Chrysotile Asbestos and Its Connection to Mesothelioma - Advice from a Railroad Mesothelioma Lawyer | Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp

Mesothelioma is an incurable form of cancer that, unfortunately, many railroad workers may wind up suffering from due to their exposure to dangerous substances like chrysotile asbestos. In fact, the highest rate of deaths related to mesothelioma exposure was former railroad workers exposed to chrysotile. The American Cancer Society did a study where they found 14 mesothelioma-related deaths among a total of 181 railroad workers. In contrast, the study reviewed 31,665 cancer-related deaths in the general population and only 3 people passed away due to mesothelioma. There are even reported cases where chrysotile is the only substance that a mesothelioma victim was exposed to while working for a railroad. The study determined that there was “a very high relative risk for those exposed to chrysotile asbestos in the development of mesothelioma . . .”

{Click here to read about a mesothelioma cancer victim’s jury award}

What Exactly Is Asbestos?

Asbestos is part of a fibrous rock that was used in various insulation products, including various instruments and cab engines utilized by big railroad companies like CSX and Norfolk Southern. There are two main asbestos fiber types:  serpentines and amphiboles. Serpentines are the only type where chrysotile is commercially used. Amphiboles include the commercial fiber types amosite, crocidolite, and tremolite.

For more information on Railroad Mesothelioma Cancer:

Why is Asbestos Exposure So Dangerous?

Railroad workers who breathe in asbestos fibers have been shown to develop mesothelioma, the aforementioned fatal cancer which develops in the lining of the worker’s lung or abdomen. Numerous studies have concluded that the cause of mesothelioma in humans is asbestos exposure. Furthermore, government studies concluded that all of the types of asbestos fibers, including chrysotile, can cause mesothelioma in railroad workers. These agencies include International Agency for Research on Cancer, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (i.e. OSHA).

Is There Any Safe Level of Exposure to Asbestos?

No. Scientific studies have repeatedly shown that there is no safe level of asbestos exposure. All types of asbestos, including chrysotile, can cause mesothelioma. Even if a railroad worker only has a history of brief, or low-level, exposure to asbestos can be sufficient for mesothelioma to be considered occupationally related. Some people have argued that chrysotile asbestos is “less potent” than other types of asbestos, but that argument doesn’t hold water when compared to the vast array of studies showing that exposure to any type of asbestos is extremely hazardous.

Unfortunately, chrysotile asbestos continues to be used in many countries. This means that more workers will continues to develop mesothelioma. Even worse, mesothelioma doesn’t appear immediately after exposure. The asbestos fibers can stay lodged in your lungs or abdomen for decades and you may not develop mesothelioma until after you or your loved one retired from the railroad industry.  

What To Do If You or a Loved One Was Diagnosed with Mesothelioma After Working for a Railroad

Speak with an experienced railroad mesothelioma lawyer. Our team of railroad mesothelioma attorneys have handled numerous mesothelioma cases and we know the tricks and tactics utilized by the railroad industry to delay and drag out legitimate claims filed under the Federal Employers Liability Act. For example, my firm represented two former railroad employees who worked as conductors and switchmen for more than two decades. Both were diagnosed with mesothelioma.

The railroad that they worked for argued that it had no asbestos in any of the products that our clients would have “normally” been exposed to. However, we retained key experts in the field of industrial hygiene who reviewed many internal railroad documents and invoices and concluded that the workers were clearly exposed to asbestos in their work activities.

 Both clients, sadly, passed away before their cases were finally resolved. On a bright note, we were able to secure sizable settlements so their surviving family members were taken care of. Review the case result here: