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Forms of Asbestos

Forms of Asbestos

Asbestos was widely used in the U.S. throughout much of the twentieth century. It provided resistance to heat and fire for countless products at a fairly inexpensive price. Unfortunately, microscopic asbestos fibers also can cause the development of serious diseases, such as mesothelioma, lung cancer and asbestosis. Further, while the use of asbestos has almost ended, new cases of asbestos-related diseases are still diagnosed to this day.

Asbestos Types

There are six substances that are considered asbestos, with five of them being part of the amphibole mineral family. The other, chrysotile, is part of the serpentine mineral family. The Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) classified asbestos into these six forms and the EPA adopted these classifications in 1976.

Chrysotile (also called white asbestos) was used extensively during the industrial age. During that period, it is estimated that chrysotile accounted for over 95% of all asbestos use. Additionally, 90 to 95% of asbestos used in the U.S. for commercial applications was chrysotile. Though its use has declined significantly over the past few decades, many places continue to allow "controlled use" of chrysotile asbestos. Some of the products that this form of asbestos can be found in include gaskets, cement, insulation, brake parts, and roofing materials.

The rest of the asbestos types are part of the amphibole family. This includes two commercially valuable types (amosite, or brown asbestos and crocidolite, or blue asbestos), as well as three types that were not commercially used. Each of the amphibole asbestos types are longer and straighter than chrysotile fibers.

Amosite was used because it provided tensile strength and heat resistance to products. Some of these products included cement sheets, insulation, and tiles (for ceilings, roofs, and floors). According to the EPA, amosite was the second most commonly used asbestos in the U.S.

The other commercially valuable type of asbestos is crocidolite, which has very thin fibers. Crocidolite is also more brittle than other amphibole asbestos, which means it can break down much more easily. This also increases the chance that an individual may breathe in those fibers. Crocidolite was used in ceiling tiles, chemical insulation, and electrical and telecommunication wires.

The other three forms of asbestos, though not commercially used, can still be found as a contaminant in some asbestos products.

Help for Victims

If you have been diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease, it may be possible to make a claim against those responsible for your exposure to asbestos. For more information, speak with an experienced attorney today. At the Throneberry Law Group, our attorneys will travel to you to represent you in your case. We look forward to discussing how we can help.

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