Though the use of asbestos is now strongly controlled, it is a good idea to know the different disease-causing types. Being aware of these types of asbestos and where they are used can help you determine whether or not you were exposed to them in Pennsylvania.
What is asbestos?
Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that was at one time widely used in construction. There are two families including amphibole mineral and serpentine mineral. Amphibole asbestos consists of sharp, straight chain fibers that are easy to inhale, while serpentine asbestos, also called white asbestos, is curly and layered.
When determining where asbestos exposure occurred, it is helpful knowing where it was used. There are five types of asbestos in the Amphibole mineral family. These types include:
- Actinolite asbestos—used in cement, insulation, sealants, paint and drywall
- Amosite asbestos—the second most common type of asbestos used in 5% of all buildings for fire protection, gaskets, roofing, plumbing and electrical insulation and tiles
- Anthophyllite asbestos—a rare form of asbestos; used sometimes in insulation materials and cement
- Crocidolite asbestos—the most hazardous type of asbestos in amphibole family, it causes the most disease and death due to ease of inhaling. Often used in cement, insulation materials and tiles
- Tremolite asbestos—no longer used; responsible for many asbestos diseases and cancers; previously used in paint, roofing materials, sealants and plumbing materials
There is only one type of asbestos in the Serpentine mineral family: Chrysotile asbestos. This is the most commonly-used type of asbestos making up almost 95% of all asbestos use in the country.
Chrysotile asbestos is responsible for the majority of asbestos-related diseases because of their wide and continued use today. They can be found in many products including brake lining and pads, clutches, rubber, asphalt and plastics. It is still being mined in Italy, Russia and Canada.