The different type of asbestos to watch out for:
- What is asbestos:
Asbestos is a term used for six different types of naturally occurring silicate minerals. The base constitution of asbestos is usually fibrous crystals that is long and thin in nature and the fibrous contains many microscopic fibrils. The main reason of the huge popularity of asbestos is the high level of heat resistance and it is a excellent electric insulator. During 60s- 80s asbestos was the most common materials for building materials. Though the health and safety hazards are well known and because of these reasons asbestos are illegal in many countries. People who are exposed to the asbestos for long time can lead them to many kind of lung conditions such as asbestosis and cancer.
Archeological studies have shown proof the use of asbestos back in the stone age. However, the large scale mining started in 19th century and after a decade people started to notice the health hazards and possible risks of using asbestos as a commercial material.
- Types of Asbestos:
Environmental Protection Agency(EPA) has recognised the six minerals and they divided into two categories.
The fibers of amphibole are long and straight. It is well known as brown or blue asbestos.
There are five types of amphibole:
Crocidolite is a fiber form of amphibole and commonly known as blue asbestos. This kind of asbestos has soft straight friable fiber and primarily found in South Africa and Australia.
It can be found mostly in engine insulators, spray on paints, plastic and cement products.
Amosite is also a fiber form of amphibole and commonly found in South Africa. Under the microscope the fibers can be seen as brown long straight fiber.
The most common usage of brown asbestos is ceiling tiles, a flame retardant in thermal insulators and insulating board.
Anthophyllite is one of the six recognised kind of asbestos. It was mined in Finland for the first time and then Japan.The most interesting part is it take place as a contaminant in chrysotile. Generally it is grey or white in color.
Amphibole is not commonly used in commercial products. But still it can be found in
some thermal insulators, talcs and construction materials.
- Tremolite and Actinolite:
Tremolite and actinolite are not commonly used in commercial products. they also occurs as contaminant as in chrysotile. These two kinds are very similar in nature and their chemical structure is same as well. The color of these asbestos can be brown, white or transparent.
The fibers of serpentine are curly and chrysotile is the only one member of this kind.
Under the microscope chrysotile can be found as white fiber. It is the most common and can be found all over the world. That makes chrysotile asbestos broadly available for the commercial purposes.
Chrysotile is more flexible in nature than amphibole type of asbestos. This particular asbestos can be woven as febric.
The most common usage of chrysotile was building construction, cement roofing. It also can be found in ceiling, floors and walls. One of the quality of asbestos is heat resistance. So, it can be found in fire places, fire barriers in fuse boxes and gaskets of high temperature equipments.
- Industrial Usage:
Asbestos were used commercially in 1970s- 1980s. For over a decade it was the most common item in builds both residential and commercial. Apart form that asbestos has a very high heat resistance. Because of that many products were made of asbestos were available in the market.
Even in 1940s hospitals used asbestos blanket for patients.
- Serpentine Group:
Serpentine group has thin, layered and curly fibers. Chrysotile is the only mineral in this group and it can be woven as a fabric because of its thin layered quality. Chrysolite is most commonly used asbestos in United States. EPA studies showed that 95% building in United States contains asbestos. Australia and European union were a huge market for asbestos as well. Though both countries banned asbestos for its potential health hazards.
Still chrysolite can be found often in various products.
- Floor tiles, roofing and sheets.
- Industrial and marine gaskets.
- Fire places.
- Thermal pipe insulators.
- fire proof clothing for firefighters.
- Stage curtains.
- Drywall and compound.
- Acoustic ceiling.
- Transit panel and pipes.
- Amphibole Group:
Amosite and crocidolite best known as brown and blue asbestos has a very good amount of uses until 1980s. Particular these types of asbestos minerals caused contamination in naturally occurring chrysotile deposits.
People started to stop using these asbestos minerals in 1980s.
Here are a list that might contain amphibole asbestos:
- Low density insulating board.
- Thermal and chemical insulation.
- Asbestos cement sheets.
Lorillard, a cigarette manufacturing company used crocidolite asbestos as a filter. Crocidolite had been used in automobile break pads, shoes and clutch disks. Amphibole asbestos was also used for creating artificial snow.
Construction was a huge market area for chrysolite asbesto. For over a decade asbestos was most common material for constructions. Even in developed countries it was quit popular.
- Developed Countries:
Prior to the ban, asbestos was used widely in thousands of materials. Cement sheets, roofing, fire insulators, sprayed coating.
The use of asbestos in new construction projects are completely banned because of its health hazards in many developed countries such as, Australia, New Zealand, United Kingdom, European Union and japan. But surprisingly United States still uses asbestos in their building constructions.
Noe adays people are more concern about the situations and possible health issues. That is the reason people are looking for asbestos removal companies or agencies, where they provide experts to find out the asbestos in old buildings and remove it.
- Underdeveloped Countries:
Some Countries such as India, Indonesia, China, Brazil have continues the usage of asbestos. Millions of houses, schools, factories still has sheds and roofs of asbestos. They cut the sheet onsite to make a hole to secure the roof.
- Asbestos Contaminated products:
Talc has a huge use in commercial base. But tacl can be contaminated by asbestos. Therefore by 1973 regulation passed that talc manufacturer should not market asbestos contaminated talcs.