Types of Asbestos

There are two families of asbestos, the Amphibole family and the Serpentine family, which differ based on the structure of their mineral crystals.

Amphibole Asbestos

The mineral fibers in Amphibole asbestos are chain-like, while Serpentine mineral fibers are in layered sheets. This can be seen under the microscope. There are five different types of Amphiboles: Amosite ("brown asbestos"), Crocidolite ("blue asbestos"), Anthophyllite, Tremolite, and Actinolite.

Amosite

A type of Amphibole asbestos that is made up of mineral fibers formed by crystals that look chain-like. Amosite is also called "brown asbestos" takes its name from the asbestos mines of South Africa.

Crocidolite

Crocidolite is one of the five types of Amphibole asbestos. This means the fibers in Crocidolite are made up of mineral crystals that look like chains. Crocidolite is often called "blue asbestos," and occurs naturally in Austrial, South Africa, the former Soviet Union, and Canada.

Actinolite

One of the more rare forms of asbestos. It is a mineral with fibers that form in manner of the Amphibole family — which means the fibers are made of crystals that are chain-like in appearance. Like two other rare forms of asbestos, Tremolite and Anthophyllite, Actinolite is found mainly as a contaminant in other minerals. Actinolite was not used commercially as were chrysotile, amosite, and, to a lesser extent, crocidolite.

Anthophyllite

One of the more rare forms of asbestos. It is a mineral with fibers that form in the Amphibole family — which means the fibers are made of crystals that are chain-like in appearance. Like two other rare forms of asbestos, Tremolite and Actinolite, Anthophyllite is found mainly as a contaminant in other minerals. Anthophyllite was not use commercially as were chrysotile, amosite, and, to a lesser extent, crocidolite.

Serpentine Asbestos

Chrysotile

The most common type of asbestos, it is also known as "white asbestos," and Chrysotile comprises approximately 90%-95% of all asbestos in the United States. It is made up of minerals which crystallize in the "serpentine" pattern, which means its crystals are formed in sheets. Chrysotile has been linked with all asbestos-related diseases, including asbestosis, lunc cnacer, cand mesothelioma.

Asbestos fibers are extremely durable and are heat and fire resistant. Asbestos also serves as a strong binder for other materials. Because of these properties, asbestos was used in over 3000 different products in a variety of industrial, commercial, and consumer products. Because of their size and shape, asbestos fibers can easily become airborne and can remain in the air for long periods of time. Once asbestos settles, it can be redistributed into the air easily through a process called reentrainment. Unfortunately, once asbestos fibers are inhaled or swallowed, they tend to remain in the body for many years.

Abestos

Abestos: did you mean asbestos? Common mispellings of asbestos include aspestis, aspestos, & asbestoes.

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