Crocidolite asbestos, which is also known as blue asbestos due to the color of its fibers, occurs in South Africa, as well as in Bolivia and Australia. Similarly to the other types of asbestos in the amphibole group, it has long, straight, and friable fibers. Therefore, individuals in close proximity to airborne crocidolite asbestos are very likely to inhale toxic fibers, which are responsible for approximately 10% of all mesothelioma cases. This mineral is a sodium iron magnesium silicate and for this reason, crocidolite asbestos fibers are not very flexible.
The color of crocidolite asbestos varies between gray and deep blue. It also has a lower heat resistance than the other asbestos types. Although the physical properties of this mineral are similar to those of the other asbestos types in the amphibole class, some believe it is the most dangerous. The link between crocidolite asbestos and mesothelioma was first discovered by Dr. Christopher Wagner in 1964.
The Most Common Uses of Crocidolite Asbestos
Blue asbestos was not very common in the heyday of asbestos consumption. Nevertheless, there were several consumer products containing it, including:
- steam engine insulation
- cement products
- reinforced plastics
- spray-on coatings
- pipe insulation
- plumbing gaskets
This mineral would also be present in early gas masks, while Bolivian crocidolite asbestos was used in Kent Micronite cigarette filters in the 1950s.
Considering that this asbestos type is no longer present in products today, you should not be concerned about coming across it. Nonetheless, crocidolite asbestos might exist in old building materials, in which case we highly advise you to send a product sample to us for a free-of-charge analysis if you suspect a product in your home contains it. You can find out how to safely collect a sample by reading our guide.
If it turns out the product in question really has asbestos, it is strongly recommended to hire a certified abatement company to properly attend to the issue. Their professional team will be able to remove the hazardous material from your house, as well as to dispose of it in accordance with your state’s asbestos laws. A list of the highest-rated asbestos removal companies in the U.S. can be found at the end of our free guide.