In the mesothelioma literature South Africa is known for its crocidolite mines through the seminal paper by Wagner (1960) which identified this rare tumour in people living and working in or near the mines. It is less well-known that South Africa also has chrysotile mines which for decades produced about 100 000 tons of the mineral per year. Mesothelioma has not been found in the miners and millers who worked in these mines. Lees proposes that the for the scarcity or absence of the cancer may be a relative lack of contaminating fibrous tremolite, an amphibole that variably occurs with chrysotile ores.
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