- The commercial product, after mining and processing, obtained from a family of fibrous hydrated silicates divided mineralogically into amphiboles (amosite, anthrophyllite, and crocidolite) and serpentines (chrysotile); it is virtually insoluble and is used to provide tensile strength and moldability, thermal insulation, and resistance to fire, heat, and corrosion; inhalation of a. particles can cause asbestosis, pleural plaques, pleural fibrosis, pleural effusion, mesothelioma, and lung cancer. [G. unquenchable; so called in the erroneous belief that when heated, it could not be quenched]
* * *as·bes·tos as-'bes-təs, az- n any of several minerals that readily separate into long flexible fibers, that have been implicated as causes of certain cancers, and that have been used esp. formerly as fireproof insulating materials
* * *as·bes·tos (as-besґtəs) [Gr. asbestos unquenchable] any of several fibrous, incombustible materials, forms of magnesium and calcium silicate, used as thermal insulation; the two major types are amphibole a. and serpentine a. Its dust causes asbestosis and acts as an epigenetic carcinogen for pleural mesothelioma and possibly bronchogenic carcinoma.
Medical dictionary. 2011.