Asbestos is a dangerous mineral that has been used by people for centuries. The mineral is fibrous in nature and goes airborne very quickly when it is disturbed or damaged. When it goes airborne, the tiny fibers of this mineral are easily breathed in. This is the most common way that asbestos negatively affects people’s health. The tiny fibers travel down into the lungs of the person that breathed them in and, when lodged deep into the tissue, cause many lung diseases and cancers. Asbestos can also cause cancer when it comes into contact with a person’s skin. Although all asbestos is dangerous, there are multiple types of asbestos minerals, each one affecting the body a little bit differently.
There are two different families of asbestos, serpentine and amphibole. Due to the makeup of serpentine, it is not considered as dangerous as amphibole asbestos. The amphibole asbestos will cause cancer with much less exposure than serpentine asbestos will.
Under the two families of asbestos, there are six different types of asbestos. These include chrysotile, amosite, crocidolite, anthophyllite, tremolite, and actinolite. Although all of these types are asbestos, they were used for different products.
Chrysotile is the most common form of asbestos. You can still find chrysotile asbestos in many different buildings built before the 1980’s. Chrysotile was used in products such as roofs, ceilings, walls and floors. When performing a home renovation or do it yourself project, this is the type of asbestos that you will most likely encounter.
Amosite is also a commonly used type of asbestos. It was commonly used in insulation projects, ceiling tiles, and pipe insulation.
Crocidolite is also used to insulate products. Due to the heat-resistant nature of asbestos, it is the perfect mineral to use for insulation. Crocidolite is used in products such as pipe insulation and cement products.
The other three types of asbestos, anthophyllite, tremolite, and actinolite are not commonly used. You will most likely will not encounter these types of asbestos in your day-to-day life.