|Formula mass||277.11 g|
|Color||Green, red, yellow, white, blue|
|Crystal habit||Amorphous, granular, massive|
|Mohs scale hardness||2.5–3|
|2V angle||20° to 60°|
Asbestos is a set of six naturally occurring silicate minerals,which all have in common their asbestiform habit: i.e., long (roughly 1:20 aspect ratio), thin fibrous crystals, with each visible fiber composed of millions of microscopic "fibrils" that can be released by abrasion and other processes. The minerals are chrysotile, amosite, crocidolite, tremolite, anthophyllite, and actinolite.
Silicate minerals are rock-forming minerals made up of silicate groups. They are the largest and most important class of minerals and make up approximately 90 percent of the Earth's crust.
Asbestiform is a crystal habit. It describes a mineral that grows in a fibrous aggregate of high tensile strength, flexible, long, and thin crystals that readily separate. The most common asbestiform mineral is chrysotile, commonly called "white asbestos", a magnesium phyllosilicate part of the serpentine group. Other asbestiform minerals include riebeckite, an amphibole whose fibrous form is known as crocidolite or "blue asbestos", and brown asbestos, a cummingtonite-grunerite solid solution series.
In mineralogy, crystal habit is the characteristic external shape of an individual crystal or crystal group. A single crystal's habit is a description of its general shape and its crystallographic forms, plus how well developed each form is.
Asbestos has been mined for over 4,000 years, but large-scale mining began at the end of the 19th century, when manufacturers and builders began using asbestos for its desirable physical properties.Some of those properties are sound absorption, average tensile strength, affordability, and resistance to fire, heat, and electricity. It was used in such applications as electrical insulation for hotplate wiring and in building insulation. When asbestos is used for its resistance to fire or heat, the fibers are often mixed with cement or woven into fabric or mats. These desirable properties led to asbestos being used very widely until the late 20th century.
Acoustic absorption refers to the process by which a material, structure, or object takes in sound energy when sound waves are encountered, as opposed to reflecting the energy. Part of the absorbed energy is transformed into heat and part is transmitted through the absorbing body. The energy transformed into heat is said to have been 'lost'.
Building insulation is any object in a building used as insulation for any purpose. While the majority of insulation in buildings is for thermal purposes, the term also applies to acoustic insulation, fire insulation, and impact insulation. Often an insulation material will be chosen for its ability to perform several of these functions at once.
Inhalation of asbestos fibers can cause serious and fatal illnesses including lung cancer, mesothelioma, and asbestosis (a type of pneumoconiosis).Asbestos is currently estimated to cause 255,000 deaths per year. Concern for asbestos-related illness began in the 20th century and escalated during the 1920s and 1930s. By the 1980s and 1990s, asbestos trade and use were heavily restricted, phased out, or banned outright in an increasing number of countries. Many developing countries still support the use of asbestos as a building material, and mining of asbestos is ongoing, with the top producer Russia producing around one million metric tonnes in 2015.
Inhalation happens when air or other gases enter the lungs.
Lung cancer, also known as lung carcinoma, is a malignant lung tumor characterized by uncontrolled cell growth in tissues of the lung. This growth can spread beyond the lung by the process of metastasis into nearby tissue or other parts of the body. Most cancers that start in the lung, known as primary lung cancers, are carcinomas. The two main types are small-cell lung carcinoma (SCLC) and non-small-cell lung carcinoma (NSCLC). The most common symptoms are coughing, weight loss, shortness of breath, and chest pains.
Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that develops from the thin layer of tissue that covers many of the internal organs. The most common area affected is the lining of the lungs and chest wall. Less commonly the lining of the abdomen and rarely the sac surrounding the heart, or the sac surrounding the testis may be affected. Signs and symptoms of mesothelioma may include shortness of breath due to fluid around the lung, a swollen abdomen, chest wall pain, cough, feeling tired, and weight loss. These symptoms typically come on slowly.
Despite the severity of asbestos-related diseases, the material has extremely widespread use in many areas. Continuing long-term use of asbestos after harmful health effects were known or suspected, and the slow emergence of symptoms decades after exposure ceased, made asbestos litigation the longest, most expensive mass tort in U.S. history though a much lesser legal issue in most other countries involved.Asbestos-related liability also remains an ongoing concern for many manufacturers, insurers and reinsurers.
The mineral asbestos is subject to a wide range of laws and regulations that relate to its production and use, including mining, manufacturing, use and disposal. Injuries attributed to asbestos have resulted in both workers' compensation claims and injury litigation. Health problems attributed to asbestos include:Asbestosis;Mesothelioma;Cancer; and Diffuse pleural thickening
A tort, in common law jurisdictions, is a civil wrong that causes a claimant to suffer loss or harm resulting in legal liability for the person who commits the tortious act. It can include the intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligence, financial losses, injuries, invasion of privacy, and many other things.
In law, liable means "responsible or answerable in law; legally obligated." Legal liability concerns both civil law and criminal law and can arise from various areas of law, such as contracts, torts, taxes, or fines given by government agencies. The claimant is the one who seeks to establish, or prove, liability. Claimants can prove liability through a myriad of different theories, known as theories of liability. Which theories of liability are available in a given case depends on nature of the law in question. For example, in case involving a contractual dispute, one available theory of liability is breach of contract; or in the tort context, negligence, negligence per se, respondeat superior, vicarious liability, strict liability, or intentional conduct are all valid theories of liability.
The word "asbestos", first used in the 1600s, ultimately derives from the Ancient Greek ἄσβεστος, meaning “unquenchable” or “inextinguishable”.The name reflects use of the substance for wicks that would never burn up.
