Asbestos Materials

Asbestos has been used in many building materials and consumer goods. However, when asbestos dust is breathed in, it can be harmful to health. A few simple precautions will help to reduce the risk. This section is intended to help you identify asbestos materials and indicates some steps to take to protect yourself and your family.


What is Asbestos?

Asbestos is a natural mineral made up of many small fibres. There are three main types:

  • Blue Asbestos - Crocidolite
  • Brown Asbestos - Amosite
  • White Asbestos - Chrysotile

All can be harmful if dust containing the fibre is inhaled.

Asbestos has been used about the home in building materials and consumer goods, particularly to resist heat and to give fire protection. In recent years a number of alternative or substitute products have been developed. Nevertheless, it is still possible to encounter asbestos products and, while these are not in themselves dangerous, as potential sources of fibrous dust they must be treated with caution. The inhalation of asbestos dust is dangerous and can cause a number of diseases including cancer, often many years after the first exposure. Asbestos products should always be handled carefully. Particular care is necessary with crumbly or loose-fill type products.


How Can You Identify Asbestos Products?

Identifying asbestos products can be difficult but the following should help:

  • Labelling - many products containing asbestos are labelled accordingly.
  • If you think a product contains asbestos, but are unsure, the manufacturer or supplier should be able to help you.
  • If you think there is asbestos in your home you can seek expert advice (asbestos monitoring/surveying and removal companies can be found online or in the Classified Telephone Directory).

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