Non-asbestos related causes of mesothelioma

Asbestos may not be the only cause of mesothelioma. While asbestos has been proven to increase a person’s chance of developing this form of cancer, other factors may play a role in its development. To get a better understanding of what causes mesothelioma and how it can actually develop.

Non asbestos related causes of mesothelioma

Here is a look at various issues that may be responsible for mesothelioma in some people.

Inherited gene mutation, Genetics

There are cases where people who have never been exposed to asbestos nevertheless get diagnosed with mesothelioma. This suggests that their genes make them more susceptible. Genetic testing is not able to determine exactly where the mutation is, but it can help in assessing the risk of developing mesothelioma.

Certain genes can increase your risk of developing mesothelioma. These include BAP1, BRCA2, CDKN2A , and PTEN.

Family history of cancer

If you have a family history of cancer, such as lung or bladder cancer, then you are at higher risk of developing mesothelioma later on in life.

A person who has a family member with mesothelioma is more likely to get the condition himself or herself. This type of cancer is hereditary and if you have a parent or sibling who had it, then there is a tendency for you to develop this as well.

If you have a family history of cancer, such as lung or bladder cancer, then you are at higher risk of developing mesothelioma later on in life.

Previous history of cancer

Having had one type of cancer increases your chances of developing another. If you have already had bladder cancer or lung cancer, then you are at risk for mesothelioma as well. Anyone who has ever had a respiratory problem such as asthma or emphysema is more likely to develop mesothelioma.

Radiation exposure

Some people with a history of radiation exposure have developed mesothelioma. This form of cancer did not come from asbestos exposure but was actually brought on by the ionizing radiations that came from x-ray exposure.

Previous radiation treatments may also play a vital role in acquiring mesothelioma. People who receive radiation therapy, whether they have just had breast cancer removed or they are fighting cancerous tumors, are at risk for mesothelioma.

Duration of radiation exposure may also affect the risk factors. The greater amount of time spent working with asbestos or living in an area with high concentrations of it, the higher your chances are of developing this form of cancer.

Radiation levels in the environment might also be a factor. People who live in higher radiation areas, such as those who live near a nuclear power plant, are more susceptible to getting mesothelioma.

People who have ever lived in an area where there were high levels of radon are at risk for developing mesothelioma later on. They are at a greater risk of developing this form of cancer.

Occupational exposure

Some people in the construction industry have developed mesothelioma after years of working with asbestos. Again, this happened even when no asbestos dust or fibers were present during the course of their work. The condition is known as secondary mesothelioma.

Environmental exposure

Studies have found that air pollution in certain cities can cause people to develop mesothelioma. This is usually not the case unless they are living in an area with excessive concentrations of asbestos fibers, which then become airborne. Furthermore, radiation exposure from radon gas could also be considered as a factor for mesothelioma.

If you live near a hazardous waste site, then your chances are increased of getting mesothelioma.

Living near a hazardous waste site

If you live near a hazardous waste site, then your chances are increased of getting mesothelioma. People who have come into contact with point source pollution are at greater risk of developing mesothelioma. This includes people who live near an industrial site that regularly emits pollutants in the air, water, or land.


Although men are more likely to develop mesothelioma, women can get it as well. This cancer mainly occurs in people above 50 years old and is more common in men who are between the ages of 65 and 75. It is also most prevalent among Caucasians.


Asbestos was widely used during the early 20th century, so it was not uncommon for minorities to come into contact with it. The risk of getting mesothelioma is greater among blacks who were employed in the shipyards or construction sites.


People who smoke are more likely to get different types of cancers, including mesothelioma. This form of cancer can also affect nonsmokers and former smokers. People who smoke cigarettes are more likely to get mesothelioma due to the inhalation of asbestos fibers. They stay longer in the lungs and can cause damage.


Some viruses raise the risk of developing mesothelioma. These include human T-cell leukemia virus type 1, Epstein-Barr virus, and human herpesvirus type 8.

Low immune system

A weakened or lowered immunity can increase the risk of developing cancerous cells due to asbestos exposure. This is because the body may not be able to fight off these foreign particles that come into the body.


Being overweight or obese can put people at a greater risk for developing mesothelioma.

Co-existing illness

People who have a chronic ailment, such as asbestosis or asbestoses, are at greater risk for developing mesothelioma. This is because the lungs of those with asthma or emphysema have been damaged from years of inhaling asbestos fibers and these can lead to mesothelioma as well.

Previous Cancer treatments

People who have already had different types of cancer, such as bladder or lung cancer, are more susceptible to developing mesothelioma later on in life. Previous treatment with chemotherapy can also contribute to mesothelioma-related diseases.

Chemotherapy drugs are used to kill off cancerous cells in the body. Unfortunately, this is also true for healthy cells and can damage them as well.

