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chrysolite asbestos
White Asbestos Fibre

crocidolite asbestos
Blue Asbestos Fibre
amosite asbestos
Raw Brown Asbestos
There are three main types of asbestos, crocidolite (blue), amosite (brown) and chrysotile (white). Asbestos is the collective term used to describe several types of naturally occurring mineral rock. Rather than being a man-made substance as many people suppose, asbestos is actually mined in several countries throughout the world.

This family of silicate materials, contain silicon and oxygen, which give rise to the fibrous nature of the mineral. These fibrous structures were once prized for their softness, flexibility and resistance to fire. The fireproof threads of asbestos are stronger than steel and quite resilient, making asbestos appealing for a wide range of industrial applications.

However, it is the very strength and resilience of asbestos that also makes it dangerous to human health. Asbestos fibres can penetrate bodily tissues, particularly the lungs, eventually causing tumours to develop.

Each type of asbestos is decidedly different in physical and chemical properties depending on the other components of the rock, such as calcium, magnesium or iron.

  • Chrysotile (white) asbestos fibres tend to be a whitish colour and of a smooth, silky texture.
  • Crocidolite (blue) asbestos fibres are bright blue, usually shorter, straighter and less silky than chrysotile.
  • Amosite (brown) fibres tend to be brown in colour with fibres more brittle than either crocidolite or chrysotile.

The different types of asbestos cannot be identified by colour alone. This is not a reliable guide because of the many factors which can affect the original colour, i.e., dirt, the base colour of the materials the asbestos was mixed with, coloured surface coatings, etc. In order to accurately determine the type of asbestos it is necessary to carry out analysis on a small sample.

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