Quoted from http://theconversation.edu.au/asbestos-still-haunts-those-exposed-as-kids-in-mining-towns-9487#
10 October 2012, 6.39am AEST
Asbestos still haunts those exposed as kids in mining towns
The relationship between asbestos exposure and diseases such as malignant mesothelioma and lung cancer is well established. But now other diseases not typically associated with asbestos may possibly be linked to occupational and non-occupational forms of exposure.
Asbestos refers to a number of naturally occurring minerals that have crystallised to form long thin fibres and fibre bundles. There are three main types that have been used commercially – crocidolite (blue asbestos), amosite (brown asbestos) and chrysotile (white asbestos).
The difference between these types has to do with the shape and size of their fibres. Crocidolite and amosite have long, straight fibres, while chrysotile fibres are short and curly. The shape of these fibres is thought to be central to the damage they do to human health. The long straight fibres, in particular, are thought to easily penetrate into the lungs.