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What is asbestos?

Asbestos is the name for a group of naturally occurring fibrous minerals that have been widely used because they’re durable and resist high heat.

image of a caution sign for asbestosThere are 2 main categories of asbestos:

Amphibole asbestos is often called blue or brown asbestos. It causes cancer and is not used very much anymore. Amphibole asbestos has many different subtypes, including actinolite, amosite, anthyophyllite, crocidolite and tremolite.

Serpentine asbestos is sometimes called white asbestos or chrysotile asbestos. It too causes cancer. Chrysotile asbestos is currently the most commonly used form of asbestos in the world. It’s found in almost all asbestos-based products available today, including brake linings, building materials, water and sewer pipes and insulation. 

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