ATSDR - Toxic Substances - Asbestos
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Asbestos

CAS ID #: 1332-21-4

Affected Organ Systems: Respiratory (From the Nose to the Lungs)

Cancer Effects: Known to be a Human Carcinogen

Chemical Classification: Inorganic substances

Summary: Asbestos is the name given to a group of six different fibrous minerals (amosite, chrysotile, crocidolite, and the fibrous varieties of tremolite, actinolite, and anthophyllite) that occur naturally in the environment. Asbestos minerals have separable long fibers that are strong and flexible enough to be spun and woven and are heat resistant. Because of these characteristics, asbestos has been used for a wide range of manufactured goods, mostly in building materials (roofing shingles, ceiling and floor tiles, paper products, and asbestos cement products), friction products (automobile clutch, brake, and transmission parts), heat-resistant fabrics, packaging, gaskets, and coatings. Some vermiculite or talc products may contain asbestos.

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  • ToxFAQs™

    Fact sheet that answers the most frequently asked questions about a contaminant and its health effects.

  • Public Health Statement

    Summary about a hazardous substance taken from Chapter One of its respective ATSDR Toxicological Profile.

  • Illinois Beach State Park

    The state considers the park a unique natural resource, one with the only remaining Lake Michigan beach ridge shoreline in the state. Glacial advance and retreat created the area and left dunes, swales, marshes, and a variety of wildlife and vegetation. Before it became a state park, the military used the area for training. In 1948, Illinois acquired the first parcels of what is now IBSP.

    In late 1997, pieces of transite pipe, siding, and roofing materials suspected of containing asbestos were found scattered along the beach. In February 1998, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) collected two bulk samples of the material and found they contained asbestos fibers. Following this discovery, IDNR began an investigation to determine the extent and possible source of asbestos contamination at the park.

  • Libby Montana

    Vermiculite mining in and near the town of Libby, Montana began in the 1920s and was continued by the W.R. Grace Company from 1963 until 1990. The vermiculite ore mined in Libby was contaminated with tremolite asbestos.

    In 1999, The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) was asked by the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to evaluate human health concerns in Libby that were related to asbestos exposure. DHHS was acting on requests received from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Montana Congressional delegation.

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  • Toxicological Profile

    Succinctly characterizes the toxicologic and adverse health effects information for a hazardous substance.

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    Prioritization of substances based on a combination of their frequency, toxicity, and potential for human exposure at National Priorities List (NPL) sites.

  • Medical Education and Training 

    Medical Education and Training
  • Case Study in Environmental Medicine (CSEM)

    Self-instructional publication designed to increase primary care provider's knowledge of a hazardous substance in the environment and to aid in the evaluation of potentially exposed patients.

  • Grand Rounds in Environmental Medicine

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