Asbestos refers to a set of six naturally occurring fibrous minerals: chrysotile, crocidolite, amosite, anthophyllite, tremolite, and actinolite. Among these, chrysotile and amosite asbestos are most common.More: http://www.clearasbestos.com
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TYPES OF ASBESTOS
WHAT IS ASBESTOS?
Asbestos refers to a set of six naturally occurring fibrous minerals: chrysotile, crocidolite, amosite, anthophyllite, tremolite, and actinolite. Among these, chrysotile and amosite asbestos are most common.
Although asbestos fibers are microscopic in nature, they are extremely durable and resistant to fire and most chemical reactions and breakdowns. These properties of asbestos were the reasons that supported its use for many years in a number of different commercial and industrial capacities.
The strength of asbestos, combined with its resistance to heat, allowed it to become the material of choice in a variety of products, including, but not limited to, roofing shingles, floor tiles, ceiling materials, cement compounds, textile products, and automotive parts. Asbestos is now strictly regulated as exposure to this toxic mineral can now be directly and scientifically linked to a number of lung and respiratory conditions including mesothelioma.
6 Different Types of Asbestos
The commercial production of amosite, or “brown” asbestos, ended within the last decade and this type of asbestos is no longer mined. It was at one time, however, the second-most commonly used form of asbestos and, as a result, many individuals were exposed to it during its peak use.
Amosite was employed as insulation in factories and buildings, as well as both an acoustical and anti-condensation material. Its use has been banned in most countries for approximately the last 30 years.
The most common type of asbestos, and only kind that is still mined, chrysotile was the most widely used in the world’s developed countries. Estimates show about 90-95% of all asbestos that remains in buildings in the U.S. and Canada is of this variety. Because it was so widely used, it accounts for the most health problems, though the companies that mine it continue to attest to its safety.
Chrysotile is most often used in fireproofing and insulation products and was widely used aboard U.S. Navy ships during World War II and the Korean War.
As an amphibole variety of asbestos fiber, tremolite asbestos is associated with the development of malignant mesothelioma and other asbestos-related cancers. Like other varieties of asbestos, tremolite asbestos is composed predominantly of magnesium and can range from off-white to a dark green in color.
Tremolite is particularly common in vermiculite deposits. Tremolite-contaminated vermiculite was responsible for the death of hundreds of miners in Libby, Montana who worked at the W.R. Grace Vermiculite Mine.
Crocidolite asbestos accounted for about 4% of all asbestos once used in the United States. Crocidolite occurs in naturally-formed bundles that are long, sharp, and straight. This “blue” asbestos is harder and more brittle than other types of the mineral and can break easily, releasing dangerous needle-like fibers that are easily inhaled.
Crocidolite, without a doubt, is the most lethal form of asbestos. It was often used in making yarns and rope lagging, and as a reinforcement material for plastics.
Anthophyllite asbestos, also known as “brown” asbestos, is composed predominantly of iron and magnesium. Its fibers are known to be long and flexible. Of the amphibole subclass, brown asbestos can be found in many talc mines and has been associated with some respiratory disorders. It is not conclusively associated with mesothelioma as other varieties of asbestos are.
Because of its rarity, anthophyllite was not often used in consumer products, but could be found in some cement products and insulating materials.
Actinolite asbestos is a variety of the subclassification of amphibole asbestos and, as such, its makeup and consistency is similar to other forms of this subset. Made predominantly of magnesium, actinolite asbestos is extremely rare and ranges in color from white to dark brown.
Actinolite was not known to be used in asbestos products because of its rarity, but is known to be found in metamorphic rock. As with all forms of asbestos, actinolite is a known carcinogen that can cause mesothelioma cancer.
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