Asbestos

Asbestos is a fibrous mineral that has been used in a variety of products and applications throughout the world. Many uses have been banned or discontinued, such as in insulation and other friable materials. The potential risks associated with an asbestos product can vary widely depending on the exposure and fiber characteristics (e.g., type, length), as well as specific asbestos-related tasks performed and the duration and frequency of these tasks.

Exponent’s staff has considerable experience in various aspects of asbestos-related research, including expertise in the disciplines needed to evaluate health risks associated with different types of asbestos exposures.  This expertise includes exposure assessment, epidemiology, industrial hygiene, exposure modeling, materials science, toxicology, risk assessment and alternative causation analysis. Exponent scientists are knowledgeable of current government activities regarding regulation of asbestos; health risk assessments of asbestos; asbestos-related occupational health and safety; warnings-related issues; and issues related to naturally-occurring asbestos, asbestos-containing talc in consumer and industrial products, and non-asbestos fibers such as erionite. Exponent has applied this expertise to analyses of asbestos issues in the occupational, para-occupational, bystander, and domestic (take-home) environments. We also have several licensed physicians and registered nurses on staff who can aid in review of medical records and evaluation of differential diagnoses. In addition to health-related aspects of asbestos, Exponent’s materials scientists have experience in evaluating and re-formulating historical products for purposes of exposure simulation, and have expertise in visualizing and characterizing asbestos-containing products in our technical laboratories.

Exponent’s staff is well acquainted with the available literature and issues related to numerous historic asbestos-containing products, and have independently evaluated potential exposures resulting from many of these products, including:


  • Gaskets and packing
  • Friction materials (e.g., brakes and clutches)
  • Roof mastics, coatings, and cements
  • Flexible duct connectors
  • Joint and drywall compounds
  • Stucco and cement compounds
  • Mastics and adhesives
  • Consumer talc products
  • Industrial and pharmaceutical talc products
  • Phenolic molding compounds and resins
  • Ceiling and floor tiles
  • Attic insulation
  • Electric appliances
  • Baking ovens
  • Industrial equipment
  • Residential, commercial, and industrial boilers
  • Pipe wrap

We have performed numerous exposure simulations to measure and characterize potential exposures from various specific products. In addition, we have performed dose reconstructions to re-create and estimate the potential exposure to products during specific tasks and occupations.

Representative Publications

2017

Chang ET, Lau EC, Mowat FS, Teta MJ. Therapeutic radiation for lymphoma and risk of second primary malignant mesothelioma. Cancer Causes & Control 2017; DOI 10.1007/s10552-017-0929-4.

Mezei G, Chang ET, Mowat FS, Moolgavkar SH. Epidemiology of mesothelioma of the pericardium and tunica vaginalis testis. Ann Epidemiol 2017; 27(5):348-359.e11.

2016

Garabrant DH, Alexander DD, Miller PE, Fryzek JP, Boffetta P, Teta MJ, Hessel PA, Craven VA, Kelsh MA, Goodman M. Ann Occup Hyg. 2016 Jan; 60(1):8-26.

Anderson EL, Sheehan, PJ, Kalmes RM, Griffin JR. Assessment of health risk from historical use of cosmetic talcum powder. Risk Anal 2016; 37(5): 918-929.

2014

Kerger, BD, RC James, DA Galbraith. Tumors that mimic asbestos-related mesothelioma: Time to consider a genetics-based tumor registry? Front Genet 2014; 5:151.

Moolgavkar SH, EL Anderson, ET Chang, EC Lau, P Turnham, DG Hoel. A review and critique of U.S. EPA’s risk assessment for asbestos. Crit Rev Toxicol 2014; 44(6):499–522.

2013

Goswami E, V Craven, DL Dahlstrom, D Alexander, F Mowat. Domestic asbestos exposure: A review of epidemiologic and exposure data. Int J Environ Res Public Health 2013; 10(11):5629-5670. http://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/10/11/5629

Brorby, GP, PJ Sheehan, DW Berman, KT Bogen, SE Holm. Exposures from chrysotile-containing joint compound: Evaluation of new model relating respirable dust to fiber concentrations. Risk Anal 2013; 33(1):161-176.

2012

Berman, DW, GP Brorby, PJ Sheehan, KT Bogen, SE Holm. More on the dynamics of dust generation: the effects of mixing and sanding chrysotile, calcium carbonate, and other components on the characteristics of joint-compound dusts. Ann Occup Hyg 2012; 56(7):852-867.

2011

Teta, MJ. Mesothelioma in a Connecticut friction plant: The need for transparency and exposure information in attribution of risk. Ann Occup Hyg 2011; 55(7):817–819. Comment on: Ann Occup Hyg 54(6):692–696.

