Asbestos is a naturally occurring fibrous mineral that was used in thousands of construction and consumer products up until the late 1970s. Although asbestos is useful for its durable, flexible, and fire resistant properties, asbestos is dangerous when inhaled. Inhaled asbestos fibers remain lodged in the lungs and can cause severe and fatal diseases, such as:

  • mesothelioma (a cancer that affects the lining surrounding the lungs)
  • asbestosis (lung tissue scarring)
  • lung cancer
  • esophageal, stomach, colon, or rectum cancer

Different Asbestos Groups

There are two main types of asbestos: Serpentine and Amphibole.

Serpentine asbestos has a curly and layered structure. Chrysolite asbestos, also known as white asbestos, is the only mineral classified as Serpentine. Chrysolite is the most common asbestos form, comprising 90%-95% of asbestos used in the United States.

Amphibole asbestos has a straight and chain-linked structure. The Amphibole asbestos group includes:

  • Amosite asbestos(also known as brown asbestos)
  • Crocidolite asbestos(also known as blue asbestos)
  • Tremolite asbestos
  • Actinlite asbestos
  • Anthophyllite asbestos

When is Asbestos Dangerous?

Because asbestos fibers are durable and do not break down into other compounds, asbestos fibers are dangerous when inhaled.  When inhaled, asbestos fibers remain lodged in the body and the body’s immune system cannot destroy them. Prolonged asbestos exposure causes asbestos fibers to accumulate in the lungs, which may lead to lung tissue scarring and other serious illnesses.

Friable Asbestos v. Non-friable Asbestos

Friable asbestos is a term used to describe any asbestos-containing material that can be easily crumbled or pulverized to powder by hand. Friable asbestos is extremely dangerous because, when it crumbles, it can release toxic asbestos fibers into the air. Some common examples of products that may contain friable asbestos are acoustic ceilings and tiles, many types of plasters, wallboard, joint compound or “mud” and thermal insulation for water heaters and pipes. On the other hand, non-friable asbestos will only release asbestos fibers into the air if it is cut, chopped, or manipulated. As a result, non-friable asbestos is safe when left intact and undisturbed.

Asbestos Side Effects       

Asbestos exposure may lead to severe and fatal disease including:

  • mesothelioma (a rare cancer that affects the lining surrounding the lungs)
  • asbestosis (lung tissue scarring)
  • lung cancer
  • esophageal, stomach, colon, or rectum cancer

Contact Us

If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with an asbestos-related condition, contact us today to determine if you have a case and are entitled to compensation.

Published November 17, 2011 by