Erionite Exposure and Mesothelioma Cancer
The naturally occurring mineral erionite is usually found in volcanic ash that has been altered by weathering and
ground water. Typically, the substance is located throughout the hollows of rock formations where asbestos can
also be found. It usually varies in color from white to clear, and is said to feel and look like wool.
Although the properties of erionite have been compared to those of asbestos, the U.S. Environmental Protection
Agency (EPA) has yet to regulate the toxic mineral. In fact, the inhalation of erionite poses some of the same health
effects that are associated with asbestos, including lung cancer and mesothelioma.
Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that develops in the mesothelial cells found in the body. Pleural mesothelioma,
the most common type of mesothelioma cancer, develops in the mesothelial lining of the lungs. After attaching to
the lungs, many of these erionite and asbestos fibers can remain in place because the body has a difficult time
Other areas that are known to be afflicted by the disease, but are less likely to, include the mesothelial linings of
the abdomen and heart. Due to an extended latency period associated with mesothelioma, a diagnosis usually
occurs during the latest stages of development, which often leads to mesothelioma treatments being more
palliative than curative.
According to the EPA, erionite fibers exhibit the same size and structure of asbestos particles. Because of this, any
disturbance to the mineral can present serious hazards and lead to toxic fibers being released into the air. In
Cappadocia, Turkey, an unprecedented mesothelioma epidemic caused 50% of all deaths in three small villages.
The mesothelioma epidemic was attributed to erionite stones from volcanic rocks used in homes. At first, the
erionite‐containing stones were strictly noted as the cause of death, however, it has recently been discovered that