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.