Tremolite schists in Ordovician meta-volcanic units in central New South Wales (NSW) consist of fine fibrous tremolite-actinolite. They host tremolite asbestos occurrences, and small quantities of asbestos were mined from narrow vein deposits in central NSW during the last century. When pulverized, the tremolite schist releases mineral fragments that fall into the classification range for countable mineral fibers and may be classed as asbestos despite not having an asbestiform habit. The ambiguity in classification of this type of natural material raises significant health and safety, legal, and environmental issues that require clarification. While the health effects of amphibole asbestos fibers are well known, the consequences of exposure to non-asbestiform, fibrous varieties is not well studied. This group of elongated mineral particles deserves more attention due to their widespread occurrence in metamorphic rocks in Australia. Toxicological studies are needed to assess the health risks associated with disturbance of these minerals during mining, civil construction, forestry, and farming practices.

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