Living in certain geographical locations

People that live in different geographical locations are at risk for developing mesothelioma later on in life. These areas include areas where there is mining, construction, or manufacturing of asbestos products. People who live in coastal regions are at greater risk for developing mesothelioma.

Exposure to predator drones

People who have access to aerial drones which use fiberglass-containing asbestos are more likely to develop mesothelioma. This is due to the fiberglass being inhaled by the drone operators.



Erionite (potassium aluminum silicate) is a zeolite material that has the same physical characteristics as amosite or crocidolite. This material is found in volcanic regions. Erionite deposits have been described in the Cappadocian region of Turkey. In two villages of Turkey, an outbreak of mesothelioma was found and it was mysterious that more than 50% of mesothelioma cases in the villages were caused by erionite. In the US, a high incidence of mesothelioma has been identified in rural areas with erionite contamination.

After studying the lungs of these patients it was found that their lungs contained erionite fibers. Ferruginous bodies with erionite cores were isolated from the lungs of these villagers.

These studies suggested that the outbreak of mesothelioma was due to exposure to erionite fibers that were used in the Whitewash. Some other long diseases were also reported among the villagers. Erionite fibers are carcinogenic and rates of mesothelioma are 1000 times greater than the normal rate.

In North Dakota, hundreds of miles of roads contain erionite. This causes a large concentration of airborne erionite fibers. Other regions in the world are also suspected of this non-asbestos mesothelioma-causing material. These regions are as follows:

  • Turkey
  • Central Mexico
  • North America
  • The western US
  • Sierra Madre Occidental region
  • North Dakota regions
  • North-Eastern Italy

Experimental studies confirm that the high carcinogenic potential of erionite can induce the following conditions in the human body:

  • malignant mesotheliomas
  • pleural fibrosis
  • mesothelial hyperplasia
  • mesothelial dysplasia

Mechanisms of carcinogenesis of Erionite:

Erionite activates the NLRP3 inflammasome, which in turn triggers an autocrine feedback loop in mesothelial cells which is modulated by the interleukin-1 receptor. Thus erionite can induce mesothelioma.

Fluoro-Edenite Exposure

What is Fluoro-edenite?

Fluoro-edenite is a hydrocarbon found in shale and sandstone. It is a part of the hydrocarbon group of minerals. Fluoro-edenite has been used in the production of synthetic organic compounds that are used as disinfectants and in the production of polymer products, such as polyester and nylon.

A rare silicate mineral with a chemical formula of Ca(F, O) 2 . was first described in 1876 by German mineralogist Carl Gustav von Waldstein. Fluoro-edenite is a very common phosphate mineral and is found in the rocks of the Lyell Supergroup and at the base of the Eocene Grand Canyon Formation. It has been found in volcanic rocks from the Paleozoic and Mesozoic periods.

Main Source of Fluoro-edenite

The main source of fluoro-edenite is sandstone quarries or other rock formations containing fluoro-edenite veins. In Sicily, fluoro-edenite is found in several different mines, such as the “Monte dei Cappuccini”

The mineral fluoro-edenite is a white, amorphous, crystalline to a fibrous or granular mineral that occurs in the form of masses or strings. It is found in nature as a metamorphic product of the metamorphism of limestone and dolomite. It has been used as an aggregate for road pavements and roads.

Where is Fluoro-edenite found?

Fluoro-edenite has been found in many locations around the world. It is usually used to coat asphalt pavement surfaces before laying down other materials such as concrete, grout, and rubber strips. Fluro-edenite occurs in the form of large crystals which are commonly found as sand grains or as tiny fragments

Fluoro-edenite is a very similar mineral to asbestos and is composed of the same chemical elements. It is often called asbestos because it resembles asbestos in both appearance and use. Fluoro-edenite, like asbestos, was used extensively in insulation and plastering and has been found in many parts of the world. It is not known how it was formed, though some believe that it may have formed on a meteorite that crashed to earth millions of years ago.


What is Balangeroite?

Balangeroite is a mineral that has some similar physical properties to amphibole asbestos fibers (asbestiform) and can be found in chrysotile, mined in Balangero, Italy.

The mineral was first described in 1810 by Luigi Balanzano, who named it “Balanceroite”, after his hometown of Balanzerolo.

In 1826, Giovanni Gaspare Corzetti and Alessandro Cerni described the mineral as “balanceroite asbestiform” (a name which was subsequently used for the whole group of amphibole asbestos fibers). This name is still sometimes used for these minerals.

Both corzets and balancers are dark-brown to black varieties with distinct bands.

Because the mineral is stable under normal conditions, it can be found as a contaminant in chrysotile (which has been mined for decades).

It forms colloidal suspensions that are known to cause respiratory irritation from dust particles and airborne fibers.