The Ancient Greek language includes the forms of Greek used in Ancient Greece and the ancient world from around the 9th century BCE to the 6th century CE. It is often roughly divided into the Archaic period, Classical period, and Hellenistic period. It is antedated in the second millennium BCE by Mycenaean Greek and succeeded by medieval Greek.
A candle wick is usually a braided cotton that holds the flame of an oil lamp or candle. A candle wick works by capillary action, conveying ("wicking") the fuel to the flame. When the liquid fuel, typically melted candle wax, reaches the flame it then vaporizes and combusts. The candle wick influences how the candle burns. Important characteristics of the wick include diameter, stiffness, fire-resistance, and tethering.
It was adopted via the Old French abestos, which in turn got the word from Greek via Latin, but in the original Greek, it actually referred to quicklime. It is said by the Oxford English Dictionary to have been wrongly used by Pliny for asbestos, who popularized the misnomer. Asbestos was referred to in Greek as amiantos, meaning "undefiled", because it was not marked when thrown into a fire. This is the source for the word for asbestos in many languages, such as the Portuguese amianto. It had also been called "amiant" in English in the early 15th century, but this usage was superseded by "asbestos". // or // .The word is pronounced
Old French was the language spoken in Northern France from the 8th century to the 14th century. In the 14th century, these dialects came to be collectively known as the langue d'oïl, contrasting with the langue d'oc or Occitan language in the south of France. The mid-14th century is taken as the transitional period to Middle French, the language of the French Renaissance, specifically based on the dialect of the Île-de-France region.
Latin is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. The Latin alphabet is derived from the Etruscan and Greek alphabets and ultimately from the Phoenician alphabet.
Calcium oxide (CaO), commonly known as quicklime or burnt lime, is a widely used chemical compound. It is a white, caustic, alkaline, crystalline solid at room temperature. The broadly used term lime connotes calcium-containing inorganic materials, in which carbonates, oxides and hydroxides of calcium, silicon, magnesium, aluminium, and iron predominate. By contrast, quicklime specifically applies to the single chemical compound calcium oxide. Calcium oxide that survives processing without reacting in building products such as cement is called free lime.
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People have used asbestos for thousands of years to create flexible objects, such as napkins, that resist fire. In the modern era, companies began producing asbestos consumer goods on an industrial scale. Now people recognize the health hazard that asbestos poses, and it is banned or strictly regulated around the world.[ citation needed ]
Asbestos use dates back at least 4,500 years, when the inhabitants of the Lake Juojärvi region in East Finland strengthened earthenware pots and cooking utensils with the asbestos mineral anthophyllite (see Asbestos-ceramic).One of the first descriptions of a material that may have been asbestos is in Theophrastus, On Stones, from around 300 BC, although this identification has been questioned. In both modern and ancient Greek, the usual name for the material known in English as "asbestos" is amiantos ("undefiled", "pure"), which was adapted into the French as amiante and into Spanish and Portuguese as amianto. In modern Greek, the word ἀσβεστος or ασβέστης stands consistently and solely for lime.
The term asbestos is traceable to Roman naturalist Pliny the Elder's manuscript Natural History , and his use of the term asbestinon, meaning "unquenchable".While Pliny or his nephew Pliny the Younger is popularly credited with recognising the detrimental effects of asbestos on human beings, examination of the primary sources reveals no support for either claim.
Wealthy Persians amazed guests by cleaning a cloth by exposing it to fire. For example, according to Tabari, one of the curious items belonging to Khosrow II Parviz, the great Sassanian king (r. 531–579), was a napkin (Persian : منديل) that he cleaned simply by throwing it into fire. Such cloth is believed to have been made of asbestos imported over the Hindu Kush. According to Biruni in his book, Gems, any cloths made of asbestos (Persian : آذرشست, āzarshost) were called shostakeh (Persian : شستكه). Some Persians believed the fiber was the fur of an animal, called the samandar (Persian : سمندر), which lived in fire and died when exposed to water, which was where the former belief that the salamander could tolerate fire originated.
Charlemagne, the first Holy Roman Emperor (800–814), is said to have had a tablecloth made of asbestos.
Marco Polo recounts having been shown, in a place he calls Ghinghin talas, "a good vein from which the cloth which we call of salamander, which cannot be burnt if it is thrown into the fire, is made ..."
Some archaeologists believe that ancients made shrouds of asbestos, wherein they burned the bodies of their kings, in order to preserve only their ashes, and prevent them being mixed with those of wood or other combustible materials commonly used in funeral pyres. [ page needed ]Others assert that the ancients used asbestos to make perpetual wicks for sepulchral or other lamps. A famous example is the golden lamp asbestos lychnis, which the sculptor Callimachus made for the Erechtheion. In more recent centuries, asbestos was indeed used for this purpose. Although asbestos causes skin to itch upon contact, ancient literature indicates that it was prescribed for diseases of the skin, and particularly for the itch. It is possible that they used the term asbestos for soapstone, because the two terms have often been confused throughout history.
The large-scale asbestos industry began in the mid-19th century. Early attempts at producing asbestos paper and cloth in Italy began in the 1850s, but were unsuccessful in creating a market for such products. Canadian samples of asbestos were displayed in London in 1862, and the first companies were formed in England and Scotland to exploit this resource. Asbestos was first used in the manufacture of yarn, and German industrialist Louis Wertheim adopted this process in his factories in Germany.In 1871, the Patent Asbestos Manufacturing Company was established in Glasgow, and during the following decades, the Clydebank area became a centre for the nascent industry.
Industrial-scale mining began in the Thetford hills, Quebec, from the 1870s. Sir William Edmond Logan was the first to notice the large deposits of chrysotile in the hills in his capacity as head of Geological Survey of Canada. Samples of the minerals from here were displayed in London, and excited much interest.With the opening up of the Quebec Central Railway in 1876, mining entrepreneurs such as Andrew Stuart Johnson established the asbestos industry in the province. The 50 ton output of the mines in 1878 rose to over 10,000 tons in the 1890s with the adoption of machine technologies and expanded production. For a long time, the world's largest asbestos mine was the Jeffrey mine in the town of Asbestos, Quebec.
