The 6 Different Kinds of Asbestos Present the Same Health Dangers

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All asbestos is dangerous, but not all asbestos is the same. Asbestos is a term that includes six different types of minerals. These minerals have distinct characteristics and different uses. However, they all have one thing in common: they can all cause asbestos-related diseases such as mesothelioma and lung cancer.

Brown asbestos fibersThe Different Types of Asbestos

The six common forms of asbestos can be divided into two groups. Each of these groups, and each of the forms of asbestos within the groups, have different characteristics.

Serpentine Asbestos

Serpentine asbestos develops in layers or sheets of curly fibers. One type of serpentine asbestos is the most widely used form of asbestos in the world. That form is known as:

  • Chrysotile. Chrysotile is also known as white asbestos. It was widely used in building materials and can still be found in the walls, floors, roofs, and ceilings of residential homes and other buildings. Additionally, chrysotile was commonly used in car brake linings, gaskets, and boiler seals.

Ninety-five percent of asbestos that has been used around the world is chrysotile. Due to the health dangers associated with this widely used form of asbestos, some countries have banned its use and others permit some controlled use of it. In the United States, the use of chrysotile and other forms of asbestos is regulated, but it is not banned.

Amphibole Asbestos

The different kinds of amphibole asbestos all have needle-like fibers that develop in a chain-like formation. While the different types of amphibole asbestos are used less commonly than serpentine asbestos, some research suggests that it takes less exposure to amphibole asbestos to make someone sick. The different types of amphibole asbestos include:

  • Amosite. Amosite, also known as brown asbestos and Grunerite, was most commonly used in cement sheeting and pipe insulation. It can also be found in other forms of insulation and in ceiling tiles. Amosite is the second most common form of asbestos used in the United States, after chrysotile.
  • Crocidolite. Crocidolite, also known as blue asbestos, was most commonly used as insulation in steam engines. Additionally, it was used in plastics, cement, and pipe insulation. While every type of asbestos is dangerous, crocidolite may be the most dangerous of all of the different types.
  • Anthophyllite. This type of asbestos may be white, gray, or a dull green color. Anthophyllite was not as widely used as other forms of asbestos, but it was used in some insulation and construction materials. More commonly, it contaminated other products such as talc, vermiculite, and chrysotile.
  • Tremolite. Tremolite fibers can be white, brown, gray, green, or translucent. Unlike other forms of asbestos, tremolite was not mined or used on its own for insulation or other commercial purposes. However, people were exposed to it because it did contaminate other products like talc, vermiculite, and chrysotile.
  • Actinolite. Actinolite, which is often dark green in color, was not used on its own for commercial purposes. However, as is the case with anthophyllite and tremolite, it did contaminate other forms of asbestos and minerals and it has been found in a variety of products including paint and children’s toys.

While the different types of asbestos are not readily apparent to the naked eye, they can be identified by experts with the aid of a microscope.

The Common Dangers Caused by All Six Types of Asbestos

There is no known amount of any type of asbestos that is safe.

Regardless of which type of asbestos you were exposed to and how much of it you inhale, you may develop a serious asbestos-related illness such as:

  • Mesothelioma. Exposure to asbestos is a known cause of mesothelioma in approximately 85% of diagnosed cases. Mesothelioma typically develops many decades after exposure to asbestos. Currently, there is no cure for mesothelioma and many people do not live long after being diagnosed.
  • Lung cancer. While there are other causes of lung cancer, asbestos is a known cause of lung cancer. Lung cancer that is caused by asbestos typically develops 15 to 35 years after exposure. Since at least 1935, medical researchers have thought that asbestos could cause lung cancer. That hypothesis was confirmed in 1942, and by 1986 the Occupational Health & Safety Administration (OSHA) declared lung cancer to be the greatest risk of working with asbestos.

If you have suffered one of these illnesses because of asbestos exposure, then your time to take action is limited.

Our experienced asbestos injury lawyers can help you make a fair recovery. We work on a contingency fee basis, which means we don't charge for our services until after your claim is settled. Our fee is based upon a percentage of your settlement, so there are no upfront costs required for you to get the legal help you need.  

Act now to get what you deserve. Simply contact us online or call us directly at (318) 541-8188 to schedule a meeting about protecting your fair compensation.

Richard J. Arsenault
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Recognized by several legal associations, Richard Arsenault has vast experience in complex litigation cases.