Chrysotile or white asbestos is the most commonly encountered form of asbestos, accounting for approximately 95% of the asbestos in place in the United States and a similar proportion in other countries.
Chrysotile fibers are generally finer with high flexibility and good heat resistance. Known as the most common asbestos mineral, chrysotile accounts for about 90 to 95 percent of asbestos used in commercial applications in the United States. This toxic mineral has been utilized in a number of products, including:
- Brake pads
- Brake linings
- Joint compound
- Roofing materials
In 2011 Canada objected to adding chrysotile to a list of materials at the Rotterdam Convention, a multilateral treaty to promote shared responsibilities in relation to importation of hazardous chemicals.
Up until May of 2012, chrysotile was widely considered not a hazard in Canada and was used in its building products up to this time. Since this time Canada has felt pressure from outside environmental organizations to stop funding of asbestos mines and the production of asbestos containing materials. It has also removed its objections to the treaty that chrysotile is hazardous, only by outside pressure.