Learning About The Different Types of Asbestos

Are you aware that there are different types of asbestos? The two main families of asbestos are serpentine asbestos ad amphibole asbestos. Serpentine are wavy fibres that are made of crystals. The only type of asbestos that belongs to the serpentine family is the chrysotile. It is believed that this type of asbestos accounts for most of the asbestos used worldwide. Amphibole asbestos is the second main type. The fibres take on the shape of needles. According to studies, it takes less exposure to this type of asbestos to develop cancer as compared to serpentine. The commercial forms of amphibole asbestos are crocidolite and amosite while the non-commercial forms are tremolite, anthophyllite and actinolite.

Lets’ get to know asbestos a bit further. 

Chrysotile Asbestos

The more popular term for chrysotile asbestos is white asbestos. This type of asbestos is widely used in products manufactured in the US. It has been said that Canada and the US are the major producers of white asbestos. Natural chrysotile is often accompanied by small amounts of amphibole, which heightens its toxicity. Nonetheless, exposure to chrysotile even without the amphibole is toxic enough to cause life-threatening diseases. Products that contain chrysotile include brake pads, drywall, cement, adhesives, insulation, roofing, gaskets, vinyl tiles and fireproofing. 

Amosite Asbestos

  • Also known as brown asbestos, this is the second most widely used asbestos in America. Amosite in its natural state is known as grunerite. According to the American Cancer Society, when you are exposed to amosite you’ll have a higher risk of developing cancer compared to chrysotile. Examples of products that contain amosite include fire protection, gaskets, vinyl tiles, insulation, cement sheets and roofing products. This type of asbestos is mined in South Africa.

Crocidolite Asbestos

Do you know that crocidolite asbestos is actually responsible for majority of asbestos-related deaths? The reason is because the fibres of crocidolite are very thin making it easy for the fibres to get stuck in your lung tissues. This type of asbestos is mined in South Africa, Bolivia and Australia. Examples of products that contain crocidolite include cement sheets, fireproofing, ceiling tiles, acid storage battery casings, and insulation and fireproofing.

Anthophyllite Asbestos 

This is by far the rarest type of asbestos and is not popularly used in commercial manufacturing. It was first discovered and mined in Finland but small amounts were also mined in various parts of the globe. Products that contain anthophyllite include cement, rubber, roofing and insulation.

Actinolite and Tremolite Asbestos

Unlike other forms of asbestos, actinolite and tremolite are the asbestos types that are rarely used in the manufacturing industry. Unfortunately, exposure to this type of asbestos still puts your health at risk. 

Is asbestos harmful to your health? The answer is yes. All asbestos is considered toxic to our health but there are certain types of asbestos that are more dangerous than others. All forms of asbestos can cause ovarian cancer, lung cancer, laryngeal cancer, malignant mesothelioma and asbestosis. According to health agencies, the amphibole type of asbestos is the most dangerous of all. 

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