Crocidolite Asbestos

Crocidolite Asbestos is also known as blue asbestos. It is one of six naturally occurring minerals with a silicate base that have been used for commercial purposes. The name asbestos comes from the Greek and describes the common form of asbestos versions to appear as long thin fibrous crystals. These crystals of Crocidolite Asbestos tend to break along the long plane when disturbed so that the diameter of fibers becomes smaller and smaller. These Crocidolite Asbestos fibers can float in the air and can be taken into the lungs when one works or lives in an area where asbestos is found.

Inhaling fibers of asbestos material can result in major illnesses, such as lung cancer, mesothelioma and asbestosis. Mesothelioma is a form of lung cancer tied to asbestos. Previously, it occurred rarely, but the increased use of asbestos products has resulted in a significantly higher rate of cancer than ever before. Because many workers in shipyards and other work sites were exposed to asbestos, the number of cases of mesothelioma continued to increase dramatically.

Asbestos comes in six major forms, serpentinite rocks are common throughout the world and yield chrysotile fibers. These fibers are curly, as opposed to those of the other five major forms of asbestos. The other five major types are crocidolite, tremolite, actinolite, amosite, and anthophyllite are categorized as amphibole asbestos. This type appears in sharp needle-like forms.

blue asbestosAbout 95 percent of asbestos used in buildings in the United States was the chrysotile type. Chrysotile asbestos is brown asbestos. Amongst the amphibole group, crocidolite and amosite make up the largest usage. Both crocidolite and amosite were widely used in products until early in the 1980s when the danger became more and more apparent. By the mid 1980s, the use of the amphibole asbestos group was prohibited in almost all of the Western world. Japan followed suit with its ban in 1995.

Asbestos of the crocidolite form is traditionally found in Western Australia, Bolivia and South Africa. About four percent of the total asbestos commercially in the United States is crocidolite. The major reason for its limited use is that it has less heat resistance than some of the other asbestos products.

The fibers of crocidolite are fairly flexible, but will bend beyond ninety degrees before breaking. They are very finely textured, almost hairlike in diameter. In natural form, they are found in long, straight bundles of fibers. Because the fibers are so fine, they can be easily inhaled. They don't deteriorate in the body, but remain in the lungs to cause problems in the future. This form of asbestos is harder than other varieties of amphibole asbestos. The color varies from a very dark blue to slate gray.

Crocidolite is believed to be the most dangerous of the amphibole family. Amongst miners of blue asbestos, statistics show that almost twenty percent die from mesothelioma. It is true that you do not have to be a miner to contract a disease such as mesothelioma. Secondary exposure to asbestos is common and death rates due to mesothelioma are higher than in the general population. Living in an area where the mines were located is also a recipe for ill effects. Neither crocidolite nor other amphibole asbestos products are mined today.

Crocidolite and amosite were often used in products such as asbestos-cement. They were not used to make insulation as chrysotile was. The asbestos form of crocidolite was used to make ceiling tiles that had a low insulation factor. Insulation boards that didn't require a high density could be manufactured from the crocidolite variety. Sheets of asbestos cement often used this form of asbestos. It was also used for encasing water and electrical or telecommunication wires. The production of asbestos pipes for construction continued until the ban was in effect. Other uses for the product included chemical and thermal insulation such as lagging and gaskets, limpet spray and fire door.

Yet, even though the product was not used as heavily as some of the other types of asbestos, exposure to asbestos is the major cause of mesothelioma. This particular type of asbestos is responsible for the highest level of deaths. There is little help for someone who contracts the disease, since fibers can remain in the lungs for years before making their presence known in the form of the deadly cancer.

There is a strong public awareness campaign about the dangers of mesothelioma. To date, not much information is available about the specific effects of crocidolite asbestos, only that the mortality rate is much higher when there is proven exposure to the substance. Exposure during a long period on a job where inhalation of the fibers was a day-to-day occurrence appears to be the most significant link.

Crocidolite Asbestos 

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