Home Arrow Asbestos

White Asbestos

Asbestos is a group of minerals that occur naturally as bundles of fibers and which can be separated into thin threads. Although some countries have outlawed the mining of asbestos, it is still mined in several countries such as Russia. This mineral has been used for many years in the manufacturing industries. Asbestos fibers have certain desirable properties such as resistance to heat and chemicals. They are also good insulators of electricity (i.e. they do not conduct electricity), have great flexibility and are able to support a high level of stress before breaking. Because of these desirable properties, asbestos had been widely used in the past in many industries and it is still used today in various industries.

Asbestos minerals can be classified into two groups: Serpentine and Amphibole. Chrysolite or white asbestos is the only asbestos mineral that belong to the serpentine group. Chrysolite has been the most asbestos minerals widely used in industry. Approximately it accounts to 95% of asbestos found in buildings through the United States. It is also present in many materials such as vinyl floor tiles, pipes, adhesives and many other products. Chrysolite is banned in the European Union and Australia and so it is not used any more in these countries.

In the Amphibole group there are five types of asbestos minerals: Amosite (brown asbestos), crocidolite (blue asbestos), anthophillite (grey asbestos), tremolite and actinolite. Amosite is the second most likely type of asbestos minerals to be found in buildings in the United States.  The asbestos minerals in the amphibole group were banned in many parts of the western world.

Prolonged exposure to airborne asbestos particles does not only cause mesothelioma but also other type of diseases such as asbestosis, pleural disease, lung cancer and other type of cancers and tumors.