A sbestos is a term used for the fibrous forms of several naturally-occurring minerals. All asbestos deposits originate from cystallisation of molten rock which, on cooling, produces the various types of fibrous forms. It is usually found as thin veins, up to a few inches thick, between layers of the parent rock, which may be in non-fibrous or crystalline form.

Asbestos types

There are two varieties of asbestos: amphibole and serpentine.

Amphibole include:

  • Crocidolite (often referred to as ‘blue asbestos’)
  • Amosite (often referred to as ‘brown asbestos’)
  • Anthophyllite
  • Tremolite
  • Actinolite

Serpentine that include:

  • Chrysotile (often referred to as ‘white asbestos)

When asbestos is disturbed or damaged, it releases tiny fibres into the air. These fibres can easily be inhaled without the person even noticing. They can become trapped in the nose or throat, or they can work their way into the lung or digestive tract. Once the fibres enter the body, this is when they start to cause health problems.

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