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Learn The Different Types Of Asbestos

Thursday, October 15, 2009

As we all know that Asbestos is a cancerous material, and exposure to it may result in later development of diseases such as benign pleural effusion, pleural plaques, diffuse pleural thickening, rounded atelectasis, asbestosis, mesothelioma, and lung cancer. Most exposure to asbestos has occurred occupationally. However, people have also been exposed to asbestos through common household products, old buildings, and by indirect contact from loved ones who have work with asbestos directly and have carried home asbestos dust on their clothing.
Let me define with you what is "Asbestos" and i will show you what are the different types and give you some photos to give you more information.

Asbestos is a naturally occurring silicate mineral with long, thin fibrous crystals.  The word asbestos (ἄσβεστος) is a borrowed Greek adjective meaning inextinguishable. The Greeks termed asbestos the miracle mineral because of its soft and pliant properties, as well as its ability to withstand heat.
Asbestos can be toxic. The inhalation of asbestos fibers can cause serious illnesses, including malignant lung cancer, mesothelioma (a type of malignant neoplasm dependent mostly from exposure to asbestos),and asbestosis (a type of pneumoconiosis). Since the mid 1980s, the European Union and most developed countries have banned asbestos. Since January 1 2005 the European Union has banned all types of utilization of asbestos Directive 1999/77/EC and extraction, manufacture and processing of asbestos products Directive 2003/18/E.
There are six minerals that defined as "Asbestos" these include : chrysotile, amosite, crocidolite, tremolite, anthophyllite and actinolite and comes in 3 different colors.
Chrysotile, is obtained from serpentine rocks which are common throughout the world. Serpentine rock is also the state rock of California.  Chrysotile fibers are curly as opposed to fibers from amosite, crocidolite, tremolite, actinolite, and anthophyllite which are needlelike. Chrysotile, along with other types of asbestos, has been banned in dozens of countries and is only allowed in the United States and Europe in very limited circumstances. Chrysotile has been used more than any other type and accounts for about 95% of the asbestos found in buildings in America. Applications where chrysotile might be used include the use of joint compound and it can be spun and woven into fabric. The most common use is within corrugated asbestos cement roof sheets typically used for outbuildings, warehouses and garages. It is also found as flat sheets used for ceilings and sometimes for walls and floors. Numerous other items have been made containing chrysotile including brake linings, cloth behind fuses (for fire protection), pipe insulation, floor tiles, and rope seals for boilers.

Amosite, is a trade name for the amphiboles belonging to the Cummingtonite - Grunerite solid solution series, commonly from Africa, named as an acronym from Asbestos Mines of South Africa. It is found most frequently as a fire retardant in thermal insulation products and ceiling tiles.



Crocidolite, is an amphibole found primarily in southern Africa, but also in Australia. It is the fibrous form of the amphibole riebeckite.  Notes: chrysotile commonly occurs as soft friable fibers. Asbestiform amphibole may also occur as soft friable fibers but some varieties such as amosite are commonly straighter.

The riebeckite granite known as ailsite, found on the island of Ailsa Craig in western Scotland, is prized for its use in the manufacture of curling stones.  Riebeckite granite was used for the facing stones of the Canton Viaduct from Moyles Quarry (a.k.a. Canton Viaduct Quarry) now part of Borderland State Park in Massachusetts.

Canton viaduct

Other materials
Other regulated asbestos minerals, such as actinolite asbestos (or smaragdite), anthophyllite asbestos,  and tremolite asbestos; are less commonly used industrially but can still be found in a variety of construction materials and insulation materials and have been reported in the past to occur in a few consumer products.
Other natural and not currently regulated asbestiform minerals, such as richterite,  and winchite,  may be found as a contaminant in products such as the vermiculite containing zonolite insulation manufactured by W.R. Grace and Company. These minerals are thought to be no less harmful than tremolite, amosite, or crocidolite, but since they are not regulated, they are referred to as "asbestiform" rather than asbestos although may still be related to diseases and hazardous. (photos left: actinolite)

Anthophylite is the product of metamorphism of magnesium-rich rocks especially ultrabasic igneous rocks and impure dolomitic shales. It also forms as a retrograde product rimming relict orthopyroxenes and olivine, and as an accessory mineral in cordierite-bearing gneisses and schists.

 A fibrous variety of tremolite is used as asbestos. This material is toxic and inhaling the fibers can lead to asbestosis, lung cancer and mesothelioma.

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