Asbestos production began in the Urals of the Russian Empire in the 1880s, and in the Alpine regions of Northern Italy with the formation in Turin of the Italo-English Pure Asbestos Company in 1876, although this was soon swamped by the greater production levels from the Canadian mines. Mining also took off in South Africa from 1893 under the aegis of the British businessman Francis Oates, the Director of the De Beers company.It was in South Africa that the production of amosite began in 1910. The U.S. asbestos industry had an early start in 1858, when fibrous anthophyllite was mined for use as asbestos insulation by the Johns Company, a predecessor to the current Johns Manville, at a quarry at Ward's Hill on Staten Island, New York. US production began in earnest in 1899, with the discovery of large deposits in the Belvidere Mountain.
The use of asbestos became increasingly widespread towards the end of the 19th century, when its diverse applications included fire-retardant coatings, concrete, bricks, pipes and fireplace cement, heat-, fire-, and acid-resistant gaskets, pipe insulation, ceiling insulation, fireproof drywall, flooring, roofing, lawn furniture, and drywall joint compound. In 2011 it was reported that over 50% of UK houses still contained asbestos, despite a ban on asbestos products some years earlier.
In Japan, particularly after World War II, asbestos was used in the manufacture of ammonium sulfate for purposes of rice production, sprayed upon the ceilings, iron skeletons, and walls of railroad cars and buildings (during the 1960s), and used for energy efficiency reasons as well. Production of asbestos in Japan peaked in 1974 and went through ups and downs until about 1990, when production began to drop dramatically.
In 1899, Montague Murray noted the negative health effects of asbestos.The first documented death related to asbestos was in 1906.
In the early 1900s researchers began to notice a large number of early deaths and lung problems in asbestos-mining towns. The first such study was conducted by H. Montague Murray at the Charing Cross Hospital, London, in 1900, in which a postmortem investigation of a young man who had died from pulmonary fibrosis after having worked for 14 years in an asbestos textile factory, discovered asbestos traces in the victim's lungs. Adelaide Anderson, the Inspector of Factories in Britain, included asbestos in a list of harmful industrial substances in 1902. Similar investigations were conducted in France and Italy, in 1906 and 1908, respectively.
The first diagnosis of asbestosis was made in the UK in 1924. ... of various shapes, but the large majority have sharp angles." Having compared these particles with samples of asbestos dust provided by S. A. Henry, His Majesty's Medical Inspector of Factories, Cooke concluded that they "originated from asbestos and were, beyond a reasonable doubt, the primary cause of the fibrosis of the lungs and therefore of death".Nellie Kershaw was employed at Turner Brothers Asbestos in Rochdale, Greater Manchester, England from 1917, spinning raw asbestos fibre into yarn. Her death in 1924 led to a formal inquest. Pathologist William Edmund Cooke testified that his examination of the lungs indicated old scarring indicative of a previous, healed, tuberculosis infection, and extensive fibrosis, in which were visible "particles of mineral matter
As a result of Cooke's paper, parliament commissioned an inquiry into the effects of asbestos dust by E. R. A. Merewether, Medical Inspector of Factories, and C. W. Price, a factory inspector and pioneer of dust monitoring and control. Their subsequent report, Occurrence of Pulmonary Fibrosis & Other Pulmonary Affections in Asbestos Workers, was presented to parliament on 24 March 1930. It concluded that the development of asbestosis was irrefutably linked to the prolonged inhalation of asbestos dust, and included the first health study of asbestos workers, which found that 66% of those employed for 20 years or more suffered from asbestosis. The report led to the publication of the first Asbestos Industry Regulations in 1931, which came into effect on 1 March 1932. These regulated ventilation and made asbestosis an excusable work-related disease. The term mesothelioma was first used in medical literature in 1931; its association with asbestos was first noted sometime in the 1940s. Similar legislation followed in the U.S. about ten years later.
Approximately 100,000 people in the United States have died, or are terminally ill, from asbestos exposure related to ship building. In the Hampton Roads area, a shipbuilding center, mesothelioma occurrence is seven times the national rate.Thousands of tons of asbestos were used in World War II ships to insulate piping, boilers, steam engines, and steam turbines. There were approximately 4.3 million shipyard workers in the United States during WWII; for every 1,000 workers about 14 died of mesothelioma and an unknown number died from asbestosis.
The United States government and asbestos industry have been criticized for not acting quickly enough to inform the public of dangers, and to reduce public exposure. In the late 1970s, court documents proved that asbestos industry officials knew of asbestos dangers since the 1930s and had concealed them from the public.
In Australia, asbestos was widely used in construction and other industries between 1946 and 1980. From the 1970s there was increasing concern about the dangers of asbestos, and its use was phased out. Mining ceased in 1983. The use of asbestos was phased out in 1989 and banned entirely in December 2003. The dangers of asbestos are now well known in Australia and there is help and support for sufferers from asbestosis or mesothelioma.
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Serpentine minerals have a sheet or layered structure. Chrysotile (commonly known as white asbestos) is the only asbestos mineral in the serpentine group. In the United States, chrysotile has been the most commonly used type of asbestos. According to the U.S. EPA Asbestos Building Inspectors Manual, chrysotile accounts for approximately 95% of asbestos found in buildings in the United States.Chrysotile is often present in a wide variety of products and materials, including:
In the European Union and Australia it has been banned as a potential health hazard [ citation needed ]and is not used at all. Japan is moving in the same direction, but at a slower pace.
