Asbestos has been mined since the 1800s for its fire resistance and other useful properties. It is only in the past 40 years that the U.S. Government has banned some uses of asbestos due to health and environmental concerns. Maybe you've worked with asbestos before, and you're concerned about the possibility of having an asbestos-related disease. Perhaps a doctor has already diagnosed you. Either way, you need to get some solid facts about asbestos-related diseases to help you make an informed decision on the next steps.
Two types of asbestos -- serpentine and amphibole -- are comprised of six naturally occurring minerals. Serpentine or chrysotile asbestos contains chrysotile, a mineral that can be spun, due to its curly nature. This is the most common type of asbestos. Amphibole asbestos is made from actinolite, anthophyllite, tremolite, crocidolite, and amosite. This type of asbestos has limited use due to its brittle, needle-like composition.
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