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Pneumologie. 2018 Jul;72(7):507-513. doi: 10.1055/s-0044-102169. Epub 2018 May 18.

Misleading "New Insights into the Chrysotile Debate".

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Emeritus, Institut und Poliklinik für Arbeits- und Sozialmedizin, Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen (JLU).
Universitätsklinikum Hamburg-Eppendorf, ehem. Lehrstuhl Arbeitsmedizin; European Society for Environmental and Occupational Medicine (EOM Society); Berlin, Germany.


in English, German

Although there is no dispute among independent scientists about the carcinogenic and fibrogenic effects of chrysotile, the asbestos industry has been continuously and successfully acting to cast doubts on its harm. Another approach including asbestos insurance entities is to refuse compensation by raising the bar and fight criminal prosecution for asbestos-related diseases by the help of paid scientists. A recent publication on asbestos fibre burden in human lungs fits well in this context. The claim that chrysotile fibres are biopersistent in human lung is not based on the data provided by these authors, and, additionally, exhibits serious inconsistencies and obvious mismeasurements and significant methodological problems. The conclusion of the authors that fibre analysis of workers' lungs "is of high significance for differential diagnosis, risk assessment and occupational compensation" is unfounded and reprehensible. Also the available literature, the statements of the WHO, IARC, other decisive independent international organizations, and all our experience provide abundant evidence to the contrary. Note, the method is generally restricted to research only and is not recognized for diagnostic purpose and compensation in any other country. In conclusion, fibre counting in lung tissues should not be used to estimate former exposure to chrysotile comprising c. 94 % of applied asbestos in Germany. The authors claim that the analyses can improve the compensation rates in Germany. However, the opposite has been the case; it significantly worsens the non-justified denial of well-substantiated compensation claims.


Conflict of interest statement

During recent 3 years, H-JW and XB have testified in ligitation, XB also on behalf of statutory insurance institutions.

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