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What is asbestos?

Asbestos is the name for a group of naturally occurring silicate minerals that can be separated into fibers. The fibers are strong, durable, and resistant to heat and fire.

There are several types of asbestos fibers, of which three have been used for commercial applications: (1) Chrysotile, or white asbestos, comes mainly from Canada, and has been very widely used in the US. It is white-gray in color and found in serpentine rock. (2) Amosite, or brown asbestos, comes from southern Africa. (3) Crocidolite, or blue asbestos, comes from southern Africa and Australia.

Amosite and crocidolite are called amphiboles. This term refers to the nature of their geologic formation.

Other asbestos fibers that have not been used commercially are tremolite, actinolite and anthophyllite, although they are sometimes contaminants in asbestos-containing products.


  • FedReg. Doc. E8-3828
    Asbestos Exposure Limit; Final Rule (02/29/2008)

  • FedReg. Doc. 05-14510
    Coal mine and metal and nonmetal mine safety and health: Asbestos exposure limit; public hearings (07/29/2005)
    Comments submitted for Proposed Rule 05-14510   See Comments
    This docket contains all comments submitted to date for the proposed rule published July 29, 2005.
  • A complete library of comments in PDF. See Comments
    This docket contains all comments for the hearings which closed on June 27, 2002.

  • Transcripts of Public Hearings
  • FedReg Doc. 05-14510 - Published July 29, 2005 (Comment Period Closed November 21, 2005)
    See Comments

  • FedReg Doc. 02-7467 - Published March 29, 2002 (Comment Period Closed June 27, 2002)
    See Comments

  • Congressional Testimony (Given by Dave D. Lauriski on July 31, 2001)

  • FedReg Doc 02-7467
    Measuring and Controlling Asbestos Exposure; Advanced Notice of Proposed Rule Making

  • Introduction to Operator Air Sampling Programs
  • Web Links

    Government Sites
  • The California Department of Conservation´┐Żs (DOC) Geological Survey

    Asbestos Page - The California Geological Survey (CGS) provides information on the geology of asbestos occurrences in California to a number of state, local and federal agencies, private industry, consultants and the public.

  • EPA - Asbestos Home Page
    This page is intended to provide the public with general information concerning asbestos and where and how to get more information.

  • Protect Your Family from Asbestos-Contaminated Vermiculite Insulation
    EPA has asked Federal Agencies to help "get the word out" about important information on vermiculite insulation and its potential to be contaminated with asbestos fibers.

  • Fairfax County, Virginia
    Naturally Occurring Asbestos In Fairfax County

  • NIOSH - Publications On Asbestos

  • OSHA - Asbestos

  • Colleges and Universities
  • Ohio State University Fact Sheet - Asbestos
  • Oklahoma State University - Online Safety Library: Asbestos
  • University of Louisville - Health & Safety: Asbestos
  • University of Maryland - Occupational Safety - Asbestos

  • Other Sites
  • American Lung Association
    Use their search engine to locate articles on Asbestos.