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“Asbestos” is a purely commercial general term used to describe several regulated mineral fibers. These mineral fibers naturally occur in the environment, usually in combination with other fibrous minerals. Asbestos fibers have been used throughout time because of their insulative, fireproofing, and strengthening properties.
Chrysotile asbestos is the most common form of asbestos used in commercial products, and is also the form most commonly represented in medical literature about asbestos disease. Chrysotile consists of short, curly, pliable fibers that tend to bundle together.
In contrast, members of the amphiboles class have straight, needlelike fibers. The mineralogy of Libby Amphibole asbestos is unique both chemically and structurally, it is a transitional blend of five minerals. What this means as far as toxicity and health effects is yet to be clearly defined, but clearly the characteristics of this asbestos mixture are unusual and are associated with enhanced toxicity.