There are six types of Asbestos that naturally occur in rock deposits found around the world: actinolite asbestos, amosite asbestos, anthophyllite asbestos, chrysotile asbestos, crocidolite asbestos, and tremolite asbestos.
Chrysotile asbestos is most frequently used in the industrial workplace and accounts for over 90% of asbestos usage. Its curled fibers are less sharp which makes it flexible enough to being used for many purposes, such as fire-proof curtains and firefighter suits. Although proponents argue that it is not a serious health threat because the curly fibers are not easily inhaled, it is the most widely-used type of asbestos and is believed to be linked to more incidences of asbestos-related illnesses than other types of asbestos.
Crocidolite asbestos is thought to be the most hazardous form of asbestos to humans because it can easily penetrate the body’s tissue. It has straight fibers which are blue in color and resemble human hair. The fibers are so flexible they can bend to 90 degrees before breaking. The fibers are naturally formed into long straight bundles which are easily inhaled. It is less heat resistant than other types of asbestos and therefore was unsuitable for many uses. It generally mined in Africa and Australia and is primarily used in cement.
Amosite asbestos is known to be the second most dangerous type of asbestos due to its jagged, needle like fibers that easily break off and are effortlessly inhaled. It is considered highly carcinogenic and extremely dangerous. Amosite is an acronym for the Asbestos Mines of South Africa. The fibers are brown or grey in color and used in ceiling tiles, thermal and chemical insulation and casings for water, electric and telecommunication services.
Anthophyllite asbestos is associated with talc and other minerals. Primarily mined in Finland, its fibers are white, gray or brown in color. Its fibers are long and sharp taking on a chainlike appearance and have lower strength than other forms of asbestos. Its flexibility allows it to be easily inhaled getting lodged in the chest area. This type of asbestos can be found in several regions of the United States including the states of Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, North Carolina and Montana. It was usually found as a contaminant in composite flooring.
Actinolite asbestos is not as flexible as other asbestos fibers due to its harsh texture. Like other types of asbestos, it is found in rocks and soil. In 2002, asbestos rock containing 10 percent of actinolite was found at the site of the Stevens Institute in New Jersey. Though relatively rare, it can be found as a contaminant in some asbestos products including sheet gaskets, packing products and brakes. Actinolite is a known health risk because its tiny sharp fibers are easy to inhale and difficult to expel. Once they are absorbed into the body they cause scarring and irritation that often leads to asbestos-related diseases. However, there are said to be non-fibrous forms of actinolite that do not pose any health risks.
Tremolite asbestos fibers are white or gray blade-shaped crystals. This type of asbestos can be found as a contaminant of whitewash powder. Many studies have confirmed that exposure to tremolite and the process of mixing the tremolite contaminated whitewash product can cause asbestosis, malignant mesothelioma or other lung cancers when the needlelike fibers enter the respiratory system.
Researchers and medical professionals continue to stress that no level of asbestos exposure is safe. The Philadelphia asbestos attorneys at Brookman, Rosenberg, Brown & Sandler have witnessed firsthand the devastating effect malignant mesothelioma, asbestosis and other asbestos-related diseases can have on families. If you or someone you love may have been exposed to asbestos at work or within your community and is now suffering from lung cancer, mesothelioma or another asbestos-related illness, contact our Philadelphia asbestos attorneys. With offices in Center City Philadelphia, we are conveniently located to represent victims of asbestos throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Call us today at 800-369-0899 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.