Based in Australia, Octief Group briefs about asbestos and its effects.
The term "asbestos" has been given to six naturally occurring mineral fibres that have been used for commercial purposes. It can be found in hundreds of countries in every continent. These fibres belong to two separate mineral groups, known as serpentine and amphibole.
Adverse effects of Asbestos:
The fact that asbestos is composed of readily separated fibres contributes to its easy inhalation and ingestion. The shape of these fibres reacts negatively with human tissue and biological processes. When inhaled or swallowed, these fibres can become lodged in the tissues of the linings of organs, most commonly the lungs and the digestive system. Over time, the lodged fibres cause inflammation and cellular damage, which can eventually lead to a variety of terminal diseases.
Main Types of Asbestos:
The six recognised asbestos minerals, which are considered silicates (molecules that include silicon and oxygen), are:
· Chrysotile - Appears as curly, whitish fibres and constitutes 95 percent of the asbestos in use. It is believed to be the least toxic of all asbestos forms.
· Crocidolite (Also known as blue asbestos) - Composed of straight fibres, it is believed to be the most toxic form of all asbestos minerals.
· Amosite (Also known as brown asbestos) - The trade name "amosite" is an acronym for Asbestos Mines of South Africa, after the Amosa mines. Amosite is straight in shape, but brittle in structure and good for use in heat insulation.
· Anthophyllite - This form of asbestos is brittle, white and contains various forms of iron. It has been found to have good resistance to chemicals and heat.
· Tremolite - In its rough form, tremolite appears white and chalky. It can be naturally found in other mineral forms other than asbestiform.
· Actinolite - Typically prismatic, flat in structure and elongated. Actinolite also comes in forms other than asbestiform and has poor resistance to chemicals.