Asbestos has been in the news for the adverse effects that it produces in construction sites where contamination hazards have been found. It is imperative that we understand more about this substance and the different categories of asbestos that exist. If you thought that it is a manufactured material, you would be mistaken. This is a mineral that naturally occurs. It is known to have fire retardant properties for which it became popular in the making of roofs in olden days. It is also known to offer insulation properties. Hence, it was put to use not only in the making of roofs but also for the roofs of vehicles. Later on, it was discovered that fibers that are released from asbestos substances cause an aggressive form of cancer also known as mesothelioma.
Categories of asbestos
There are six main categories of asbestos – Crocidolite, Anthophyllite, Amosite, Chrysotile, Tremolite, and Actinolite. Among these different types, Crocidolite is easily recognized for its blue hues. It is naturally occurring in different parts of the world such as in Australia, Canada, and Russia. It is also considered the most toxic of all categories of asbestos. Amosite has gray and brown hues and its fibers are brittle and straight. This is found in large quantities in South Africa. Anthophyllite asbestos comes in different colors like gray, brown, green, white and others. Before it used to be put in paints, sealants and even in talcum powder in the powder like quality its fibers have. Tremolite is a white asbestos found in rocks in Switzerland.
Due to the recent discovery of carcinogens found in asbestos types, it is still mined in different parts of the world but with due precaution. The substances are banned from consumer purchase in several countries such as Europe and US.