Talc Silicate Allegedly Harms Miners’ Health


A lawsuit over health issues sustained by mining workers in talc mines launched an investigation into the mineral and silicate combinations of typical mines. Allegedly, the health issues arose from the mining of talc that contained asbestos, with numerous workers contracting cancer and respiratory issues after prolonged exposure to the mine. The trial hinged on the relationship between the two substances. An expert in mining was therefore required to explain the probability that talc is naturally mined in conjunction with asbestos, and whether asbestos runs through talc rocks.

Question(s) For Expert Witness

  • 1. Briefly explain your qualifications, experience, and knowledge as it relates to the the mining of talc and asbestos.

Expert Witness Response E-060506

While I don’t have specific experience in mining talc, I do have extensive experience with other industrial minerals. In addition, I have been working recently on dust and gas exposure in mines, and other environmental health and safety impact issues. I also have a background in processing and packaging of food grade salt where contaminants and dust were both issues. Obviously, the specific mineral deposits will dictate the presence of asbestos, but I can evaluate the likelihood of asbestos presence based on the location of the deposit within the mines in question. Additionally, there are several publications about the general content of minerals in the United States that would be relevant to this case. I have also seen some information regarding foreign mines and deposits in China and former Soviet satellite countries.

Expert Witness Response E-080970

I have worked and consulted in the mining industry for over thirty years and have multiple licenses, including being a Registered Member of the Society for Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration (formerly, Society of Mining Engineers). In my experience, asbestos usually does occur with talc; it’s a topic I’ve done extensive work on in the past.

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