Journal of Applied Toxicology 2016 July 11 [Epub ahead of print] [Link]
Gaffney SH, Grespin M, Garnick L, Drechsel DA, Hazan R, Paustenbach DJ, Simmons BD
Anthophyllite is an amphibole form of asbestos historically used in only a limited number of products. No published resource currently exists that offers a complete overview of anthophyllite toxicity or of its effects on exposed human populations. We performed a review focusing on how anthophyllite toxicity was understood over time by conducting a comprehensive search of publicly available documents that discussed the use, mining, properties, toxicity, exposure and potential health effects of anthophyllite. Over 200 documents were identified; 114 contained relevant and useful information which we present chronologically in this assessment. Our analysis confirms that anthophyllite toxicity has not been well studied compared to other asbestos types. We found that toxicology studies in animals from the 1970s onward have indicated that, at sufficient doses, anthophyllite can cause asbestosis, lung cancer and mesothelioma. Studies of Finnish anthophyllite miners, conducted in the 1970s, found an increased incidence of asbestosis and lung cancer, but not mesothelioma. Not until the mid-1990s was an epidemiological link with mesothelioma in humans observed. Its presence in talc has been of recent significance in relation to potential asbestos exposure through the use of talc-containing products. Characterizing the health risks of anthophyllite is difficult, and distinguishing between its asbestiform and non-asbestiform mineral form is essential from both a toxicological and regulatory perspective. Anthophyllite toxicity has generally been assumed to be similar to other amphiboles from a regulatory standpoint, but some notable exceptions exist. In order to reach a more clear understanding of anthophyllite toxicity, significant additional study is needed.