Most of the risk comes from inhalation, but some people have also been diagnosed with mesothelioma following prolonged exposure.

Like many other amphiboles with strong pleomorphism, Balangeroite has pleomorphism at very low temperatures (the band structure) which may explain its toxicity.

Its chemical properties are not similar to asbestos fibers and consequently, its toxicity may be different from asbestos. However, the latter is still known to cause mesothelioma: the symptoms overlap with those caused by balanceroite.

The mineral may also have neurotoxicity; however, this is not well understood. The body’s immune system recognizes balanceroites as microfibers that should be left alone despite their similarity to asbestos and not destroyed by natural killer cells. This makes them attractive for medical applications including bone cement. The mineral may also have carcinogenic effects due to unknown mechanisms. One hypothesis is that balanceroite may cause a hypersensitivity reaction by releasing strong immune activators. Inhalation or ingestion could result in lung inflammation and inflammation-induced lung cancer or lymphoma.

Despite its similarity to asbestos, there are no links between oral exposure through consumption of chrysotile or balanceroite dust with mesothelioma or any other disease related to asbestos. As a result, it’s

Is Balangeroite a carcinogen?

Balangeroite is a mineral that has some similar physical properties to amphibole asbestos fibers. It is found as a contaminant in chrysotile, mined in Balangero, Italy.

Some authors have attributed mesothelioma cases in this area to balangeroite. Others have questioned its toxicity.

Crocidolite anhydrous, a mineral with similar physical properties to balangeroite and also found in chrysotile, is another contaminant of asbestos that could be linked to asbestos-related diseases such as mesothelioma and lung cancer.

Mesothelioma Causing Nanotubes

How are carbon nanotubes similar to asbestos fibers?

The biggest difference between the two is that asbestos fibers have been around for a long time and that they contain asbestos. But the similarities do not end there:

  • Carbon nanotubes are engineered from a single material (silicon)
  • Asbestos fibers are manufactured from natural sources
  • Carbon nanotubes can be “tweezed” into high-temperature composites
  • Asbestos fibers can be “tweezed” into soft or hard ceramics (which is why they are used in buildings)

What are we really trying to say here? The answer is that carbon nanotubes and asbestos fibers share several of their properties. They both provide the ultimate in strength and durability, so they should be very good substitutes for each other. This should mean that carbon nanotubes could be used for applications where asbestos would be considered unsuitable — such as in aircraft or bulletproof vests. As with all things, there is a trade-off between performance and durability; one must weigh it against the other. But this trade-off has a name: “performance versus longevity”.

While it may sound like nitpicking to avoid using more durable materials, it will ultimately make you more expensive, which is not good. The first thing that happens during any manufacturing process is to break down the material: if you rely on relatively durable materials (like bauxite), you don’t need to worry too much about breaking down them — even if you do use them in a process designed to break them down over time because your cost will still be relatively low.

By contrast, when using something as fragile as asbestos, there needs to be a much higher cost of breakage just due to its fragility.  Thus high-end fiber manufacturing processes have been developed so that the use of more durable materials (like stainless steel) does not compromise performance at all — and thus means that higher-end products can survive longer than lower-end ones without degrading in function as a result of breaking down (or otherwise becoming less durable).  

Thus if carbon nanotube production were allowed with lower grade substances like iron ore or bauxite, then producers would probably find themselves spending more money on raw materials than they spend on production costs! What makes carbon nanotubes so different from cement or concrete?

Does carbon nanotube cause cancer?

A recent study in the International Journal of Nanomedicine has found that exposure to carbon nanotubes (CNTs) may be able to trigger mesothelioma. This is a type of cancer in which asbestos-like fibers are directly linked to the development of pleural mesothelioma. In the study, mice were exposed to CNTs for three months and then were given neoadjuvant chemotherapy.

The mice that were exposed to CNTs developed mesothelioma, which was nearly 100% more frequent than a control group with no previous exposure or chemotherapy. The researchers stated that there are some limitations in this study but it was possible that a similar mechanism could be at work in humans as well.

How do we detect carbon nanotubes in humans?

Two recent studies have found that carbon nanotubes are present in human mesothelioma tissue and that the amount of neurofibromin (a protein implicated in the development of mesothelioma) is increased in humans with mesothelioma.

The first study, published on April 7th, 2017 by researchers from the University of Massachusetts Medical School and the University of Colorado School of Medicine at Aurora (Aurora, CO), found that there was a significant increase in levels of neurofibromin (NF; NF-kappaB binding protein) and an increase in levels of a microRNA called miR-134a.

The second study, published on August 11th by researchers from Drexel University College of Medicine and the University of Colorado School of Medicine (Aurora, CO), also found that there was a significant increase in levels of NF.

Both studies were based on tissue samples collected from patients with mesothelioma who had been diagnosed between 2001 and 2005.

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