What is asbestos?
Asbestos is the generic name given to the fibrous variety of six naturally occurring minerals that have been used in commercial products. These minerals are made up of fibrous bundles. These fibers are long and thin, and they can be easily separated from one another. Asbestos minerals have physical properties (high tensile strength, flexibility, resistance to heat and chemicals, high electrical resistance, and the capability to be woven like fabric) that make them useful in many commercial products.
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Chrysotile is more flexible than amphibole types of asbestos, and can be spun and woven into fabric. The most common use was corrugated asbestos cement roofing primarily for outbuildings, warehouses and garages. It may also be found in sheets or panels used for ceilings and sometimes for walls and floors. Chrysotile has been a component in joint compound and some plasters. Numerous other items have been made containing chrysotile including brake linings, fire barriers in fuseboxes, pipe insulation, floor tiles, residential shingles, and gaskets for high temperature equipment.
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It is found most frequently as a fire retardant in thermal insulation products, asbestos insulating board and ceiling tiles.