Not all natural substances are safe and healthy to be around. Some of them can be deadly carcinogens that cause horrible health problems in those exposed to them. One of these carcinogens is asbestos, a mineral found throughout the United States, Canada, and other countries.
Asbestos is the umbrella term for six fibrous silicate materials. They can be found in multiple rock types but are most commonly found in three: serpentinites (named because of its snake like appearance), altered ultramafic rocks, and some mafic rocks. These six types of asbestos can be broken down into two categories: serpentine and amphibole.
- Chrysotile (White Asbestos)-95 percent of all the asbestos in commercial use, considered the safest type but is still very dangerous. Chrysotile is found in many types of asbestos products used in industrial settings such as: gloves, aprons, gaskets, packing, pumps, valves, and wallboard.
- Tremolite- Not used industrially but can be found in small amounts in some talcum powders
- Actinolite-Not used industrially
- Anthrophylite-Not used industrially but can be found in some vermiculites
- Amosite (Brown Asbestos)- Is found in Africa and is used industrially in cements, sheet, block and pipe insulation
- Crocidolite (Blue Asbestos)- Found in Africa and Australia, considered the most dangerous type
Asbestos is formed by faulting (cracking) and fracturing of rock with increased temperatures, pressures, and the presence of water. It can occur in large deposits or can even be found as contaminants in other minerals. An example of this is chrysotile being found as veins in serpentine rock formations. Since asbestos is found in natural rock formations, it can be easy to release it into the environment. This can be done by mining or weathering of the rock. Any amount of erosion can dislodge the fibers and release them into the air. Erosion can even cause asbestos to be released into water and soil. People can then be exposed by simply going near the contaminated site.
Do you or a loved one have asbestosis, mesothelioma, or lung cancer? All three of these diseases can be caused by asbestos exposure. If you have been exposed to asbestos you may be entitled to file a claim. Fill out our contact form or call us at 412-471-3980 to speak to one of our attorneys.
“Asbestos (Chrysotile, Amosite, Crocidolite, Tremolite, Actinolite, and Anthophyllite)” IARC [Link]
Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica, “Asbestos” Encyclopaedia Britannica (November 10, 2006). [Link]
“Types of Asbestos” Mesothelioma Research Foundation of America [Link]
“Where is Asbestos Found?” Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (August 12, 2010). [Link]