It should be recognized that all forms of asbestos are considered to be hazardous to human health. In total, there are six types of asbestos fibers, all of which are too small to be seen by the human eye. They are smaller than a strand of human hair and can get caught within the lungs if inhaled. Once trapped in the lungs, deadly asbestos-related diseases can develop, affecting a person’s respiratory system and eventually leading to death.
We will take a look at three out of the six types of asbestos fibers today:
Chrysotile asbestos is one of the most widely used types of asbestos fibers today. It is used in cement building materials, friction materials, textiles, and other applications around the world. It accounts for up to 95% of asbestos used in U.S. buildings. Chrysotile fibers are white, flexible, and curly. While use as declined in the United States, a wide range of workers still come into contact with chrysotile asbestos today.
Tremolite fibers differ from chrysotile asbestos fibers in their shape and color. According to PennMedicine.org, tremolite fibers range in color from milky white to a dark green. They are sharp fibers that are easy to inhale and ingest, making them one of the most dangerous asbestos types. While tremolite asbestos is no longer mined or used in commercial products, they are responsible for many individuals’ asbestos-related illnesses. In the past, many miners came into contact with the substance while on the job.
Like tremolite asbestos, amosite fibers are also sharp. Their needle-like shape makes it easy for the fibers to become trapped within lungs and other parts of the body after inhaling or ingesting. Next to chrysotile asbestos, amosite is the second most common type of asbestos found in buildings and different products.
Do you speculate that you have been exposed to any of these asbestos fiber types while on the job or within your home? It is not uncommon for blue collar workers, including construction workers, firefighters, and more, to experience debilitating diseases years or decades after their exposure. It is important that you share your work and possible exposure history with your doctor today.
Sources: World Health Organization | Penn Medicine | Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry