What Is Asbestos?

We are often asked, ‘what is asbestos?’ and while the term is frequently used few people actually understand what it is or why we test for it. Asbestos is a series of six naturally occurring silicate minerals that have long slender fibrous crystals and were commonly used in both residential and commercial building and infrastructure.

Unfortunately, with prolonged exposure, asbestos has proven to pose various health threats including Mesothelioma, Pleural Plaques Disease, Asbestosis and even Lung Cancer.

Types of Asbestos

While few people know the answer to ‘what is asbestos?’, even fewer know the various types of asbestos. Knowing the different types of asbestos can help you to recognise what signs and symptoms to look for in order to prepare yourself for an asbestos home.

The six different types of asbestos include:

  • Chrysotile
  • Amosite
  • Crocidolite
  • Tremolite
  • Anthophyllite
  • Actinolite

You may be wondering, ‘does my house have asbestos?’, and knowing the different types of asbestos can help you determine the answer to that question. Below you will find an extensive overview of the types of asbestos and their traits to guide you through what to look for:

Do I Have Asbestos in My House?

People who are familiar with the history of asbestos are often mistaken into thinking that their home is guaranteed to be free of asbestos because it was built after 1989. But the fact of the matter is that, even with Australia’s nation wide ban of asbestos in 2003, there still exist many types of asbestos in older buildings and construction sites.


With over 90% of applications, Chrysotile is the most frequently used type of asbestos.

Commonly known as the ‘white asbestos’, chrysotile can be found in roofs, walls, floors and ceilings and can still be just as lethal with prolonged exposure as other, more threatening types of asbestos.


Amosite, also referred to as grunerite, is used in cement sheets, insulation boards, thermal, plumbing, electrical and chemical insulation, roofing products, fire protection, gaskets and tiles.

If you find yourself wondering, ‘does my house have asbestos like Amosite’, call an asbestos removal specialist like Northern Rivers and find out now. Amosite asbestos exposure can leave you vulnerable to Mesothelioma, Asbestosis and Lung Cancer which is why ensuring that your home is asbestos free is of the utmost importance.


Of all the types of asbestos, Crocidolite is the most common cause of illness. This is because its very thin fibers are easily inhaled and drawn into the lungs causing significant threats to the respiratory system.

Commonly referred to as ‘blue asbestos, the crocidolite mineral was used in many instances from wires, chemical insulation and cement sheets to storage battery casings and thermal insulation of gaskets.


Actinolite is commonly found in concrete construction, fireproofing materials, soil and insulation. As one of the lesser known types of asbestos, Actinolite can be harder to identify.

It usually appears in dark shades of grey, brown, green and white and is used with vermiculite which expands in the presence of heat.

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