Asbestos Types

asbestos_minerals

  • Chrysotile – also known as White asbestos, is the most commonly encountered form of Asbestos. The fibres are soft and fibrous and it belongs to the serpentine group. Chrysotile was banned in the UK in 1999. Commonly found in products such as Corrugated Cement Roofing Sheets, Artex, Bonded Floor Tiles and Adhesive, and Cement based Rain Water Products.
  • Amosite – also known as Brown asbestos. The fibres are spikey which have good tensile strength and they belong to the amphibole group. Used mainly between the 1920s and the late 60’s. Amosite was banned in the UK in 1986. Commonly found in products such as Asbestos Insulation Board (AIB), Ceiling Tiles, and Bonded Toilet Cisterns.
  • Crocidolite – also known as Blue asbestos. The fibres are like needles and are the strongest. Crocidolite has been used since the 1880’s and was finally banned by the Asbestos (Prohibitions) Regulations in 1985. The Fibres are very friable and it is considered the most dangerous of the three. Crocidolite is commonly found in products such as Spray Lagging (Limpet and Flock) and Pipe Lagging.

 

Why is asbestos dangerous?

When these fibres are inhaled they can cause serious diseases which are responsible for around 4500 deaths a year. There are four main diseases caused by asbestos: mesothelioma (which is always fatal), lung cancer (almost always fatal), asbestosis (not always fatal, but it can be very debilitating) and diffuse pleural thickening (not fatal).

Asbestos fibres are present in the environment in Great Britain so people are exposed to very low levels of fibres. However, a key factor in the risk of developing an asbestos-related disease is the total number of fibres breathed in. Working on or near damaged asbestos-containing materials or breathing in high levels of asbestos fibres, which may be many hundreds of times that of environmental levels can increase your chances of getting an asbestos-related disease.

Asbestos related diseases won’t affect immediately but later on in life, so there is a need for you to protect yourself now to prevent you contracting an asbestos-related disease in the future. It is also important to remember that people who smoke and are also exposed to asbestos fibres are at a much greater risk of developing lung cancer.