What is Asbestos?
Asbestos is a term for a group of six naturally occurring mineral fibres belonging to two groups:
- Serpentine Group – comprised of only chrysotile (white asbestos)
- Amphibole Group – comprised of anthophyllite, amosite (brown asbestos or grey asbestos), crocidolite (blue asbestos), tremolite, and actinolite.
Types of Asbestos
Asbestos containing materials can be categorised into friable and non-friable.
Airborne asbestos fibres are small, odourless and tasteless. It presents a health risk when it crumbles and the fine fibres become airborne, if asbestos is disturbed these fibers may be released into the environment and inhaled into the respiratory system.
Non-Friable Asbestos (Bonded) – This is when asbestos fibres are bonded to another material; such as cement or resin binder. It cannot be crumbled, pulverised or reduced to a powder by hand pressure when dry. This type is most commonly found in our built environment.
Friable Asbestos – Asbestos-containing material which, when dry, is or may become crumbled, pulverised or reduced to powder by hand pressure. Weathering, physical damage, water damage and natural disasters are common causes of this type of asbestos becoming airborne.