What Is Asbestos?

Asbestos is defined as a set of six naturally occurring silicate mineral fasbestos-hazard-danger-sign-s-0085ibres. They can belong to two groups: Serpentine and Amphibole. Serpentine is composed of chrysotile (white asbestos) and Amphibole is composed of anthophyllite, amosite (brown asbestos or grey asbestos), crocidolite (blue asbestos), tremolite, and actinolite.

Why is Asbestos so common?

Due to its flexibility, strength, insulation from heat and electricity and affordability, it was long considered one of the most versatile minerals. Many industries then began to use it in a wide variety of applications worldwide. Up until the 1980s, Australia was one of the highest users per capital in the world, and it was mined here up until 1984.

The fibres were often mixed with cement or woven into fabrics, which are now referred to as “Asbestos Containing Materials” or ACMs.

Risks of Exposure

The main risk with asbestos exposure is when it becomes airborne. It is more likely to become airborne if there is damage or deterioration done to a building containing many ACMs. As we in Christchurch are still recovering from a severe earthquake, there is a genuine risk of exposure to airborne asbestos.

Where can asbestos be found?

  • loose Insulation
  • Sprayed coating on walls
  • Pipe insulation
  • Insulation tiles and panel
  • Vinyl
  • Bitumen coating
  • Brake linings
  • Electrical Switchboards
  • Decorative plaster
  • Cement sheets
  • Drainage and flue pipes
  • Roofing and guttering
  • Vinyl sheet flooring
  • Concrete framework
  • Packing under beams

For help identifying the above materials please view our examples our Gallery.

Health Effects of Asbestos

Exposure to any form of asbestos is known to be incredibly dangerous and hazardous to our health. Prolonged inhalation of the fibres can cause some serious and fatal illnesses. Some of the health risks include, but are not limited to:

  • Lung cancer
  • Mesothelioma
  • Absestosis

All types of asbestos are known to cause serious health problems in humans, so they should be avoided at all costs. If you feel that you are at risk in your home, get in touch with our experts for full asbestos solutions.