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The Three Common Types of Asbestos in Australia

The Three Common Types of Asbestos in Australia

Exploring the Asbestos Legacy

Between the 1940s and 1990s, Australia held a rather dubious distinction - it boasted the highest asbestos consumption per capita worldwide. This trend, however, came to a halt in 2003 when asbestos was completely banned due to its severe health risks.

  • Asbestos Exposure: A Looming Concern

If your property was constructed prior to this ban, you may unknowingly be at risk of asbestos exposure. Many older buildings still harbor asbestos-containing materials (ACMS), necessitating property owners to engage asbestos services for regular audits and the maintenance of updated registers.

Delving into Asbestos Types

In the quest to understand asbestos better, you might stumble upon three primary types. Let's embark on this journey and uncover their unique characteristics.

Chrysolite - The Common Asbestos

  • Discovering Chrysolite

Chrysolite, the most prevalent form of asbestos, presents as white fibers with gracefully curled ends. These fibers are sourced from serpentine rocks.

  • Versatile and Widely Used

Chrysolite's flexibility made it a popular choice in both residential and industrial applications. Its fibers could be effortlessly woven or spun into various fabrics and materials, granting them heat resistance and effective insulation properties.

  • Chrysolite's Habitat

You'll commonly encounter chrysolite in products like cement, adhesives, brake pads, shingles, gaskets, drywall, insulation, roofing, vinyl tiles, and fireproofing.

Amosite - The Brown Asbestos

  • Unveiling Amosite

Amosite, often referred to as brown asbestos, stood as Australia's second most utilized asbestos type. It was originally mined in South Africa as Grunerite, its natural form.

  • Durable and Insulating

Unlike chrysolite, amosite is characterized by its sharp, brittle, needle-like fibers with a brownish-grey hue. It gained favor due to its durability, exceptional insulation properties, and heat resistance.

  • Amosite's Haunting Risks

Amosite is one of the most perilous asbestos forms. Inhalation of its needle-like fibers can lead to lung complications.

  • Amosite's Haunts

You can find amosite in insulations, fire protection materials, cement sheets, gaskets, vinyl tiles, and roofing materials.

Crocidolite - The Blue Asbestos

  • The Enigmatic Crocidolite

Crocidolite earned the moniker "blue asbestos" due to its striking blue hue, whether in its natural state or processed forms. It was extensively mined throughout Australia, typically manifesting as soft, friable fibers.

  • Resistance and Danger

Characterized by straight, needle-like fibers, crocidolite is categorized under the amphibole class. Its acid and high-temperature resistance make it a formidable material. Unfortunately, it's also the most hazardous asbestos type, causing more fatalities than any other.

  • Crocidolite's Locations

This asbestos type can be found in acid storage battery casings, cement sheets, ceiling tiles, fireproofing materials, and insulation.

Concerned About Asbestos in Your Property?

We understand the distress that arises when asbestos-containing materials lurk in your building. That's why we're here to assist.

For professional asbestos services, please reach out to Global Asbestos Audits. With 60 years of combined experience in this field, we can furnish detailed asbestos registers and efficient management solutions to ensure safety and legal compliance.


Asbestos, once a common building material, now poses a grave threat to health. It's essential to be aware of the types and the risks they carry. If you suspect asbestos in your property, act promptly and seek professional guidance.

FAQs: Unraveling the Asbestos Enigma

  • What are the dangers of asbestos exposure?

Asbestos exposure can lead to severe lung diseases, including mesothelioma and asbestosis. It's a known carcinogen and poses a significant health risk.

  • Is asbestos removal a DIY task?

No, asbestos removal should only be handled by trained professionals. Disturbing asbestos-containing materials can release harmful fibers into the air.

  • Can I identify asbestos visually?

Identifying asbestos by sight alone is nearly impossible. It requires specialized testing and analysis by experts.

  • Why was asbestos so widely used in the past?

Asbestos was prized for its heat resistance and insulating properties, making it a popular choice in construction and manufacturing.

  • Is there any safe level of asbestos exposure?

No level of asbestos exposure is considered safe. Even minimal exposure over time can pose health risks.

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