Asbestos: What Is It?

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Whilst not legal for use in modern building work, asbestos is a building material that was desirable for its heat resistance, toughness, low energy conductivity and flexibility.

Asbestos is a natural fibrous rock that, until being banned in 1999, was used for its abilities as an insulator as well as offering protection from fire and corrosion.

The three main types used in the UK are:

Crocidolite (blue asbestos)

Crocidolite is arguably the biggest health risk posed by asbestos. This is due to its fibres being incredibly thin, making it susceptible to inhalation. This can lead to diseases such as lung cancer, mesothelioma and asbestosis. Its main uses were in commercial building work and is often found in insulation boards, ceiling tiles and millboards. It is less heat resistant than other forms of asbestos making it less useful for industrial purposes. It originates from mining sites in Australia, South Africa and Bolivia.

Amosite (brown asbestos)

Amosite is one of the most common types of asbestos and was often used for thermal insulation and as a fire retardant. Amosite inhalation is also a leading cause of cancer among building workers. It offers good tensile strength and heat resistance and is used in products such as cement sheets, plumbing insulation and roofing products.

Chrysotile (white asbestos)

Also known as Serpentine Asbestos, Chrysotile asbestos accounts for more than 95% of historic asbestos use. It has finer and more flexible fibres than other forms of asbestos and can therefore be spun and woven into fabric that can then perform insulative functions. Chrysotile is used in products such as cement, brake pads and joint compound.


If you have any asbestos related concerns, you can contact a member of our team on 01482 668221 or email us at

For more information you can also check out our Asbestos information page.

January 3rd, 2017|Blog|Comments Off on Asbestos: What Is It?