Crocidolite asbestos is considered one of the most dangerous types of asbestos and may be responsible for more cancer-related deaths than any other types of the mineral. Due to its extremely fine and sharp fibers, hazardous crocidolite asbestos particles can be easily lodged in the lungs or abdomen, which may eventually cause mesothelioma or other asbestos diseases.
The toxic mineral can be found all over the United States within public buildings and structures, or manufactured into various products and materials. Throughout the 1900s, asbestos was widely used in construction projects, automobile manufacturing and much more for its durable and heat resistant properties.
It wasn’t until the late 1980s when the health risks of asbestos exposure were taken seriously. Experts revealed that any amount of exposure to asbestos is considered unsafe, and regulatory agencies began placing limits on amounts of asbestos permitted for import and restrictions on who was qualified to handle the toxic asbestos. This also applied to crocidolite asbestos.
Although currently governing agencies are heavily regulating the use and import of asbestos, it does not mean that the long-lasting effects of asbestos have been eliminated.
Delayed Development of Mesothelioma
Because crocidolite asbestos fibers are nearly invisible and razor-sharp, it’s considered by some to be the most deadly type of the mineral and may be responsible for more mesothelioma cases than originally thought. Asbestos causes mesothelioma when dust – containing microscopic fibers of asbestos – is inhaled (through the nose) or ingested (through the mouth).
The tiny asbestos fibers often become stuck in the chest or abdominal cavity. While someone may have no idea they’ve ingested toxic asbestos particles, the microscopic fibers make their way to the chest or abdomen without making their presence known for decades.
Mesothelioma is a rare cancer of the lungs (pleural mesothelioma) or abdominal cavity (peritoneal mesothelioma) and can remain dormant for up to 70 years after asbestos fibers enter your body. Most patients start experiencing symptoms 20-50 years after asbestos exposure.
Common mesothelioma symptoms include shortness of breath, chest or abdominal pain, persistent coughing, fluid buildup in the lungs or abdomen, weight loss, fatigue and more. Symptoms are similar to pneumonia, asthma and the flu but can turn far more severe.
What Is Crocidolite Asbestos?
Asbestos is a timeworn mineral treasured for its heat-resistant and durable properties. The mineral made its debut on the market in the early 19th century, rapidly making its way around the world. During the 20th century, and especially around the time of World War II, the import and use of asbestos peaked as industrial America expanded, neglecting to learn the facts about the new mineral. As scientists and regulatory agencies began to study asbestos, it was revealed that the durable mineral was much more dangerous than first suspected.
Asbestos falls into two mineral families: amphibole and serpentine, which are further sectioned into subtypes. Amphibole asbestos minerals make up the majority of asbestos subtypes, including crocidolite.
The crocidolite form of asbestos, scientifically referred to as riebeckite, is a basic sodium iron silicate, often with some magnesium with a chemical composition of Na2Fe3Fe2[(OH)Si4O11]2.
Crocidolite asbestos is also called “blue asbestos” due to its physical appearance. The blue asbestos usually forms from altered metamorphic rocks, causing the mineral to be extremely fibrous with descriptions as brittle and elastic. The size and sharpness of the crocidolite fibers make it very easy to inhale or ingest, likely leading to a deadly mesothelioma diagnosis.
This type of asbestos was not incorporated into as many materials and structures as its counterparts, but is still considered among the three types used on a large industrial scale. There have been traces of crocidolite asbestos found in certain formulas of cement, some tiles and insulation components – even in a brand of cigarettes.
Crocidolite Asbestos in Kent Cigarettes
Many types of asbestos were used throughout various industries, mostly in building materials and structures. Crocidolite asbestos was incorporated into similar products, but there is evidence proving that the toxic mineral was included in a certain brand of cigarettes.
According to an article published by the American Association for Cancer Research, the original version of the Kent Micronite cigarette filter contained crocidolite asbestos from 1952 until 1956. A study conducted by experts examined cigarettes from brand new, unopened packs produced and distributed by Kent.
The study reported finding approximately 10 milligrams of crocidolite asbestos in one cigarette filter. Crocidolite fibers were detected in the mainstream smoke from the first two puffs of each cigarette. At these reported rates of asbestos, anyone smoking a pack of Kent Micronite cigarettes a day would inhale more than 131 million crocidolite fibers longer than 5 micrometers in one year.
