Inconvenient truths

Low cancer risk

People face little risk of developing cancer from working with chrysotile if they stick to international safety rules.

A series of scientific studies found no evidence of a link between exposure to the substance and the disease.

However, people working with other traditional forms of asbestos are five times more likely to contract lung cancer than the rest of the population – including chrysotile workers.

While workers in the UK, where blue and brown asbestos was historically used in construction projects, had an increase risk of lung cancer, the research said.

In Central and Eastern Europe where chrysotile was the fire retardant material of choice, it did “not appear to contribute to the lung cancer burden”.

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