Types of asbestos

The term asbestos refers to six unique minerals belonging to two mineral families, serpentine and amphibole. All forms of asbestos are highly toxic, and exposure can lead to the development of many terminal diseases, such as mesothelioma.

Three main types of asbestos

These are often found whilst carrying out building work are:

Chrysotile (white asbestos)

  • Most commonly used in the uk
  • Often contaminated with trace
    amounts of tremolite
  • Fibres usually fine in texture
  • Possess high flexibility
  • Good heat resistant properties
  • Commonly used in cement, brake
    pads/linings, plastics, bitumens and
    roofing materials

Amosite (brown asbestos)

  • Mined mostly in Africa
  • Particularly strong
  • Heat-resistant
  • Commonly used in cement sheet,
    plumbing insulation and
    electrical insulation
  • Comparatively higher cancer risk
    (although all asbestos is toxic)

Crocidolite (blue asbestos)

  • Very thin fibres
  • If inhaled, easily lodged in lungs
  • Easily breaks down
  • This brittle nature makes it one of the
    most harmful forms of asbestos
  • Good heat resistant properties
  • Commonly used in Thermal
    Insulation, Sound Proofing and Fire
    protection products

Less common types of asbestos

There are three minor types of asbestos that you may hear about. Tremolite, actinolite and anthophyllite have never been sold commercially.
Instead, they were often found as contaminants in commercially-sold asbestos products.


  • Found as a contaminant in
    chrysotile asbestos, paint sealants,
    asbestos-containing insulation
    products and talc products
  • Manifests in several colours
    – including white, green and grey
  • Spun and woven into cloth


  • Lightweights
  • Generally dark in colour
  • Comes in various forms – including brittle & fibrous or dense & compact
  • Often found in paints, sealants and drywall
  • Expands when heated, making it an effective insulation materialr
  • Commonly used as insulation materials and structural fire-proofing


  • Grey-brown in colour
  • Contaminant in composite flooring
  • Used in products containing vermiculite and talc
  • Studies suggest lower-risk of
    developing mesothelioma compared
    to other asbestos types
  • However, there is still a clear link with the disease

Domestic Property

Where can asbestos be found?

Non-Domestic Property

Where can asbestos be found?

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to discuss your requirements in more detail to obtain the most suitable quotation.