Amphiboles including amosite (brown asbestos) and crocidolite (blue asbestos) were formerly used in many products until the early 1980s. [ citation needed ] Tremolite asbestos constituted a contaminant of many if not all naturally occurring chrysotile deposits. The use of all types of asbestos in the amphibole group was banned in much of the Western world by the mid-1980s, and in Japan by 1995. Some products that included amphibole types of asbestos included the following:
Cigarette manufacturer Lorillard (Kent's filtered cigarette) used crocidolite asbestos in its "Micronite" filter from 1952 to 1956.
While mostly chrysotile asbestos fibers were once used in automobile brake pads, shoes, and clutch discs, contaminants of amphiboles were present. Since approximately the mid-1990s, brake pads, new or replacement, have been manufactured instead with linings made of ceramic, carbon, metallic and aramid fiber (Twaron or Kevlar—the same material used in bulletproof vests).
Artificial Christmas snow, known as flocking, was previously made with asbestos.It was used as an effect in films including The Wizard of Oz and department store window displays and it was marketed for use in private homes under brand names that included "Pure White", "Snow Drift" and "White Magic".
The use of asbestos in new construction projects has been banned for health and safety reasons in many developed countries or regions, including the European Union, Australia, Hong Kong, Japan, and New Zealand. A notable exception is the United States, where asbestos continues to be used in construction such as cement asbestos pipes. The 5th Circuit Court prevented the EPA from banning asbestos in 1991 because EPA research showed the ban would cost between $450 and 800 million while only saving around 200 lives in a 13-year timeframe, and that the EPA did not provide adequate evidence for the safety of alternative products.Until the mid-1980s, small amounts of white asbestos were used in the manufacture of Artex, a decorative stipple finish, however, some of the lesser-known suppliers of Artex were still adding white asbestos until 1999.
Prior to the ban, asbestos was widely used in the construction industry in thousands of materials. Some are judged to be more dangerous than others due to the amount of asbestos and the material's friable nature. Sprayed coatings, pipe insulation and Asbestos Insulating Board (AIB) are thought to be the most dangerous due to their high content of asbestos and friable nature. Many older buildings built before the late 1990s contain asbestos. In the United States, there is a minimum standard for asbestos surveys as described by ASTM Standard E 2356–04. In the UK the Health and Safety Executive have issued guidance called HSG264 describing how surveys should be completed although other methods can be used if they can demonstrate they have met the regulations by other means.The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency includes some but not all asbestos-contaminated facilities on the Superfund National Priorities list (NPL). Renovation and demolition of asbestos-contaminated buildings is subject to EPA NESHAP and OSHA Regulations. Asbestos is not a material covered under CERCLA's innocent purchaser defense. In the UK, the removal and disposal of asbestos and of substances containing it are covered by the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006.
U.S. asbestos consumption hit a peak of 804,000 tons in 1973; world asbestos demand peaked around 1977, with 25 countries producing nearly 4.8 million metric tons annually.
In older buildings (e.g. those built prior to 1999 in the UK, before white asbestos was banned), asbestos may still be present in some areas. Being aware of asbestos locations reduces the risk of disturbing asbestos.
Removal of asbestos building components can also remove the fire protection they provide, therefore fire protection substitutes are required for proper fire protection that the asbestos originally provided.
Some countries, such as India, Indonesia, China, Russia and Brazil, have continued widespread use of asbestos. The most common is corrugated asbestos-cement sheets or "A/C sheets" for roofing and for side walls. Millions of homes, factories, schools or sheds and shelters continue to use asbestos. Cutting these sheets to size and drilling holes to receive 'J' bolts to help secure the sheets to roof framing is done on-site. There has been no significant change in production and use of A/C sheets in developing countries following the widespread restrictions in developed nations[ citation needed ].
As New York City's World Trade Center collapsed following the September 11 attacks, Lower Manhattan was blanketed in a mixture of building debris and combustible materials. This complex mixture gave rise to the concern that thousands of residents and workers in the area would be exposed to known hazards in the air and in the dust, such as asbestos, lead, glass fibers, and pulverized concrete.More than 1,000 tons of asbestos are thought to have been released into the air following the buildings' destruction. Inhalation of a mixture of asbestos and other toxicants is thought to be linked to the unusually high death rate from cancer of emergency service workers since the disaster. Thousands more are now thought to be at risk of developing cancer due to this exposure with those who have died so far being only the "tip of the iceberg". Some commentators have criticised authorities for using asbestos in the buildings' construction.
In May 2002, after numerous cleanup, dust collection, and air monitoring activities were conducted outdoors by EPA, other federal agencies, New York City, and the state of New York, New York City formally requested federal assistance to clean and test residences in the vicinity of the World Trade Center site for airborne asbestos.
Vermiculite is a hydrated laminar magnesium-aluminum-iron silicate which resembles mica. It can be used for many industrial applications and has been used as insulation. Some deposits of vermiculite have been found to be contaminated with small amounts of asbestos.
One vermiculite mine operated by W. R. Grace and Company in Libby, Montana exposed workers and community residents to danger by mining vermiculite contaminated with asbestos, typically richterite, winchite, actinolite or tremolite.Vermiculite contaminated with asbestos from the Libby mine was used as insulation in residential and commercial buildings through Canada and the United States. W. R. Grace and Company's loose-fill vermiculite was marketed as Zonolite but was also used in sprayed-on products such as Monokote.
In 1999 the EPA began cleanup efforts in Libby and now the area is a Superfund cleanup area.The EPA has determined that harmful asbestos is released from the mine as well as through other activities that disturb soil in the area.
Talc can sometimes be contaminated with asbestos due to the proximity of asbestos ore (usually tremolite) in underground talc deposits.By 1973, US federal law required all talc products to be asbestos-free, and today there is strict quality control in the production of talc products, separating cosmetic-grade talc (e.g. talcum powder) from industrial-grade talc (often used in friction products) has largely eliminated this issue for consumers.
