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Anthophyllite Asbestos

Amphibole refers to a group of dark-colored silicate minerals that is typically composed of iron and magnesium ions. Anthophyllite is a member of this group that contains talc in addition to its iron component.

What Does Anthophyllite Look Like?

This form of amphibole asbestos can be white, gray, green, or brown in color. Its fibers are very thin and flat, with a sharp point like that found at the end of a knife blade.

It is one of the rarer forms of asbestos. Anthophyllite is found mainly as a contaminant in other minerals, and was not widely used commercially n this country. However, anthophyllite asbestos was mined in North Carolina from about 1930 to 1979. It is currently used primarily in Finland.

What are Some Common Uses of Anthophyllite Asbestos?

According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Household Products Database, the following Glidden products manufactured for home use contain anthophyllite:

  • Glidden Prime Coat Exterior Oil Based Alkyd Primer, No. PC4000 (1-5 percent)
  • Glidden Ultra Hide Stain Jammer, Oil Based Interior Primer/Sealer (no percent listed)
  • Glidden Prime Coat Interior Oil Based Alkyd Primer, No. PC2000 (0.-1 percent)

The only other significant commercial use was in refractory cements.

Children May Have Been Exposed to Anthophyllite Asbestos Through an Unlikely Source

In a report written by the Consumer Product Safety Commission concerning asbestos in children’s crayons published in August 2000, the agency investigated claims made by the Seattle Post-Intelligencer that asbestos fibers were present in the following brands of crayons:

  • Crayola
  • Prang
  • Rose Art

The asbestos was believed to be resident in the talc the manufacturers of these products used as a binding agent.

The laboratories the newspaper used to test these crayons reported the presence of tremolite, chrysotile, and anthophyllite asbestos in some of the crayons in amounts ranging from 0.03 percent to 2.86 percent. Asbestos was not found in any of the tests conducted by the manufacturers.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission evaluated crayons from several different boxes for each of the three brands. It found that anthophyllite asbestos was present in Crayola and Prang crayons in amounts ranging up to 0.03 percent. Rose Art contained no asbestos fibers.

As a Result of These Tests the Agency Concluded that:

“Based on the results of the testing and evaluation, the staff concludes that the risk a child would be exposed to the fibers through inhalation or ingestion of crayons containing asbestos and transitional fibers is extremely low. No fibers were found in the air during a simulation of a child vigorously coloring with a crayon for half an hour. The risk of exposure by eating crayons is also extremely low because the fibers are embedded in the crayon wax and will pass through the child’s body.”

However, the Consumer Product Safety Commission did ask the industry to reformulate crayons using substitute ingredients. The manufacturers of Crayola and Prang agreed to reformulate within a year. Rose Art reported that it had stopped using talc in 90 percent of its crayons 15 months prior to the investigation and that it would reformulate the remaining ten percent.

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