What is asbestos?

Chrysotile asbestos.jpg

Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral composed of fibres that are resistant

to heat, electricity and corrosion.
There are six types of asbestos that can be divided into two groups:

       Serpentine(curly fibres):

  • Chrysotile

       Amphibole(straight, needle-like fibres):

  • Amosite(grunerite)

  • Crocidolite

  • Actinolite

  • Anthophyllite

  • Tremolite

Is asbestos dangerous?

Exposure to asbestos fibres can cause serious health issues.

Asbestos is only a risk to health if fibres are released into the air and breathed in.

There is usually a long delay between first exposure to asbestos and the onset of
disease. This can vary from 15 to 60 years.
Asbestos related diseases include mesothelioma and asbestosis.
Mesothelioma is a type of cancer affecting lining of the lungs and chest wall.
Asbestosis is a lung condition caused by prolonged exposure to asbestos fibres which inhaled create scaring of the lungs.

Where asbestos can be found?

Use of amphibole asbestos was banned in 1985 followed by complete ban in 1999. It is reasonable to presume 
all buildings constructed before 2000 to contain asbestos products.

Examples of common asbestos containing materials:

  • Asbestos loose fill insulation- Often used as sound proofing

  • Asbestos sprayed coating- structural beams as fire protection

  • Asbestos thermal insulation- asbestos pipe lagging, boiler insulation 

  • Asbestos millboard- Fire protection, suspended ceilings

  • Asbestos insulating board- fire breaks, suspended ceilings, wall linings

  • Asbestos paper- underside of floor lino

  • Asbestos textiles-gaskets, fire blankets

  • Asbestos cement- roofs, soffits, undercloaking 

  • Bitumen- roof felts, damp proof course, floor tile adhesive

  • Asbestos floor tiles

  • Reinforced asbestos resin- toilet cisterns, toilet seats, window sills.