What Is Asbestos Types | Who is at Risk for Mesothelioma Cancer

Asbestos Studies show that asbestos exposure is the principal cause of Mesothelioma. However, there are no findings as to the level of asbestos exposure that is needed to determine that vulnerability exists for an individual.

Asbestos Exposure and Cancer

Once inhaled,asbestos can travel and lodge itself into the body’s tissue. Research suggests that this exposure leads to inflammation or irritation. When asbestos is absorbed, it causes a release of chemicals. What happens first is in question. Is it that asbestos fibers promote cells to release the chemicals, therebyintroducing cancerous cells, or is it that the injuring of the tissue that leads to the release of chemicals to the cancerous cells?

What is asbestos?

Asbestos is a natural mineral, which is heat, fire, and chemical resistant.The substance was popular in the commercial industry in the late 1970’s.Fibers woven into a thin thread, can become brittle and float in the air. When this happens, it can be inhaled and land on or stick to someone’s clothing. Asbestos can also reside on exposed surfaces of individuals bodies.

Asbestos Types

There are six different types:

  • Chrysotile
  • Anthophyllite
  • Amosite
  • Tremolite
  • Crocidolite
  • Actinolite

The two groups are Serpentine and Amphibole asbestos. Three types are classified, and three are not. Asbestos classified by color includes: White for Chrysotile, Brown for Amosite and Blue for Crocidolite. Group 1 has one type, and group 2 has five.

Groups Of Asbestos In Nature:

Group 1

The first group is Serpentine, a variety of asbestos that has a layered structure and curly fibers. This group only includes one type, that is most often used in buildings in the United States, Chrysotile.

Chrysotile (White asbestos)

The most common type of asbestos, Chrysotile, was widely used in the world’s developed countries and is the only kind still mined. Estimates suggest that Chrysotile accounts for about 90-95% of all asbestos that remains in buildings in the U.S. and Canada and logically accounts for most of the health problems. Today, companies that mine Chrysotile continue to say it is safe.

Group 2

The second group is Amphibole, a variety of asbestos is characterized by a long chain-like structure of fibers that are sharp, straight and easy to inhale. The remaining five types of asbestos: amosite, crocidolite, anthophyllite, tremolite, and actinolite, are included in this category. Amosite, recognized as the second most likely type of asbestos found in buildings, and crocidolite were widely used in products until the 1980s.

Crocidolite (Blue asbestos)

Crocidolite is by far the most lethal form of asbestos. About 4% of all asbestos used was in the United States. It is brittle and breaks more readily than other types of asbestos. Once severed, its needle-like fibers make it easy to inhale the mineral. The typical usage was for making yarns, rope lagging, and as a reinforcement material for plastics. Crocidolite exposure has caused a staggering 18 percent of miners to develop asbestos cancer.

Amosite (Brown)

Amosite is considered the second most likely type of asbestos found in buildings. Until the 1980’s, Amosite and Crocidolite products were in use in the US.

Anthophyllite (Unclassified)

Anthophyllite has long, flexible fibers, and associated with different respiratory disorders.

Tremolite (Unclassified)

Tremolite undeniably associated with the development of Mesothelioma is responsible for other asbestos-related cancers as well.

Actinolite (Unclassified)

Actinolite asbestos compared to other forms of asbestos is exceedingly rare.

Lethal Asbestos Classification By Color:

Blue Asbestos

“Blue” asbestos, the most lethal form of asbestos, has needle-like fibers. These fibers can break quickly and are more brittle than other types of asbestos. Broken asbestos fibers become easy to inhale. “Blue” asbestos use was for making yarns, rope lagging, and as a reinforcement material for plastics.

Studies show that “Blue” asbestos accounts for about 90-95 percent of all asbestos that remains in buildings in the U.S. and Canada. It is responsible for most of the asbestos-related health problems. “Blue” asbestos was also frequently used during World War II and the Korean War aboard U.S. Navy ships. It was used for fireproofing and in insulation on these vessels.

“Blue” asbestos was woven into cloth and used to make theater curtains. Because of its heat resistant properties, it was used to make protective clothing for individuals working with high-temperature equipment or liquids. It was an ingredient in cement and deemed helpful in manufacturing friction products like clutches, brake shoes, and disk pads. This mineral’s recent use was in the nuclear energy industry.

Brown Asbestos

“Brown” asbestos, was used for approximately 30 years to insulate factories and buildings and was widely used until the 1980’s. The fibers are sharp, straight and easily inhaled. They are found in buildings and have acoustical and anti-condensation qualities. “Brown” asbestos is no longer mined and banned in most countries. The category, “Brown” asbestos is responsible for different respiratory disorders.


We hope you enjoyed our post about Asbestos Exposure and Cancer. It was a pleasure to be able to share this information with you today. If you want to learn more about asbestos exposure, asbestos cancer, or mesothelioma. We are always excited about the opportunity to share information about cancer and asbestos exposure with our readers. If you have any questions about asbestos cancer, Thank you for reading!

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