Types of Asbestos

There are two common types of asbestos, amphibole and chrysotile. Several studies show that amphibole fibers stay in the lungs longer than chrysotile, and this may explain the tendency to increase their toxicity (harmfulness to the body).

Which differ in their physical characteristics. chrysotile asbestos develops in a layered or tiered form, whereas amphibole asbestos has a chain-like structure.

Asbestos Common Types

The three most common types of fibers are:

* Chrysotile (white asbestos): A white curly fiber, chrysotile accounts for 90% of asbestos in products and is a member of the serpentine group. It is a magnesium silicate.
* Amosite: Brown or gray, straight amosite fibers belong in the amphibole group, and contain iron and magnesium.
* Crocidolite (Riebeckite): A member of the amphibole group, crocidolite takes the form of blue, straight fibers. It is a sodium iron magnesium silicate.

The other asbestos types, all in the amphibole group, are anthophyllite, tremolite, and actinolite. Anthophyllite ranges in color from white to gray to brown. It is associated with talc and other minerals, and is a magnesium iron silicate hydroxide.

  • Anthophyllite asbestos is commonly identified by its white brittle fibers that are made of crystals and have a chain-like appearance. This type of asbestos is formed by the breakdown of talc in ultramafic rock, and as such, anthophyllite is a common contaminant of talc. Although anthophyllite asbestos is not often used for industrial purposes, the fibers can occasionally be found among the natural minerals that expand with the application of heat, such as vermiculite (which is commonly added to gardening soil).

  • Relatively Tremolite is a common mineral found in most metamorphic rocks. Its color ranges from a creamy white to dark green. Tremolite asbestos has been used for industrial purposes (though not as much as chrysotile) and has been identified as an ingredient in some household products, primarily talcum powder (which is also a known carcinogen). This form of asbestos is the major asbestiform contaminant of The Infamous vermiculite mine in Libby, Montana.

  • Actinolite asbestos is a Relatively common mineral in metamorphic rocks existing. This type of asbestos is usually green, white, or gray and it is closely related to the aforementioned minerals tremolite (actinolite contains a greater presence of iron over magnesium than tremolite). Actinolite does not have a strong history of commercial or industrial use, but it may be a contaminant in asbestos products. There are non-fibrous actinolite variants of that do not pose the same health threats associated with exposure to Commercially exploited forms of asbestos.