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Is It Asbestos? It's All in the Form: Asbestiform vs. Non-Asbestiform

Fall 2019 - In-House Defense Quarterly
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In asbestos litigation, the difference between asbestiform and non-asbestiform minerals is typically not addressed, and the parties on either side may not even be aware of this crucial difference. In fact, they are far more likely to argue over which of the asbestos minerals are present in their case than they are to argue whether asbestos is present in the products at issue. This is because most typical asbestos litigation, such as that involving friction or insulation products, involves allegations that asbestos was intentionally added to the product. This is not the case with talc litigation. In a talc asbestos case, the central allegation is that the talc that made it to the consumer was contaminated with asbestos fibers. Asbestos was never intentionally added to talc as a component part of the finished product, and talc defenders assert that their talc is and always has been asbestos free. For their part, plaintiffs and plaintiffs' experts assert that the testing methods used by talc defendants were not sensitive enough (by design) to detect asbestos contamination. These cases then turn on the testimony of plaintiffs' experts who purport to identify asbestos (asbestiform) fibers in talc, and defendants' experts who content that these very same "asbestos fibers" are in fact not asbestos at all (non-asbestiform).


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