Asbestos

(USAN)

Chemical information

Amianto; Asbesto.

Profile

The name asbestos is applied to several naturally occurring and widely distributed fibrous mineral silicates of the serpentine and amphibole groups. They include amosite (brown asbestos), anthophyllite, chrysotile (white asbestos), and crocidolite (blue asbestos). Asbestos has properties of heat resistance, insulation, and reinforcement and has been used extensively for heat or electrical insulation, fire protection, in friction materials, and in the construction industry in a wide variety of materials including cement, pipes, and tiles. When inhaled, asbestos fibres can cause asbestosis (pulmonary fibrosis), lung cancer, and mesothelioma of the pleura and peri toneum. Mesothelioma has been reported in persons exposed to relatively small amounts of asbestos after an average latent period of 30 to 40 years. An association between occupational exposure and an increased incidence of gastrointestinal, laryngeal, and other cancers has also been reported. Some types of asbestos are more hazardous than others; crocidolite (a member of the amphibole group) is considered to be the most dangerous.
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Published January 01, 2019.