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Erionite and cancer
  
  Index -> Minerals and Mineralogy
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James
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PostPosted: Jun 28, 2017 05:14    Post subject: Erionite and cancer  

Is this a mineral for us to worry about? A member of the zeolite group and it seems to cause mesothelioma cancer.

https://www.aiha.org/publications-and-resources/TheSynergist/AIHANews/Pages/Is-Erionite-the-New-Asbestos.aspx
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Bob Harman




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PostPosted: Jun 28, 2017 05:44    Post subject: Re: Erionite and cancer  

Mesothelioma caused by inhalation of asbestos fibers occurred in workers only after prolonged inhalation of the "right" type and size of the fibers. Smoking enhanced the risk in those folks at risk. Asbestiform mineral specimens can be handled safely by collectors without risk.
Not knowing much about the current mineral you mentioned, I would, never-the-less, think the same situation be present. It is a fibrous mineral and prolonged inhalation of its fibers would seem necessary to cause pulmonary, and other, diseases, BOB
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Peter Lemkin




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PostPosted: Jun 28, 2017 07:39    Post subject: Re: Erionite and cancer  

My training is in Environmental Science and Toxicology. Asbestos and 'asbestos-like' minerals are safe to collect if you use reasonable measures in handling them. Don't break up/off the fibers, don't handle them more than necessary, don't let fibers from them get on anything but paper you will throw away after folding, AND DO wash your hands after handling them. I have Absestos in my collection and keep it in a plastic bag [ziplock]. The fibers are only dangerous if they get in your lungs and while a large amount are usually necessary to cause cancer - for SOME types [right kind/right size fibers] - as little as ONE FIBER in the lung can theoretically cause cancer...so exercise reasonable caution! One can consult the OSHA standards for exposure to get an idea of relative risk - but treat almost all fine fibrous [asbestosform] minerals with great respect!! - more so if you or anyone in your house smoke.
The individual fibers are invisible and can move in the air if the mineral is crushed, brushed, disturbed greatly, or there is fast moving air [air gun] - so do handle with care and as little as possible. Of course, don't let children or others handle them outside of a plastic bag, if at all.
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Riccardo Modanesi




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PostPosted: Jun 28, 2017 11:13    Post subject: Re: Erionite and cancer  

Hi to everybody!
Asbestos, as well as radioactive minerals, are dangerous just if you handle them for a long time without any protection. I keep my asbestos specimens in a plastic film and my radioactive minerals in a closet. The result is I have had those minerals for over 40 years and I'm still well and healthy. Then we all should ask ourselves: asbestos and radioactive minerals have been existing for many million years. How about cancer occurrence in localities close to these mines, for example Val Malenco, Autun, Wolfach etc.? For what I know the occurrence isn't worse than in many other places, including big cities where many of us usually live!
Greetings from Italy by Riccardo.

_________________
Hi! I'm a collector of minerals since 1973 and a gemmologist. On Summer I always visit mines and quarries all over Europe looking for minerals! Ok, there is time to tell you much much more! Greetings from Italy by Riccardo.
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alfredo
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PostPosted: Jun 28, 2017 11:27    Post subject: Re: Erionite and cancer  

Minerals are best enjoyed OUTSIDE the human body. Don't snort them or eat them. Pretty much the same advice I'd give about your garden soil. And for those who are fearful, there's no reason to fear your minerals any more than your garden soil.
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Bob Harman




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PostPosted: Jul 04, 2017 16:21    Post subject: Re: Erionite and cancer  

Being an MD Pathologist, now retired, I took some time to review some asbestos findings and read up on the carcinogenicity of the mineral ERIONITE. In the laboratory, I had worked with a couple of asbestos victims over my years in practice.
As most of you know, ASBESTOS is a group of fibrous silicate minerals. There are a number of different mineral forms present. It has many useful properties and has been used for many industrial applications for many years. One notable use is fireproof insulation, especially on warships. Starting after about 1950 it was noted that there was a statistically significant increase in several diseases in workers who had breathed in certain kinds and sizes of asbestos fibers over long time periods. Shipyard workers who had sprayed fibrous asbestos as a fire retardant was one group affected. Over many years a hi percentage of these workers developed an inflammation of the pleura, the lining of the lungs. This progressed to fibrous tissue which severely restricted breathing and eventually death which became known as asbestosis. Under the microscope, with proper lighting, asbestos fibers were readily visible. Some of these also developed lung cancer and a very statistically significant number developed the rare cancer, mesothelioma, also known as malignant mesothelial sarcoma. Not only was the lung mesothelium affected, but peritoneal (abdominal) mesothelium could be affected.

Anyway, further studies showed a strong relationship between chronic inhalation of the fibers and disease. Those workers who also smoked were even at further risk. Quarry workers mining the asbestos minerals showed a not so great association of their jobs and the diseases, but in some studies, there was a mild excess present. Several studies showed non quarry folks living down-wind from the quarries either had no excess incidence of asbestos related diseases or a slight excess, but no really strong relationship had been found. By now, we all probably know of the class action lawsuits against the asbestos industry and companies using the mined products.

As to ERIONITE, it is a group of related fibrous zeolite minerals. Other than also being fibrous, it is not really related to asbestos minerals. It is a known carcinogen also causing lung cancer and pleural and peritoneal mesothelioma. As noted in the above article, this has recently been studied in several villages in the Anatolia region of Turkey where there is a highly statistically significant excess of cases when compared to Turkish villages elsewhere. The folks in the affected villages use locally mined erionite in the building of their homes.
In the US, erionite is found out West in Arizona, Nevada, Oregon and Utah. It has been found in the road dust in Nevada. Several studies are underway in North Dakota and SE Montana to look more closely at erionite's carcinogenic potential in those areas of zeolite mining operations.

As already mentioned, handle these, and all, minerals, gently and only when necessary. There should be no problems with commonsense occasional handling. BOB
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cascaillou




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PostPosted: Aug 07, 2017 11:42    Post subject: Re: Erionite and cancer  

Here's an article about minerals toxicity:

https://www.mindat.org/mesg-62-338876.html

Safety precautions for handling asbestiform minerals are included.
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