Overview of chrysotile and its products

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What is Chrysotile?

Chrysotile is a fibrous mineral which does not burn or rot. It is resistant to most chemicals; it is flexible and possesses high tensile strength. This unique combination of properties makes chrysotile an extremely useful material which has been established, for many decades, as a major component of lightweight reinforced cement products, friction materials, high temperature seals and gaskets and a host of other applications.

Chrysotile has been known for over 2000 years, being used initially for cremation cloths, oil lamp wicks and other textiles. But it is only in the 19th Century that chrysotile was first mined commercially in the Urals (Russia), in Italy and in Canada.

From asbestos to Chrysotile

Current asbestos products are as different from the old ones as night and day. Today, only one type of asbestos is produced: chrysotile. In addition, the industry now only markets dense and non-friable materials in which the chrysotile fibre is encapsulated in a matrix of either cement or resin. These products include chrysotile-cement building materials, friction materials, gaskets and certain plastics.

The old products, principally low-density insulation materials, were very dusty and crumbled under hand pressure. Unlike today`s products, they often contained amphibole fibres (crocidolite and amosite).

Did you know?

  1. Only Chrysotile (white fibre) is used in manufacturing of Chrysotile Cement Products in Thailand.
  2. Only 8– 9% of Chrysotile fibres are used which are locked in cement matrix in Chrysotile Cement Products and cannot escape into environment.
  3. For over 60 year experience manufacture of chrysotile cement products under controlled conditions does not pose health risk in Thailand.
  4. Amphibole asbestos (Blue and brown asbestos) are banned in Thailand.
  5. No health problem is reported in Thailand as well as in Western countries manufactured Asbestos Cement products with Chrysotile ONLY. No Lung Cancer observed in Asbestos Cement plants studies in Thailand. No excess of Lung Cancer was observed in studies when Chrysotile is used in manufacture of cement products. (Dr.Gardner, Ohlson, H.F.Thomas, WHO, Health & Safety Executive, U.K.).
  6. Airborne fibre levels under chrysotile cement roofs are of the same order in general environment.
  7. According WHO ingestion of Chrysotile fibres poses no health problems.
  8. Asbestos Cement Products are stronger, durable, economical, energy conserving and Eco-friendly.
  9. Most developed countries still use chrysotile cement products.
  10. The US Court of Appeals rejected a proposed ban on scientific grounds. Asbestos Cement products are not banned in the USA.

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