In 2000, tests in a certified asbestos-testing laboratory found the tremolite form of amphibole asbestos used to be found in three out of eight popular brands of children's crayons that were made partly from talc: Crayola, Prang, and RoseArt.In Crayola crayons, the tests found asbestos levels around 0.05% in Carnation Pink and 2.86% in Orchid; in Prang crayons, the range was from 0.3% in Periwinkle to 0.54% in Yellow; in Rose Art crayons, it was from 0.03% in Brown to 1.20% in Orange. Overall, 32 different types of crayons from these brands used to contain more than trace amounts of asbestos, and eight others contained trace amounts. The Art and Creative Materials Institute, a trade association which tested the safety of crayons on behalf of the makers, initially insisted the test results must have been incorrect, although they later said they do not test for asbestos. In May 2000, Crayola said tests by Richard Lee, a materials analyst whose testimony on behalf of the asbestos industry has been accepted in lawsuits over 250 times, found its crayons tested negative for asbestos. In spite of that, in June 2000 Binney & Smith, the maker of Crayola, and the other makers agreed to stop using talc in their products, and changed their product formulations in the United States.
The mining company, R T Vanderbilt Co of Gouverneur, New York, which supplied the talc to the crayon makers, states that "to the best of our knowledge and belief" there is no asbestos in its talc. [ clarification needed ]However media reports claim that the United States Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) had found asbestos in four talc samples tested in 2000. The Assistant Secretary for Mine Safety and Health subsequently wrote to the news reporter, stating that "In fact, the abbreviation ND (non detect) in the laboratory report – indicates no asbestos fibers actually were found in the samples." Multiple studies by mineral chemists, cell biologists, and toxicologists between 1970 and 2000 found neither samples of asbestos in talc products nor symptoms of asbestos exposure among workers dealing with talc, but more recent work has rejected these conclusions in favor of "same as" asbestos risk.
On July 12, 2018, a Missouri jury ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay a record $4.69 billion to 22 women who alleged the company’s talc-based products, including its baby powder, contain asbestos and caused them to develop ovarian cancer.
Six mineral types are defined by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as "asbestos" including those belonging to the serpentine class and those belonging to the amphibole class. All six asbestos mineral types are known to be human carcinogens.The visible fibers are themselves each composed of millions of microscopic "fibrils" that can be released by abrasion and other processes.
Serpentine class fibers are curly. Chrysotile is the only member of the serpentine class.
Chrysotile, CAS No. 12001-29-5, is obtained from serpentinite rocks which are common throughout the world. Its idealized chemical formula is Mg 3(Si 2 O 5)(OH)4.Chrysotile appears under the microscope as a white fiber.
Chrysotile has been used more than any other type and accounts for about 95% of the asbestos found in buildings in America. [ citation needed ]Chrysotile is more flexible than amphibole types of asbestos, and can be spun and woven into fabric. The most common use was corrugated asbestos cement roofing primarily for outbuildings, warehouses and garages. It may also be found in sheets or panels used for ceilings and sometimes for walls and floors. Chrysotile has been a component in joint compound and some plasters. Numerous other items have been made containing chrysotile including brake linings, fire barriers in fuseboxes, pipe insulation, floor tiles, residential shingles, and gaskets for high temperature equipment.
Amphibole class fibers are needle-like. Amosite, crocidolite, tremolite, anthophyllite and actinolite are members of the amphibole class.
Amosite, CAS No. 12172-73-5, often referred to as brown asbestos, is a trade name for the amphiboles belonging to the cummingtonite-grunerite solid solution series, commonly from South Africa, named as a partial acronym for "Asbestos Mines of South Africa". One formula given for amosite is Fe 7Si8O22(OH)2. Amosite is seen under a microscope as a grey-white vitreous fiber. It is found most frequently as a fire retardant in thermal insulation products, asbestos insulating board and ceiling tiles.
Crocidolite, CAS No. 12001-28-4, commonly known as blue asbestos, is the fibrous form of the amphibole riebeckite, found primarily in southern Africa, but also in Australia and Bolivia. One formula given for crocidolite is Na 2Fe II
2Si8O22(OH)2. Crocidolite is seen under a microscope as a blue fiber.
Crocidolite commonly occurs as soft friable fibers. Asbestiform amphibole may also occur as soft friable fibers but some varieties such as amosite are commonly straighter. All forms of asbestos are fibrillar in that they are composed of fibers with breadths less than 1 micrometer in bundles of very great widths. Asbestos with particularly fine fibers is also referred to as "amianthus".
Other regulated asbestos minerals, such as tremolite asbestos, CAS No. 77536-68-6, Ca 2Mg5Si8O22(OH)2; actinolite asbestos, CAS No. 77536-66-4, Ca2(Mg,FeII)5(Si8O22)(OH)2; and anthophyllite asbestos, CAS No. 77536-67-5, (Mg,FeII)7Si8O22(OH)2; are less commonly used industrially but can still be found in a variety of construction materials and insulation materials and have been used in a few consumer products.
Other natural asbestiform minerals, such as richterite, Na(CaNa)(Mg,FeII)5(Si8O22)(OH)2, and winchite, (CaNa)Mg4(Al,FeIII)(Si8O22)(OH)2, though not regulated, are said by some to be no less harmful than tremolite, amosite, or crocidolite.They are termed "asbestiform" rather than asbestos. Although the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has not included them in the asbestos standard, NIOSH and the American Thoracic Society have recommended them for inclusion as regulated materials because they may also be hazardous to health.
In 2017, 1.3 million tonnes of asbestos was mined worldwide. Russia was the largest producer with 53% of the world total, followed by Kazakhstan (16%), China (15%), and Brazil (11.5%).Asia consumes some 70% of the asbestos produced in the world with China, India and Indonesia the largest consumers.
