What is asbestos?

Asbestos is the name given to a group of six different fibrous minerals that occur naturally in the environment:

  • amosite,
  • chrysotile,
  • crocidolite,
  • tremolite,
  • actinolite, and
  • anthophyllite.

Asbestos minerals have separable fibers that are strong, flexible and are heat and chemical 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 also contain asbestos. Asbestos is a known carcinogen and can cause other disease. Since it is so widely used, it is a concern. For more information see General Information on Asbestos.

The New York State Department of Health Asbestos Safety Training Program regulates asbestos safety training and training providers. Training providers can find forms and other materials at Information for Training Providers.