Sheehan, PJ, GP Brorby, DW Berman, KT Bogen, SE Holm. Chamber for testing asbestos-containing products: Validation and testing of a re-created chrysotile-containing joint compound. Ann Occup Hyg 2011; 55(7):797–809.

Bogen, KT, G Brorby, DW Berman, P Sheehan, M Floyd. Measuring mixed cellulose ester (MCE) filter mass under variable humidity conditions. Ann Occup Hyg 2011; 55(5):485–494.

Brorby, GP, PJ Sheehan, DW Berman, KT Bogen, SE Holm. Potential artifacts associated with historical preparation of joint compound samples and reported airborne asbestos concentrations. J Occup Environ Hyg 2011; 8:271–278.

Cantor, RA, M Lyman, R Reiss. Asbestos claims and litigation. In: Product Liability. Cantor, RA (ed), ABA Publishing: Chicago IL, 2011:125–145.

2010

Sheehan, P, F Mowat, R Weidling, M Floyd. Simulation tests to assess occupational exposure to airborne asbestos from artificially weathered asphalt-based roofing products. Ann Occup Hyg 2010; 54(8):880–892. Corrigendum 2010; 55(7):827.

Moolgavkar, S, J Turim, DD Alexander, EC Lau, CC Cushing. Potency factors for risk assessment at Libby, Montana. Risk Anal 2010; 30(8):1240–1248.

2009

Teta, MJ, MA Wagner. Consistency and synergy. Blood 2009; 114(9):2000–2001. Comment on: Blood 113:3679–3681.

Richter, RO, BL Finley, DJ Paustenbach, PRD Williams, PJ Sheehan. An evaluation of short-term exposures of brake mechanics to asbestos during automotive and truck brake cleaning and machining activities. J Exp Sci Environ Epidemiol 2009; 19:458–474.

Moolgavkar, SH, R Meza, J Turim. Pleural and peritoneal mesotheliomas in SEER: Age effects and temporal trends, 1973–2005. Cancer Causes Control 2009; 20:935–944.

2008

Teta, MJ, PJ Mink, E Lau, BK Sceurman, ED Foster. US mesothelioma patterns 1973–2002: Indicators of change and insights into background rates. Eur J Cancer Prev 2008; 17(6):525–534.

Brorby, GP, PJ Sheehan, DW Berman, JF Greene, SE Holm. Re-creation of historical chrysotile-containing joint compounds. Inhal Toxicol 2008; 20:1043–1053.

2007

Teta, MJ, E Lau, BK Sceurman, ME Wagner. Therapeutic radiation for lymphoma: Risk of malignant mesothelioma. Cancer 2007; 109(7):1432–1438.

Kelsh, MA, VA Craven, MJ Teta, FS Mowat, M Goodman. Mesothelioma in vehicle mechanics: is the risk different for Australians? Occup Med 2007; 57:581–589.

Mowat, F, R Weidling, P Sheehan. Simulation tests to assess occupational exposure to airborne asbestos from asphalt-based roofing products. Ann Occup Hyg 2007; 51:451–462.

Finley, BL, RO Richter, FS Mowat, S Mlynarek, DJ Paustenbach, JL Warmerdam, PJ Sheehan. Cumulative asbestos exposure for U.S. automobile mechanics involved in brake repair (circa 1950s–2000). J Exp Sci Environ Epidemiol 2007; 17:644–655.

2006

Clarke, CC, FS Mowat, MA Kelsh, MA Roberts. Pleural plaques: A review of diagnostic issues and possible nonasbestos factors. Arch Environ Occup Health 2006; 61(4):183-192.

Paustenbach, DJ, BL Finley, PJ Sheehan, GP Brorby. 2006. Re: Evaluation of the size and type of free particulates collected from unused asbestos-contained brake components as related to potential for respirability. Am J Ind Med 49:60–61.

2005

Mowat, F, M Bono, S Tamburello, D Paustenbach. Occupational exposure to airborne asbestos from phenolic molding material (Bakelite) during sanding, drilling, and related activities. J Occup Environ Hyg 2005; 2:497–507.

2004

Goodman, M, MJ Teta, PA Hessel, DH Garabrant, VA Craven, CG Scrafford, MA Kelsh. Mesothelioma and lung cancer among motor vehicle mechanics: A meta-analysis. Ann Occup Hyg 2004; 48(4):309–326.

Hessel, PA, MJ Teta, M Goodman, E Lau. 2004. Mesothelioma among brake mechanics: An expanded analysis of a case-control study. Risk Anal 24(3):547–552.

Paustenbach, DJ, A Sage, M Bono, F Mowat. Occupational exposure to airborne asbestos from coatings, mastics, and adhesives. J Exp Anal Environ Epid 2004; 14:234–244.

Professionals

Knowledge