Types of asbestos
Understanding the Different Types of Asbestos in Australia: Chrysotile, Amosite and Crocidolite
Asbestos, once widely used in construction due to its desirable properties, is now recognised as a hazardous material due to its association with serious health risks. In Australia, three main types of asbestos have been commonly used: Chrysotile, Amosite and Crocidolite Asbestos. In this blog post, we will explore each type of asbestos, where they are found, their differences, and general information about their properties and uses.
Chrysotile asbestos, also known as white asbestos, is the most common type of asbestos used globally. It has been widely utilised in various industries and construction materials. Key facts about chrysotile asbestos include:
- Chrysotile asbestos consists of fine, white and curly fibres. It is a serpentine mineral found in large deposits around the world, including Australia.
- Chrysotile Asbestos fibres are flexible and resistant to heat, chemicals, and electricity. It has been used in a wide range of products, such as fibre cement sheeting, roofing materials, insulation, and friction materials (brakes and clutches).
Amosite asbestos, also known as brown asbestos, is another type commonly found in Australia. It has distinctive properties and applications, here are some important details about amosite asbestos:
- Amosite asbestos consists of straight, brittle and brown fibres. It is an amphibole mineral primarily mined in South Africa.
- Amosite asbestos is heat-resistant, durable, and has excellent insulation properties. It has been used in construction materials, including thermal insulation, pipe insulation, ceiling tiles and cement products.
Crocidolite asbestos, often referred to as blue asbestos, is the most dangerous and lethal form of asbestos due to its extremely thin and needle-like fibres. Key information about crocidolite asbestos includes:
- Crocidolite asbestos features delicate, straight and blue fibres. It is primarily found in South Africa, Western Australia, and other regions worldwide.
- Crocidolite asbestos is resistant to high temperatures, acids and chemicals. It has been used in the production of insulation materials, pipe insulation, cement products, and some types of spray-on coatings.
General Information about asbestos
- Health Risks: all types of asbestos are hazardous when fibres are released into the air and subsequently inhaled. Prolonged exposure to asbestos can lead to serious lung disease, including lung cancer, mesothelioma, and asbestosis.
- Legislation and Regulation: In Australia, strict regulations are in place to control the use, handling, and removal of asbestos. The Australia government and state governments have implemented guidelines and safety protocols to protect workers and the public.
- Safe handling and removal: asbestos removal should only be performed by licensed professionals who follow specific guidelines and safety measures. DIY removal is strongly discouraged due to the potential health risks.