In 2009, about 9% of the world's asbestos production was mined in Canada.In late 2011, Canada's remaining two asbestos mines, both located in Quebec, halted operations. In September 2012, the Quebec government halted asbestos mining.
All types of asbestos fibers are known to cause serious health hazards in humans. [ citation needed ] however, chrysotile asbestos has also produced tumors in animals and is a recognized cause of asbestosis and malignant mesothelioma in humans, and mesothelioma has been observed in people who were occupationally exposed to chrysotile, family members of the occupationally exposed, and residents who lived close to asbestos factories and mines.Amosite and crocidolite are considered the most hazardous asbestos fiber types;
During the 1980s and again in the 1990s it was suggested at times that the process of making asbestos cement could "neutralize" the asbestos, either via chemical processes or by causing cement to attach to the fibers and changing their physical size; subsequent studies showed that this was untrue, and that decades-old asbestos cement, when broken, releases asbestos fibers identical to those found in nature, with no detectable alteration.
Exposure to asbestos in the form of fibers is always considered dangerous. Working with, or exposure to, material that is friable, or materials or works that could cause release of loose asbestos fibers, is considered high risk. In general, people who become ill from inhaling asbestos have been regularly exposed in a job where they worked directly with the material.
The most common diseases associated with chronic exposure to asbestos are asbestosis and mesothelioma.
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The United States remains one of the few developed countries to not ban asbestoswhich is legal and still widely used in such commonly used products as clothing, pipeline wraps, vinyl floor tiles, millboards, cement pipes, disk brake pads, gaskets and roof coatings.
In 1989 the EPA issued the Asbestos Ban and Phase Out Rule but in 1991, asbestos industry supporters challenged and overturned the ban in a landmark lawsuit: Corrosion Proof Fittings v. the Environmental Protection Agency. Although the case resulted in several small victories for asbestos regulation, the EPA ultimately did not put an end to asbestos use. This ruling leaves many consumer products that can still legally contain trace amounts of asbestos. For a clarification of products which legally contain asbestos, read the EPA's clarification statement.
In 2010, Washington State banned asbestos in automotive brakes starting in 2014. µm per cubic meter of workplace air for eight-hour shifts and 40-hour work weeks.The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), has set limits of 100,000 fibers with lengths greater than or equal to 5
In Vietnam, asbestos is not banned and still widely used. Vietnam is one of the top 10 asbestos users in the world with an annual import volume of about 65,000-70,000 tons of chrysotile.About 90% of the imported asbestos is used to produce about 100 million m2 of roofing sheets of cement-roofing (asbestos-cement). According to one study, among 300 families in Yen Bai, Thanh Hoa, 85% of households use asbestos roofing sheets, however, only 5% know about their harms.
However, in the project of adjusting the master plan for construction materials development to 2020 with orientation to 2030 submitted by the Ministry of Construction to the Government in January 2014 still suggests to continue using chrysotile for a long time.
The use of crocidolite (blue) asbestos was banned in 1967, while the use of amosite (brown) asbestos continued in the construction industry until the mid-1980s. It was finally banned from building products in 1989, though it remained in gaskets and brake linings until 31 December 2003, and cannot be imported, used or recycled.
Asbestos continues to be a problem. Two out of three homes in Australia built between World War II and the early 1980s still contain asbestos.
The union that represents workers tasked with modifying electrical meter boxes at residences stated that workers should refuse to do this work until the boxes have been inspected for asbestos,and the head of the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) has called on the government to protect its citizens by ridding the country of asbestos by 2030.
Handlers of asbestos materials must have a B-Class license for bonded asbestos and an A-Class license for friable asbestos.
The town of Wittenoom, in Western Australia was built around a (blue) asbestos mine. The entire town continues to be contaminated, and has been disincorporated, allowing local authorities to remove references to Wittenoom from maps and roadsigns.
From December 31, 2018 it was illegal to import, manufacture, sell, trade or use products made from asbestos. There are exemptions for its use in the chlor-alkali industry, the military, nuclear facilities and for magnesium extraction from asbestos mining residues.
Revelations that hundreds of workers had died in Japan over the previous few decades from diseases related to asbestos sparked a scandal in mid-2005.Tokyo had, in 1971, ordered companies handling asbestos to install ventilators and check health on a regular basis; however, the Japanese government did not ban crocidolite and amosite until 1995, and a near complete ban with a few exceptions on asbestos was implemented in 2006, with the remaining exceptions being removed in March 2012 for a full-fledged ban.
In 1984, the import of raw amphibole (blue and brown) asbestos into New Zealand was banned. In 2002 the import of chrysotile (white) asbestos was also banned.In 2015 the government announced that the importation of asbestos would be completely banned with very limited exceptions (expected to be applied to replacement parts for older machines) that would be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.
North-west of Nelson, in the Upper Takaka Valley is New Zealand's only commercially harvested asbestos mine. A low-grade Chrysotile was mined here from 1908 to 1917 but only 100 tons was washed and taken out by packhorse. A new power scheme enabled work to renew and between 1940 and 1949, 40 tons a month was mined by the Hume Company. This continued to 1964, when, due to the short length of its fibre, the limited commercial viability forced mining to cease.
In May 1997, the manufacture and use of crocidolite and amosite, commonly known as blue and brown asbestos, were fully banned in South Korea.In January 2009, a full-fledged ban on all types of asbestos occurred when the government banned the manufacture, import, sale, storage, transport or use of asbestos or any substance containing more than 0.1% of asbestos. In 2011, South Korea became the world's sixth country to enact an asbestos harm aid act, which entitles any Korean citizen to free lifetime medical care as well as monthly income from the government if he or she is diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease.
