What does Asbestos look like? If you think you have asbestos present in your premises, contact us for asbestos guidance and support.
What does asbestos look like?
There are three types of asbestos:
- White Asbestos – Chrysotile
- Brown Asbestos – Amosite
- Blue Asbestos – Crocidolite
All are hazardous and should not be removed or disturbed without a fully licensed asbestos specialist present.
If you think you have asbestos on your premises here are a few key features to look out for.
White Asbestos – Chrysotile
Chrysotile, also known as white asbestos, is a member of the Serpentine group, so-named because the fibre is curly. Chrysotile fibres are the most flexible of all asbestos fibres. Chrysotile fibres can withstand the fiercest heat but are so soft and flexible that they can be spun and woven as easily as cotton. Resistance to alkaline attack makes chrysotile a useful reinforcing material in asbestos-cement building products. Chrysotile was banned in the UK in 1999.
Chrysotile is an extremely common used type of asbestos and is often present in a wide variety of products and materials, including:
- Vinyl floor tiles, sheeting, commonly within the adhesives used beneath
- Plaster and texture coatings
- Roofing slates, tars and felts,
- Acoustic ceilings
- External Roofs i.e. Corrugated shed roofs
- Flue Pipes, Soil and Vent Pipes & Rain Water Goods
- Thermal pipe insulation
- Fireproofing products
- Stage curtains
- Fire blankets
- Interior fire doors
Brown Asbestos – Amosite
Amosite, also known as brown asbestos, is a member of the Amphibole group. Its harsh, spiky fibres have good tensile strength and resistance to heat. In buildings, amosite was used for anti-condensation and acoustic purposes. On structural steel, it was used for fire protection. Between the 1920s and the late 1960s, amosite was used in preformed thermal insulation, pipes, slabs and moulded pipe fitting covers. In the UK, amosite was also used widely in the manufacture of insulation boards. The import of amosite was banned as of 1 January 1986 by The Asbestos (Prohibitions) Regulations 1985.
Amosite is another very commonly used type of asbestos and is often present in a variety of products and materials, including:
- General Insulating Boards
- External Soffits & Fascia
- Ceiling Panels
- Toilet Cisterns
- Boiler Cupboard Doors & linings
- Bath Panels
- Radiator Covers
- Fire partitions
- Fire Door headers
- Lift Doors / linings
Blue Asbestos – Crocidolite
Crocidolite, also known as blue asbestos, is a member of the Amphibole group. The needle like fibres are the strongest of all asbestos fibres and have a high resistance to acids. Crocidolite was used in yarn and rope lagging from the 1880s until the mid-1960s and in preformed thermal insulation from the mid-1920s until 1950. The high bulk volume of crocidolite makes it suitable for use in sprayed insulation.
Crocidolite is known to be the most lethal of all the asbestos types. The import of crocidolite peaked in 1950; fell by 25% in 1960 and by 88% in 1970. The “import, supply and use of crude, fibre, flake, powder or waste crocidolite or amosite” wasn’t actually banned until the Asbestos (Prohibitions) Regulations of 1985 came into force, although strict guidelines had regulated its use since 1969.
Crocidolite is most commonly used in insulation products due to high fibre strengths. This type of asbestos is found commonly in commercial buildings where larger heating installations require insulation and structural elements require fire protection. It is seldom used in residential properties, however its use to insulate pipework, loft spaces (in pure form) etc. has been known. Typical uses of the Crocidolite includes:
- Sprayed asbestos (flock) to structural beams, soffits
- Thermal Insulation to Pipework (lagging)
- Hard-set insulation to pipes, cylinders, calorifiers and boilers
- Asbestos rope (seals and gaskets)
- Loft insulation – pure form (not mixed with other materials)
- Asbestos Cement (this is not licensed or notifiable, as asbestos fibres are bonded into cement composition)
If you think you have asbestos present in your premises, contact us for asbestos guidance and support.