related diseases. Serpentine asbestos exposure can lead to a number of complications including asbestos pleural diseases, fibrosis, asbestosis, or even the rare cancer mesothelioma.
Mesothelioma is an aggressive cancer that develops in the mesothelium and is caused by the presence of asbestos in the body. Mesothelioma can occur in the lungs, known as pleural mesothelioma, or in the abdomen, called peritoneal mesothelioma.
Even if someone is only exposed to serpentine asbestos once, the extended latency period of these diseases can result in symptoms taking decades to present. This is because once the serpentine asbestos is ingested, the body cannot dispose of it, causing the mineral to repeatedly irritate and damage the tissue of the body until cancer occurs.
Since serpentine asbestos is an extremely common construction material in older buildings, there are a number of possible exposures from workers to residents of older buildings. Once someone is aware of the presence of serpentine asbestos, the best course of action is to pursue asbestos abatement to safely remove the presence of asbestos from the facility. For those who have been exposed, once abatement has occurred there is one more option: litigation. By pursuing litigation, an individual exposed to asbestos may be able to recover damages to cover the costs of abatement or medical treatment.
If you have been exposed to serpentine 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.