In the United Kingdom, blue and brown asbestos materials were banned outright in 1985 while the import, sale and second hand reuse of white asbestos was outlawed in 1999. The 2012 Control of Asbestos Regulations state that owners of non-domestic buildings (e.g., factories and offices) have a "duty to manage" asbestos on the premises by making themselves aware of its presence and ensuring the material does not deteriorate, removing it if necessary. Employers, e.g. construction companies, whose operatives may come into contact with asbestos must also provide annual asbestos training to their workers.
Fiberglass insulation was invented in 1938 and is now the most commonly used type of insulation material. The safety of this material has also been called into question due to similarities in material structure.However, the International Agency for Research on Cancer removed fiberglass from its list of possible human carcinogens in 2001 and a scientific review article from 2011 claimed epidemiology data was inconsistent and concluded that the IARC's decision to downgrade the carcinogenic potential of fiberglass was valid (however, this study was funded by sponsored research contract from the North American Insulation Manufacturer’s Association).
In 1978, a highly texturized fiberglass fabric was invented by Bal Dixit, called Zetex. This fabric is lighter than asbestos, but offers the same bulk, thickness, hand, feel, and abrasion resistance as asbestos. The fiberglass was texturized to eliminate some of the problems that arise with fiberglass, such as poor abrasion resistance and poor seam strength.
In Europe, mineral wool and glass wool are the main insulators in houses.
Many companies that produced asbestos-cement products that were reinforced with asbestos fibers have developed products incorporating organic fibers. One such product was known as "Eternit" and another "Everite" now use "Nutec" fibers which consist of organic fibers, portland cement and silica. Cement-bonded wood fiber is another substitute. Stone fibers are used in gaskets and friction materials.
Another potential fiber is polybenzimidazole or PBI fiber. Polybenzimidazole fiber is a synthetic fiber with a high melting point of 760 °C (1,400 °F) that also does not ignite. Because of its exceptional thermal and chemical stability, it is often used by fire departments and space agencies.
Asbestos alternatives for industrial use include sleeves, rope, tape, fabric, textiles and insulation batt materials made from fiberglass and silica.
In most developed countries, asbestos is typically disposed of as hazardous waste in landfill sites.
The demolition of buildings containing large amounts of asbestos based materials pose particular problems for builders and property developers – such buildings often have to be deconstructed piece by piece, or the asbestos has to be painstakingly removed before the structure can be razed by mechanical or explosive means. One such example is the Red Road Flats in Glasgow, Scotland which used huge amounts of asbestos cement board for wall panelling – here British health and safety regulations stipulate that asbestos material has to be removed to a landfill site via an approved route at certain times of the day in specially adapted vehicles.
In the United States, the EPA governs the removal and disposal of asbestos strictly. Companies that remove asbestos must comply with EPA licensing. These companies are called EPA licensed asbestos contractors. Anytime one of these asbestos contractors performs work a test consultant has to conduct strict testing to ensure the asbestos is completely removed.
Asbestos can be recycled by transforming it into harmless silicate glass. A process of thermal decomposition at 1,000–1,250 °C (1,800–2,300 °F) produces a mixture of non-hazardous silicate phases, and at temperatures above 1,250 °C (2,300 °F) it produces silicate glass. Microwave thermal treatment can be used in an industrial manufacturing process to transform asbestos and asbestos-containing waste into porcelain stoneware tiles, porous single-fired wall tiles, and ceramic bricks.
The combination of oxalic acid with ultrasound fully degrades chrysotile asbestos fibers.
Amphibole is an important group of inosilicate minerals, forming prism or needlelike crystals, composed of double chain SiO
4 tetrahedra, linked at the vertices and generally containing ions of iron and/or magnesium in their structures. Amphiboles can be green, black, colorless, white, yellow, blue, or brown. The International Mineralogical Association currently classifies amphiboles as a mineral supergroup, within which are two groups and several subgroups.
Actinolite is an amphibole silicate mineral with the chemical formula Ca2(Mg4.5-2.5Fe2+0.5-2.5)Si8O22(OH)2.
Vermiculite is a hydrous phyllosilicate mineral. It undergoes significant expansion when heated. Exfoliation occurs when the mineral is heated sufficiently, and the effect is routinely produced in commercial furnaces. Vermiculite is formed by weathering or hydrothermal alteration of biotite or phlogopite. Large commercial vermiculite mines currently exist in Russia, South Africa, China, and Brazil.
Chrysotile or white asbestos is the most commonly encountered form of asbestos, accounting for approximately 95% of the asbestos in the United States and a similar proportion in other countries. It is a soft, fibrous silicate mineral in the serpentine subgroup of phyllosilicates; as such, it is distinct from other asbestiform minerals in the amphibole group. Its idealized chemical formula is Mg3(Si2O5)(OH)4. The material has physical properties which make it desirable for inclusion in building materials, but poses serious health risks when dispersed into air and inhaled.
Taconite is a variety of iron formation, an iron-bearing sedimentary rock, in which the iron minerals are interlayered with quartz, chert, or carbonate. The name "taconyte" was coined by Horace Vaughn Winchell (1865–1923) – son of Newton Horace Winchell, the Minnesota State Geologist – during their pioneering investigations of the Precambrian Biwabik Iron Formation of northeastern Minnesota. He noted the rock had a superficial resemblance to iron-bearing rocks from the Taconic Mountains of New York state.
Tremolite is a member of the amphibole group of silicate minerals with composition: ☐Ca2(Mg5.0-4.5Fe2+0.0-0.5)Si8O22(OH)2. Tremolite forms by metamorphism of sediments rich in dolomite and quartz. Tremolite forms a series with actinolite and ferro-actinolite. Pure magnesium tremolite is creamy white, but the color grades to dark green with increasing iron content. It has a hardness on Mohs scale of 5 to 6. Nephrite, one of the two minerals of the gemstone jade, is a green variety of tremolite.
