How conflicted authors undermine the World Health Organization (WHO) campaign to stop all use of asbestos

Spotlight on studies showing that chrysotile is carcinogenic and facilitates other non-cancer asbestos-related diseases

X Baur, Colin SOSKOLNE, R Lemen, J Schneider, H Woitowitz, L Budnik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

14 Citations (Scopus)


The silicate mineral asbestos is categorized into two main groups based on fiber structure: serpentine asbestos (chrysotile) and amphibole asbestos (crocidolite, amosite, anthophyllite, tremolite, and actinolite). Chrysotile is used in more than 2 000 applications and is especially prevalent in the construction industry. Although its use is banned or restricted in more than 52 countries, an estimated 107 000 workers die from asbestos exposure each year, and approximately 125 million workers continue to be exposed. Furthermore, ambient exposures persist to which the public is exposed, globally. Today, the primary controversies regarding the use of asbestos are the potencies of different types of asbestos, as opposed whether or not asbestos causes morbidity and mortality. The asbestos industry has promoted and funded research based on selected literature, ignoring both clinical and scientific knowledge. In this piece, we highlight a prominent example of a conflicted publication that sought to undermine the World Health Organization (WHO) campaign to stop the use of all forms of asbestos, including chrysotile asbestos. Independent and rigorous scientific data provide sufficient evidence that chrysotile asbestos, like other forms of asbestos, is a cause of asbestos-related morbidity and premature mortality.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)176-179
Number of pages4
JournalInternational Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2015


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