These findings are quite alarming, especially the amount of asbestos estimated to enter the body over the course of one year. Fortunately, these cigarettes are no longer on the market; however, consumers purchasing these cigarettes during their time on the market are not safe from mesothelioma or asbestos diseases.
Unfortunately, mesothelioma can take up 20-70 years to develop. Once diagnosed, patients do not typically have a hopeful long-term life expectancy. As the article stated, the cigarettes contained asbestos until 1956, which means most consumers have most likely been diagnosed with or killed by an asbestos disease, like mesothelioma, or their body expunged the fibers before they could cause cancer. It’s extremely important to be aware of where asbestos is hiding to protect yourself but also know your options if you are exposed.
Occupational Exposure to Blue Asbestos
Originating from mines in South Africa, Bolivia and Australia, crocidolite asbestos was heavily used throughout these countries.
The first report of a possible link between occupational asbestos exposure and mesothelioma was in 1960 by South African-born pathologist, J. Christopher Wagner. He reported an outbreak of mesothelioma in a crocodile asbestos mining region of South Africa. The majority of reported mesothelioma cases were results of occupational asbestos exposure but some had never worked in or near the mines, yet still developed mesothelioma.
This discovery basically ended the asbestos mining spree in South Africa and helped launch the scrutiny of asbestos in America.
Learn More About Crocidolite Asbestos and Mesothelioma
Learning about the dangers of asbestos and where it could be lurking is crucial to protecting yourself and others from the extreme health risks of this cancer-causing mineral. Although crocidolite is not found in as many places as other types of asbestos, the toxic mineral still has the potential to cause mesothelioma.
If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, connect with one of our knowledgeable patient advocates to help locate a mesothelioma specialist near you or our experienced mesothelioma lawyers for guidance through your mesothelioma diagnosis or mesothelioma lawsuit. Most importantly, our MesotheliomaGuide team can explain more about where crocidolite asbestos exists in the United States and some of your jobs, residencies or other locations where you may have been exposed.
Frequently Asked Questions About Crocidolite Asbestos
- What is blue asbestos?
- When is asbestos most dangerous?
- When was asbestos discovered to be harmful?
Blue asbestos refers to the asbestos subtype crocidolite. The blue asbestos usually forms from metamorphic rocks, causing the mineral to be extremely fibrous. Some describe crocidolite asbestos as brittle and elastic, which also means it is extremely dangerous.
Asbestos is most dangerous when disturbed. For example, asbestos was used to build your home’s roof in the 1970s, and your home is now in need of a new roof. Removing any roof shingles could disturb the asbestos hiding within and send sharp, toxic fibers into the air. Inhaling or ingesting asbestos in any capacity can lead to serious health problems, such as deadly mesothelioma.
There are differing reports on the specific date asbestos was discovered to be harmful. There are multiple reports of illnesses among asbestos workers throughout the early 20th century. Ultimately, asbestos was not officially ruled as harmful until the 1980s when the EPA began implementing strict environmental and public safety asbestos regulations.
- Study on the thermal decomposition of crocidolite asbestos. SpringerLink. Retrieved from: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10973-015-4421-7. Accessed: 06/30/22
- Types of Asbestos That Can Cause Asbestos Diseases. Abramson Cancer Center. Retrieved from: https://www.pennmedicine.org/cancer/types-of-cancer/mesothelioma/asbestos-cancer/types-of-asbestos#:~:text=Crocidolite%20asbestos%2C%20also%20known%20as,are%20particularly%20easy%20to%20inhale.. Accessed: 06/30/22
- Crocidolite Asbestos Fibers in Smoke from Original Kent Cigarettes. American Association of Cancer Research. Retrieved from: https://aacrjournals.org/cancerres/article/55/11/2232/467374/Crocidolite-Asbestos-Fibers-in-Smoke-from-Original. Accessed: 07/05/22
- Crocidolite. Britannica. Retrieved from: https://www.britannica.com/science/crocidolite. Accessed: 07/05/22
- Asbestos (Chrysotile, Amosite, Crocidolite, Tremolite, Actinolite and Anthophyllite). National Library of Medicine. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK304374/. Accessed: 07/06/22
- The Mineral Riebeckite. Minerals.net. Retrieved from: https://www.minerals.net/mineral/riebeckite.aspx. Accessed: 07/06/22
Sources & Author
Sources & Author