Asbestos is a fibrous mineral that’s naturally occurring and commonly mined in countries such as China, Brazil, Russia, and South Africa. Building materials made from asbestos are quite strong, heat-resistant, durable, and sound-absorbent – which made asbestos one of the most popular building materials in the United Kingdom and across the globe between the 1950s and 1990s. It’s also an attractive material used for building and electrical insulation among the many uses of asbestos. Any building that was constructed or refurbished before the year 2000 in the UK may contain asbestos. If you are wondering what are the types of asbestos and how dangerous they are, keep on reading this article.
Asbestos is divided into six unique types belonging to two mineral families such as serpentine and amphibole. In fact, all types of asbestos are highly toxic and dangerous to your health. Regular exposure to asbestos fibres can result in the development of many terminal conditions including mesothelioma and lung cancer. The building industry talks about three main types of asbestos materials such as chrysotile, amosite, and crocidolite.
Chrysolite is the most commonly used asbestos material in the building industry. It’s also referred to as “white asbestos” due to the colour of the material. Chrysolite fibres are fine-textured and have great heat-resistant properties and a higher level of flexibility. The material is most commonly used in roofing materials, cement, brake pads and brake linings.
Amosite is brown in colour and mostly mined in African countries. It’s strong, heat-resistant, and used in cement sheets and plumbing & electrical insulation work. Exposure to amosite has a higher risk of cancer compared to exposure to other types of asbestos materials.
Crocidolite known as blue asbestos.
The extremely thin fibres of the material will be easily lodged in the lungs when exposed to them regularly. Crocidolite’s thin fibres are brittle in nature. This makes crocidolite one of the most harmful types of asbestos out there because it can easily break down and lead to asbestos exposure.There are three more types of asbestos that are not that common in the building industry – namely tremolite, actinolite, and anthophyllite.
You may not have heard of these types because they are not sold commercially. Instead, they are used as contaminants in asbestos products. Tremolite fibres are available in chrysolite asbestos as a contaminant. It’s found in paints, sealants, talc products, insulation products, and woven into clothes.
Asbestos found in roofing materials .
Asbestos Roof Panel
Asbestos found in garage and Industrial roofing.
Asbestos Plastered Wall
Cracked Asbestos plastered wall
Actinolite fibres are dark in colour and lightweight.
They are found in sealants, paints, and drywall as contaminants. These fibres are brittle, fibrous, compact, and dense. The material is a good insulation product since it expands when heated. In fact, actinolite is commonly used in structural fire-proofing due to its many beneficial qualities.
Anthophyllite is the other type of asbestos that's grey-brown in colour. These fibres are commonly used as a contaminant in composite flooring products. It was also commonly used in talcum powder in the good old days. Studies have revealed that the risk of developing mesothelioma from anthophyllite is much lower compared to the other asbestos types. But there is a clear link between anthophyllite and other types of respiratory illnesses.
The most threatening types of asbestos are only needed in small doses to cause health problems in you and your loved ones. Asbestos fibres are known as carcinogens that could cause severe damage to the lungs and result in dangerous illnesses such as mesothelioma, asbestosis, and lung cancer in the long run. Asbestos won't cause any problems unless the fibres are disturbed or damaged when remodelling or upgrading your property.
The aforementioned article provides information on the different types of asbestos and how dangerous they are.
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