Crocidolite asbestos, also known as "blue" asbestos, was the least used in commercial products, accounting for about 4% of the total asbestos used in the United States.
Crocidolite fibers are somewhat brittle but are generally flexible enough to bend beyond 90 degrees before breaking, though not nearly as flexible as chrysotile. Also harder than the other amphibole varieties, crocidolite gets its "blue" nickname because it often ranges in color from slate gray to a very deep blue.
Belonging to the amphibole family, crocidolite fibers are finely textured and hair-like, occurring in naturally formed bundles, and are long and straight, like amosite. These straight, needle-like fibers are easy to inhale and will remain in the lungs indefinitely.
Indeed, crocidolite is the most hazardous of the amphibole asbestos family. Scientists have noted that about 18% of those who have mined this form of asbestos have died of mesothelioma. Traditionally mined in South Africa, Bolivia, and Western Australia, studies have also shown that individuals living in the area of the former mines are inclined to suffer ill effects of asbestos inhalation as well.
No longer mined, blue asbestos was proven to be much less heat resistant than some of the other types, specifically chrysotile. That's why its uses were limited and did not include applications like insulation. Crocidolite was most often used to make asbestos-cement products.
Last modified: December 09, 2009.