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Types of Asbestos

Asbestos is a silicate mineral that was once lauded for its ability to resist heat, flame, chemicals, and electricity. Because of these helpful characteristics, it was once added to everything from vinyl flooring to ceiling tiles, and everything in between. However, we now know that asbestos is a human carcinogen that can cause deadly cancers like mesothelioma.

Serpentine vs. Amphibole

Asbestos is divided into two families based on the characteristics of the fibers. Serpentine asbestos only has one subtype, chrysotile, which is curlier and more flexible than other types of asbestos. The amphibole family has five subtypes, which are straighter and more brittle than chrysotile.

Common Asbestos Subtypes

Due to their individual characteristics, the asbestos subtypes are used for different purposes. These include:

  • Chrysotile (“white” asbestos)– joint compound, cement additive, fabric, ceiling tiles, brake linings
  • Amosite (“brown” asbestos)– thermal insulation, ceiling tiles
  • Crocidolite (“blue” asbestos) – asbestos-cement mixtures

Crocidolite asbestos comes in straight, needle-like shapes that can burrow deeply into your body. Thus, this is the most difficult type of asbestos to remove and in turn the most dangerous. Thankfully, though, this blue asbestos is only found in about 4% of asbestos-containing products.

Other Asbestos Subtypes

Because they are more flexible and easier to add to other compounds, chrysotile, amosite, and crocidolite are the most common types of asbestos found in buildings and products. The remaining three subtypes of asbestos are tremolite, anthophyllite, and actinolite.

Contact Us

No matter what type of asbestos you encounter, this dangerous material can cause serious health problems. If you have been diagnosed with health issues such as mesothelioma or asbestosis due to asbestos exposure, you deserve more information. Please fill out the contact form at the top of the page today.

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