Asbestos is a carcinogenic mineral that was used for centuries before people discovered that it causes a variety of deadly lung diseases, including lung cancer, mesothelioma symptoms, and asbestosis. However, asbestos is a wonderful insulator of everything from heat to sound, so it was popularly used in home building up unto the 1980s. Although many people might associate asbestos with a poisonous, man-made chemical, it is actually from a naturally occurring family of minerals.
Actinolite. Actinolite asbestos appears as white, gray, brown, green, and shades of color in between. Actinolite was often marketed as “Zonolite” and used for vermiculite, concrete, insulation, and fireproofing. Although actinolite is indeed a carcinogenic form of asbestos, there are types of nonfibrous actinolite asbestos that are not harmful.
Amosite. Amosite asbestos is called brown asbestos, due to its gray to brown color, or Grunerite. Used for cement sheeting and pipe insulation, amosite is characterized by its straight brittle fibers. At the height of asbestos’ popularity, amosite was actually the second most commonly used form of the mineral. Mined in South Africa, many mine workers have fallen ill to amosite because it is the second most hazardous form of asbestos.
Anthophyllite. Luckily, anthophyllite was never a common commercial or industrial type of asbestos, although it was sometimes used as an ingredient in agricultural vermiculite. Anthophyllite is yellowish in appearance and can be found not only where asbestos is usually mined, but also with talc mines. The main disease caused by the anthophyllite type of asbestos is mesothelioma life expectancy.
Chrysotile. Chrysotile asbestos is hands down the most commonly used asbestos, accounting for an estimated 95% of asbestos products. Because it is such a good insulator and has great tensile strength, chrysotile is prolific in construction. Chrysotile asbestos can be seen in anything from cement to brake pads. Also known as white asbestos, there are now some companies that are utilizing “safe” chrysotile by coating the fibers in resins or other sticky substances that do not allow them to break off and get inhaled.
Crocidolite. Crocidolite asbestos is considered the most deadly type of carcinogen. Also called blue asbestos, crocidolite is located in Africa, Australia, and some parts of South America. Like anthophyllite, crocidolite was never a popular commercial type of asbestos, accounting for only about 4% of asbestos moringa products. This is because it is not nearly as heat resistant as chrysotile. Thus, crocidolite was most often just added to cement.
Tremolite. Tremolite is another extremely deadly type of asbestos. It is commonly found in areas that also have talc, like anthophyllite. Tremolite has recently been detected in some children’s toys. Back when asbestos was more popular, and unknown to cause cancer, tremolite was sometimes added to vermiculite. Because of its close association with talc, tremolite has also been found in talcum powder.
Because asbestos comes in so many shapes and forms, it has been a huge part of our lives, in buildings, cars, and toys. If you or someone you know is suffering from an asbestos-related disease, it can be a good idea to speak to a lawyer. For a law firm specializing in asbestos-related injury, check out Williams Kherkher today.