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Breaking Down the Chrysotile-Amphibole Defense

When the World Trade Center towers collapsed on 9/11, they contained about 5,000 tons of asbestos. The dust and fibers infected the smoke that blanketed much of lower Manhattan. However, it’s unclear whether this asbestos was chrysotile or amphibole.

Chrysolite (white) asbestos is a substance that resembles several layers of white tissue paper. Workers usually wrap this asbestos around pipes and electrical wires. In contrast, workers apply amphibole (sprayed-on) asbestos to drywall and frames. AT least theoretically, this asbestos is less likely to break up into toxic fibers.

The Chrysotile-Amphibole defense is one of the few remaining legal defenses in asbestos exposure cases. A good nationwide mesothelioma lawyer anticipates this defense and is prepared to refute it.

Chrysotile Asbestos

This substance, which is also known as white asbestos, is a form of serpentine asbestos. Mostly because of its lower direct and indirect costs, chrysotile asbestos accounts for between 80 and 90 percent of industrial-used asbestos.

While asbestos is inexpensive to manufacture, miners pull asbestos out of the ground. Then, manufacturers mix it with a few other substances and press the finished product into sheets. The low cost made chrysotile asbestos especially popular in small and cost-sensitive projects, such as residential dwellings and small or mid-sized commercial buildings.

Chrysotile asbestos is also easy to use. Any worker with two hands and minimal experience can wrap this substance around pipes or electrical wires. Workers also used sheets of chrysotile asbestos to insulate attics.

The finished product resembles several layers of white tissue paper connected to each other by a fibrous paper substance. So, this form of asbestos is extremely delicate. It quickly breaks down, releasing toxic dust and fibers into the air.

One such fiber or dust particle could cause mesothelioma, a rare form of heart-lung cancer, asbestosis, a lung disease, or another serious illness that is usually fatal.

Furthermore, these fibers are so small that the victim does not have to inhale them. They enter the body through skin pores.

Amphibole Asbestos

For all its benefits, chrysotile asbestos is somewhat labor-intensive. So, for large projects, like downtown skyscrapers, builders often used amphibole asbestos. Spray-on asbestos was also commonly used in cost-incentive projects, like government buildings.

Spray-on asbestos is expensive to make. The manufacturer must convert asbestos fibers into a tar-like substance, which is then mixed with other chemicals. The indirect cost is high as well. Construction crews must use expensive storage tanks, pumps, and hoses to apply it.

Amphibole asbestos is much less likely to deteriorate and release airborne toxins. Defendants quickly highlight this fact in court. However, they do not highlight the fact that amphibole asbestos is much more toxic than chrysotile asbestos. So, in effect, the chrysotile-amphibole difference is a zero-sum game.

Usually, nationwide asbestos lawyers pull the pin on this defense as they present their cases. So, if a defendant attempts this defense, the defendant appears to be making excuses.

Work With a Thorough Attorney

Mesothelioma victims need and deserve significant compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced nationwide mesothelioma lawyer, contact the Throneberry Law Group. We routinely handle these matters on a nationwide basis.

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