What is Asbestos?

Asbestos is the name given to a number of naturally occurring fibrous silicate minerals mined for their useful properties such as thermal insulation, chemical and thermal stability, and high tensile strength.  Also, it has the ability to be woven, and has resistance to heat and most chemicals.  Because of these properties, asbestos fibers have been used in a wide range of manufactured goods, including roofing shingles, ceiling and floor tiles, paper and cement products, textiles, coatings, acoustic insulator, thermal system insulation, fire proofing and friction products such as automobile clutch, brake and transmission parts.  The current federal definition of asbestos is the asbestiform varieties of: chrysotile (serpentine); crocidolite (riebeckite); amosite (cummingtonite/grunerite); anthophyllite; tremolite; and actinolite.  Many products in use today contain asbestos.