American Laboratory, April
The term “asbestos” comprises a group of minerals which crystallize in fibrous habit and have been exploited commercially because of industrially desirable properties which are derived, at least in part, from this fibrosity. There are six minerals recognized as asbestos for regulatory purposes: chrysotile, grunerite asbestos (amosite), crocidolite, anthophyllite asbestos, tremolite asbestos, and actinolite asbestos. Chrysotile belongs to the serpentine group of minerals while the last five are classified in the amphibole gropu. Serpentines are sheet silicates; in the case of chrysotile, the sheets exhibit a scrolling effect to form hollow, tube-like fibers. The crystalline structure of amphiboles is configured such that ions are bonded together in chain-like patterns which results typically in prismatic, and, occasionally, asbestiform crystal habit.
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