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Here Are Some Types of Asbestos You Need to Watch Out for

Asbestos is a pernicious group of naturally occurring fibrous minerals that can be dangerous to your health. Please note, if you believe you may have been exposed to mold or asbestos, then immediately contact a general contractor to proceed with the initial stages of the remediation process.


According to Penn Medicine, there are six different types of asbestos that belong to two sub mineral categories: amphibole and serpentine. Five of the six belong to the former type, which we will go over first.

To that end, we have provided different variations of asbestos you need to watch out for.


Moreover, while asbestos can certainly be hard to track at first, this type can be quite distinguishable from its other variations.


Actinolite by Robert M. Lavinsky via Wikimedia Commons.


For starters, Actinolite asbestos is typically dark in coloration and has sharp, needle-like fibers—when these are airborne, they can be quite easily inhaled, thereby potentially leading to various potential ailments.


As far as products go (and their integration with asbestos), actinolite used to be quite ubiquitous—it could be found in cement, insulation materials, drywall and even sealants, too.


This leads as a seamless segway to another antagonist on the asbestos danger spectrum—anthophyllite.


Also known as brown asbestos, and amosite is colloquially considered to be one of the more hazardous types to watch out for. Initially, these were mined in South Africa and have a material makeup of brittle, sharp, needle-like fibers that can also be seamlessly inhaled like its actinolite partner.


Additionally, amosite asbestos makes up about five percent of all asbestos materials typically found in used buildings in the United States, which makes it the second most commonly used type of asbestos next to chrysotile.


It should also be noted that amosite can be found in all but not limited to these products like: cement, electrical insulation, gaskets, roofing, thermal insulation, tiles and many others.


Anthophyllite Asbestos by Asbestorama via Flikr.

This brings us to another type of asbestos that shares many characteristics with amosite—anthophyllite.


Similar to the prior two variations, this variant is composed of long, needle-like fibers that can be easily and seamlessly inhaled into the lungs. In terms of coloration, these can be found with a brown or yellowish color that is materially composed of magnesium and iron—somewhat distinguishing it from its other counterparts.


It should also be noted that this is one of the rarer forms of asbestos, and is not typically found in consumer products. However, it can be seen in specific cement and insulation materials.


Tremolite amphibole in dolomitic marble by James St. John via Wikimedia Commons.

With tremolite asbestos, discoveries can be relatively seamless and are typically known for its seamless integration into fabric material. Like its other amphibole counterparts, this can be easily inhaled or even ingested. While it is no longer mined, it is still the source of many asbestos-related cancer and disease cases.


These range in color from a milky white to dark green; and they are also used in varying products like sealants, insulation, roofing and plumbing materials.



Blue asbestos (crocidolite) from South Africa by Siim Sepp via Wikimedia Commons.

This next variation is known for its exigently dangerous characteristics which every homeowner should be wary of.


This type is known as Crocidolite—or blue asbestos—is professionally recognized as the most hazardous and dangerous type in the amphibole family. With easy inhalation and having a composition of fine sharp fibers, it’s no wonder this type is especially problematic.


These can be found in cement, tiles and insulation materials. Studies have also found this could be the most responsible asbestos variation for more illnesses and deaths than any other type.


Chrysotile asbestos veins by James St. John via Flikr.

With the only known variant of serpentine mineral asbestos type, chrysotile is most known for being the most commonly used asbestos, making up to 90 to 95 percent of asbestos used in buildings across the U.S.


It is most lauded for its heat resistant properties and flexible fibers; and can be found in many products, including but not limited to: cement, clutches, rubber, plastics, roofing materials and many more.


This type is still mined to this day in Canada, Russia and Italy and has been the subject of much controversy among health professionals.


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