There are six asbestos minerals, which are often arranged into two groups:
The Serpentine Asbestos Group
There is only one known mineral that comprises this category: Chrysotile. Chrysotile asbestos has its own group because its asbestos fibers are very long, flexible, and snake-like (or serpentine), in contrast to the fibers of all of the asbestos minerals in the amphibole group, which are straight and often more brittle. Before strict restrictions were placed on asbestos use, chrysotile asbestos accounted for about 95 percent of the uses of asbestos in the U.S.; amosite was the second most frequently used, and crocidolite was third. Part of the reason that chrysotile asbestos was so widely used is that its fibers are very versatile and flexible.
The Amphibole Asbestos Group
Amphibole asbestos includes these five other minerals:
This category of minerals with straight, brittle fibers includes some of the more dangerous forms of asbestos, including crocidolite, or “blue” asbestos. While chrysotile asbestos made up 95 percent of the asbestos usage in the U.S., these other forms that were used often posed more severe dangers.
See also 6 Different Types of Asbestos substances.
The Dangers of Asbestos Minerals
Both groups of minerals, serpentine and amphibole asbestos, pose specific dangers to human beings when inhaled. It’s important to note that all of these minerals are naturally occurring; they are not synthetic or man-made. They exist in the earth’s crust, but when brought above ground, they pose threats.
These minerals are capable of inducing asbestos-related diseases such as mesothelioma, lung cancer, and asbestosis. Thousands of people in the U.S. have died from asbestos-related diseases.
Uses of Asbestos Minerals
All six forms of asbestos are highly regulated minerals, with limited uses in the U.S. and most other industrialized countries. The minerals vary in regard to their applications, but they can be found in thousands of American products. Here are a few examples:
- Flat sheets or tiles
- Thick boards
- Spun and woven cloth
- Cement, plastics, and insulation materials
- Brake linings and car parts
- Pipes and electrical wiring insulation
- Rope seals
Get Help If You’ve Been Exposed to These Minerals
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, asbestosis, or another asbestos-related disease, you will most likely qualify to recover compensation for your injuries and losses and should contact a knowledgeable lawyer. For more information about your legal rights and treatment options, contact Mesothelioma Treatment Centers today and schedule a no-cost consultation with an attorney who will fight to protect your legal rights.