Asbestos is a natural fibrous material mined from serpentine rock. The rock is crushed and fibrous strands of asbestos are extracted from the rock. The strands are then used as ingredients in insulation, ceiling tiles and other materials. Three major types of asbestos used commercially are:
Chrysotile, or white asbestos, has curly fibers and is known as serpentine because it is found in serpentine rocks. This form of asbestos is used predominantly used in products manufactured in the United States. This asbestos is mined mostly in Canada and then shipped to the United States.
Crocidolite, or blue asbestos, has rod like fibers. This form is the least used in the United States.
Amosite has brown rod like fibers belonging to the amphibole group, and contains iron and magnesium.