Although not present in consumer or industrial products in the U.S., tremolite asbestos would occasionally contaminate talc, vermiculite, as well as chrysotile asbestos. While the color of fibers usually ranges from white to green, this type of asbestos can also be translucent. Every year, approximately 40,000 tons of tremolite asbestos is mined in India. The mineral is high in magnesium and iron and, similarly to crocidolite asbestos, its fibers are not very flexible. For this reason, tremolite asbestos was not suitable for industrial processing or manufacturing.
Due to its low prevalence, this mineral has not been examined by researchers as often as chrysotile asbestos. Nonetheless, preliminary studies suggest that exposure to tremolite asbestos may cause autoimmune diseases such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis or psoriasis, which will precede the onset of mesothelioma. As there is not sufficient evidence yet, we cannot be certain whether these conditions are indeed warning signs of mesothelioma in this case.
The Most Common Uses of Tremolite Asbestos
Since it was never employed by itself, tremolite asbestos may be found only as a contaminant in various old building materials and consumer products, including:
- insulating products
- talcum powder
- roofing materials
- potting soil
- attic insulation
- soil additives or substitutes
Nowadays, tremolite asbestos is neither involved in the manufacturing of any consumer product, nor is it present as an ingredient in building materials. However, as tremolite and talc deposits are in close proximity of each other in the earth, this toxic mineral might still contaminate talcum powder. Even though such cases are very rare, it is always better to be safe than sorry and make sure the talcum powder you purchase, as well as any other makeup or personal hygiene product containing talc, is asbestos-free.
Medical studies have been suggesting a correlation between asbestos exposure and ovarian cancer ever since the early 1980s. A significant portion of the women who developed this disease had been regularly using asbestos-tainted talcum powder, which is most likely what led to the development of ovarian cancer. If you cannot be certain whether a product is asbestos-free, there are plenty of alternatives to talcum powder you can try instead, such as cornstarch or talc-free commercial products.