Amosite asbestos is also known as brown asbestos. The color ranges from brown to gray.
Amosite is a trade name that refers to grunerite. The asbestos form is fibers that are straight and quite brittle.
Amosite is the second most hazardous type of asbestos, in terms of cancer mortality. Only
crocidolite is responsible for more deaths. When asbestos was a commonly used product, only chrysotile was
more common as the material of choice.
Amosite has straight fibers that are very brittle. The major use of this product was in cement sheeting and
insulation for pipes. As a fire retardant for thermal insulation, many buildings, including public buildings and
schools used asbestos ceiling tiles. You can still find these asbestos products in older buildings. The danger in
the product is primarily during installation and removal phases. The danger in the product is that it is very
friable. If the asbestos bundles are damaged, they break easily, thus releasing the fibers into the air where
nearby individuals can breathe them into the lungs.
The amosite used in the United States is incorporated into a variety of building products.
Insulation for telecommunications and electrical wires and cement sheets are some areas where you are still able to
find amosite. It is also found in lagging and gaskets. The benefits of insulation for chemical products is a prime
use. Insulation board, and plumbing insulation was another popular application. Tiles such as floor tiles, roof
tiles and ceiling tiles were also made with amosite.
Amosite has been mined mainly in South Africa. Mine workers show significant signs of danger due to
the materials. Illnesses such as mesothelioma and lung cancer are more prevalent amongst those who have worked in
the mines. Those who live near areas where amosite is mined also have a higher rate of cancer and diseases related
to the lungs. Amosite is an amphibole. This refers to the shape of the crystals.
The workers in the Transvaal, South Africa are particularly victims of the mining operations during the time when
production was ongoing. Cancer rates here are much worse than those of the general population. This part of the
world is where the major part of the commercial sources for amosite is found. In fact, the name amosite is actually
a trade name. The Asbestos Mines of South Africa (AMOS) is the company that produced much of the worlds supply.
The typical look of the crystals is long, thin fibers. These fibers are joined together in bundles when in nature.
They can also be manifested as brittle grains or flat prisms. The fibers are fairly flexible so that they can bend
into a wide arch shape. When too much stress is placed on the arches, they break into smaller groups that then give
rise to the almost needle shaped fibers of very small diameter.
The ends of the fibers have a flat end that is not frayed or split. This feature distinguishes chrysotile from
amosite. When you see a broken bundle of fibers, it looks somewhat like a broom tail. If you look at the building
materials that were made with amosite, you can often see the broken ends of the bundles. When these bundles are
damaged, they can break off releasing the fibers into the air.
The results of exposure to asbestos may not be apparent for many years following the inhalation of
the fibers. More cases are being diagnosed each year. There have been funds set aside to help those who are
diagnosed with asbestos-related diseases. Claims can be recovered for medical and treatment programs, emotional
pain and suffering and lost wages. Family members also have rights to claim some of these funds for costs incurred
Mesothelioma is deadly. The mortality rate is extremely high once the disease is diagnosed. There
are few warnings before it is too late to treat. Since the asbestos fibers remain in the lungs and affect the
tissues there, they can remain in place for months, years or even decades before making their presence known.
Because the size of the fibers is so fine, asbestos can easily float in the air of a room where asbestos is
During demolition and renovation projects, removal of amosite asbestos can add significant cost to the project.
Workers must wear protective suits and masks to avoid breathing the fibers. The rooms may be placed under negative
pressure and the openings sealed off while the asbestos is being removed. The asbestos-laced materials are bagged
and disposed of through highly regulated means.
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