There are two general types of asbestos minerals. Serpentine asbestos fibers are curly rather than straight while still displaying friable properties.
Chrysotile is the only known serpentine asbestos form of a mineral, and it accounts for about 95% of asbestos found within U.S. buildings. Common uses of chrysotile asbestos include plaster compounds, drywall, pipe insulation, cement, industrial gaskets, flooring tiles, brake linings and fire barriers.
Amphibole Asbestos Forms
Amphibole asbestos fibers are straight and needle-like in appearance. The remaining asbestos-form minerals all have amphibole fibers.
- Amosite — brown-colored asbestos commonly used in ceiling tiles or as a flame retardant material in insulation
- Crocidolite — blue-green asbestos; among the most friable and therefore deadly; once used in gas mask filters and cigarette filters
- Tremolite — a white or bluish-gray asbestos found as a natural component in vermiculite, chrysotile and talc, the latter of which is used to make talcum powder
- Vermiculite — vermiculite is a mineral formed under extreme heat that can contain traces of asbestos in certain forms; common uses include soil additives and soundproofing materials
- Anthophyllite — a mineral material once commonly mined in Japan, Finland, and Australia; its fibrous, asbestos form was used in insulation, roofing materials and flooring
- Actinolite — a less-common, dark-colored asbestos mineral used in similar applications as vermiculite, such as insulation and soil additives
Which Type of Asbestos Is The Most Dangerous?
All types of asbestos are friable and therefore hazardous to your health. However, crocidolite asbestos is likely the most dangerous of any of the types of asbestos.
With a low concentration of metallic elements in its chemical composition, it tends to fracture into tiny, straight, needle-like fibers more readily than other types of asbestos.
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