CSR Limited is a major Australian industrial company, producing building products and having a 25% share in the Tomago aluminium smelter located near Newcastle, New South Wales. It is publicly traded on the Australian Securities Exchange. In 2012, it has approximately 3,600 employees and reported an after-tax profit of $90.7 million. The company has a diversified shareholding with predominantly Australian fund managers and retail owners. The group's corporate headquarters is in North Ryde, a suburb of Sydney.
Riebeckite is a sodium-rich member of the amphibole group of silicate minerals, chemical formula Na2(Fe2+3Fe3+2)Si8O22(OH)2. It forms a solid solution series with magnesioriebeckite. It crystallizes in the monoclinic system, usually as long prismatic crystals showing a diamond-shaped cross section, but also in fibrous, bladed, acicular, columnar, and radiating forms. Its Mohs hardness is 5.0–6.0, and its specific gravity is 3.0–3.4. Cleavage is perfect, two directions in the shape of a diamond; fracture is uneven, splintery. It is often translucent to nearly opaque.
Anthophyllite is an amphibole mineral: ☐Mg2Mg5Si8O22(OH)2 (☐ is for a vacancy, a point defect in the crystal structure), magnesium iron inosilicate hydroxide. Anthophyllite is polymorphic with cummingtonite. Some forms of anthophyllite are lamellar or fibrous and are classed as asbestos. The name is derived from the Latin word anthophyllum, meaning clove, an allusion to the most common color of the mineral.
Grunerite is a mineral of the amphibole group of minerals with formula Fe7Si8O22(OH)2. It is the iron endmember of the grunerite-cummingtonite series. It forms as fibrous, columnar or massive aggregates of crystals. The crystals are monoclinic prismatic. The luster is glassy to pearly with colors ranging from green, brown to dark grey. The Mohs hardness is 5 to 6 and the specific gravity is 3.4 to 3.5.
Many buildings contain asbestos, which was used in spray-applied flame retardant, thermal system insulation, and in a variety of other materials. Asbestos was sometimes "flocked" above false ceilings, inside technical ducts, and in many other small spaces where firefighters would have difficulty gaining access. Structural components like asbestos panels were also used. In residences, asbestos was often a component of a type of flocked acoustic ceiling called popcorn ceiling or "cottage cheese ceiling", until its production was banned in the US in 1978. However, the ban allowed installers to use up remaining stocks, so houses built as late as 1986 could still have asbestos in their acoustic ceilings. The only way to be sure is to remove a sample and have it tested by a competent laboratory.
Balangeroite is found in one of the most important chrysotile mines in Europe, the Balangero Serpentinite. Hence, it is usually mistaken as an asbestiform in an assemblage of other mineral phases like chrysotile, magnetite and Fe-Ni alloys. However, Balangeroite does not lead to serious health problems caused by asbestos fibers.
The Asbestos Mountains is a range of hills in the Northern Cape province of South Africa, stretching south-southwest from Kuruman, where the range is known as the Kuruman Hills, to Prieska. It passes Boetsap, Danielskuil, Lime Acres, Douglas and Griekwastad. The range lies about 150 km west of Kimberley and rises from the Ghaap Plateau.
The Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006 came into force in the United Kingdom on 13 November 2006 and brought together a number of other asbestos related pieces of legislation. The pieces of legislation the regulations revoked and replaced were the 'Control of Asbestos at Work Regulations 2002', the 'Asbestos (Licensing) Regulations 1983' and the 'Asbestos (Prohibitions) Regulations 1992'. Key elements of the regulations include a greater emphasis on training requiring anyone who may come into contact with Asbestos in the course of their work to be given suitable training. Greater restrictions were also placed on the amount of exposure workers could be exposed to in the form of 'control limits'. The recently published 'Asbestos: The survey guide' (HSG264) is complementary to these regulations. When work with asbestos is being carried out the Regulations place a requirement on employers and self-employed workers to prevent exposure to asbestos fibres.
Asbestos insulating board, also known as "AIB" or by the trade name "Asbestolux", was an asbestos containing board used in the building trade because of its excellent fire resistance and heat insulating properties. These boards were commonly used in the UK from the 1930s up until production was terminated in 1980. AIB tended to contain 25-40% asbestos, with amosite being the most common form of asbestos used, although a mixture of amosite and chrysotile was also common, and crocidolite was sometimes used in older boards and some marine boards.
Mr Fluffy refers to a widespread asbestos contamination incident that occurred in the suburbs of Canberra, the capital city of Australia. Two companies, referred to collectively as Mr Fluffy, imported and installed fibrous, loose-fill amphibole asbestos as an insulation by blowing the product into roof spaces of homes during the 1960s and 1970s. Additionally, the companies are believed to have sold sacks of asbestos fibre direct to homeowners to insulate their own homes, and other operators may have also used the hazardous material trying to copy Jansen's business model.
All types of asbestos fibers are known to cause serious health hazards in humans. Amosite and crocidolite are considered the most hazardous asbestos fiber types; however, chrysotile asbestos has also produced tumors in animals and is a recognized cause of asbestosis and malignant mesothelioma in humans, and mesothelioma has been observed in people who were occupationally exposed to chrysotile, family members of the occupationally exposed, and residents who lived close to asbestos factories and mines.
Moore thought that Theophrastus was really referring to asbestos. The color of the stone makes this unlikely, though its structure makes it less improbable, since some forms of decayed wood do have a fibrous structure like asbestos ... It is, however, unlikely that Theophrastus is alluding to asbestos, since the mineral does not occur in the locality mentioned ... It is much more probable that Theophrastus is referring to the well-known brown fibrous lignite.