Anthophyllite asbestos is the rarest type of asbestos. It was not used as often as other types in homes, office buildings or industrial manufacturing.

Just because it wasn’t used often doesn’t mean anthophyllite asbestos isn’t dangerous.

Exposure to anthophyllite asbestos can be just as deadly as exposure to any other type of asbestos, including crocidolite asbestos or chrysotile asbestos, two of the most common types. This fact is due to the sharpness of anthophyllite asbestos and the inability to see the loose asbestos strands floating in the air. These sharp fibers can cause cancer, including lung cancer and the rare cancer mesothelioma.


What Does Anthophyllite Asbestos Look Like?

Anthophyllite asbestos, also called azbolen asbestos, is a mixture of yellow and brown in color. One picture shows the rock as mostly brown but with yellow near the edges. The fibers are sharp and look like needles, which is how anthophyllite asbestos can irritate tissue linings and cause cancer

Anthophyllite asbestos includes magnesium and iron, which are minerals. Asbestos, also a mineral, often includes other minerals since all form in the earth’s soil and mix together. Any mining for magnesium or iron can mistakenly include anthophyllite asbestos.


What Was Anthophyllite Asbestos Used for?

Fortunately, anthophyllite asbestos was not used much in commercial or industrial jobs. It wasn’t the type of asbestos found mixed in talcum powders or the type around electrical wiring. If you are working on an old automobile, you likely won’t find anthophyllite asbestos around brake linings.

Penn Medicine’s website states anthophyllite asbestos was used in a few cement and insulation materials. It can also be found on old roof tiles or shingles. Therefore, it can be in some old houses or office buildings, primarily those built before 1990.


Why Is Anthophyllite Asbestos Dangerous?

While anthophyllite asbestos is rare, it’s not extinct. Exposure to this type is also not unheard of. Anthophyllite asbestos can cause mesothelioma, asbestos lung cancer and ovarian cancer.

If anthophyllite asbestos breaks apart – meaning individual fibers splinter from the main rock source – it becomes dangerous. The loose fibers float in the air. They can be inhaled or ingested by anyone living in the old home or applying the asbestos to insulation or construction materials.

These fibers can puncture tissue linings and irritate cells enough to cause genetic changes. These genetic changes lead to the cells not dying when they should and instead multiplying quicker than they should. This process is how a tumor forms.

Exposure to anthophyllite asbestos may explain your cancer diagnosis, especially if you have lung cancer or mesothelioma and handled asbestos decades ago on a job. Please reach out to our registered nurse, Karen Ritter, at to see what you can do about your cancer diagnosis.


Frequently Asked Questions About Anthophyllite Asbestos

  • What does asbestos rock look like?

    Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral found in certain types of rock formations. It often appears as thin, fibrous crystals. The fibers can be white, blue, brown, or green depending on the specific asbestos mineral. It may be difficult to identify asbestos-containing rocks without proper training and equipment.
  • What color is asbestos?

    Asbestos fibers can be white, blue, brown, or green, depending on the specific asbestos mineral. Chrysotile, the most common type, is usually white.
  • What does asbestos ceiling look like?

    Asbestos-containing ceilings can be found in popcorn, textured, or acoustic ceilings. They may appear rough, with a bumpy or stippled texture. However, it is not possible to visually confirm the presence of asbestos in a ceiling; testing by professionals is required.
  • What does asbestos insulation look like?

    Asbestos insulation can vary in appearance. It may look like loose, grayish-white fibers or be found in pre-formed pipe insulation that looks like corrugated cardboard or cement-like material. Professional testing is necessary to confirm the presence of asbestos.
  • What does asbestos in soil look like?

    Asbestos in soil can be difficult to identify visually, as it may appear as small, fibrous particles mixed in with the soil. Soil testing by professionals is required to determine the presence of asbestos.
  • What does a cancer cell look like?

    Cancer cells can vary in appearance, but generally, they have an irregular shape, large nucleus, and a high nucleus-to-cytoplasm ratio. They can appear different from normal cells under a microscope, but it requires professional examination and testing to confirm the presence of cancerous cells.
  • Where is asbestos found naturally?

    Asbestos is found naturally in rock formations, often in areas with high geological activity like fault lines. It can be found in various regions worldwide, including the United States, Canada, Russia, South Africa, and Australia.

    Sources & Author

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About the Writer, Devin Golden

Devin Golden is a content writer for Mesothelioma Guide. He produces mesothelioma-related content on various mediums, including the Mesothelioma Guide website and social media channels. Devin's objective is to translate complex information regarding mesothelioma into informative, easily absorbable content to help patients and their loved ones.