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Asbestos is Not a Mineral.
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Asbestos is Not a Mineral         The U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety & Health Administration estimates 1.3 million employees in construction and general industry face significant asbestos exposure on the job. Heaviest exposures occur in the construction industry, particularly during the removal of asbestos during renovation or demolition. Workers are also likely to be exposed during the manufacture of asbestos textiles, friction products, insulation as well as automotive brake and clutch repair work. Asbestos is well recognized as a health hazard and is highly regulated by both OSHA and EPA.

           But, just what is asbestos and what does it look like? The answer may surprise you.   No, asbestos is NOT a mineral.   It is a name for a family of several minerals.

           Actually, "asbestos" is a term used to label a GROUP of fire-proof minerals. There are six different minerals that are commonly called "asbestos". Chrysotile, known as "white asbestos," is the mineral most commonly referred to "asbestos" . Chrysotile makes up approximately 90%-95% of all asbestos contained in buildings in the United States. Amosite, known as "brown asbestos," is the second most prevalent type of asbestos found in building materials. Crocidolite or "blue asbestos," is an asbestos utilized in specialized high temperature applications. Anthophyllite, Tremolite, and Actinolite are found mainly as contaminants in other minerals and are rarely used commercially. These various asbestos minerals deposits are mined in Australia, Canada, South Africa, and the former Soviet Union.
          The minerals in the asbestos family have had many uses. Their primary use has been as an insulator or fire retardant, but were also used as a binding additive. Due to this versatility, asbestos was used in many types of construction materials. Even though the federal government placed a moratorium on the production of most asbestos products in the early 1970's, the installation of products containing asbestos continued into the early 1980's.

          For more information, consult:   WWW.OSHA.Gov  and  Questions and Answers About Asbestos Exposure

2002.08.08






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