What is Asbestos?

Asbestos is a generic term for a number of fibrous silicate minerals. There are two major groups of asbestos:

  1. The most abundant kind of asbestos is the serpentine group, which contains chrysotile (white asbestos); and
  2. The amphibole group, which contains amosite (brown asbestos), crocidolite (blue asbestos), tremolite, actinolite and  anthophyllite.

Asbestos fibres have a very high tensile strength and are known for their resistance to heat, fire, acids, alkalis and corrosion.

Where is Asbestos Likely to be Found?

Asbestos has been used in the past in a variety of products. Some examples of asbestos products used in homes are:

  • Asbestos cement products
  • Roofs & wall claddings (internal & external)
  • Roof & walls of garages
  • Eaves and gable ends linings
  • Floor and walls in wet areas (bathrooms & laundry)
  • Fence panels
  • Flue pipe for water heaters
  • Packing material in floor joists

Other asbestos products

  • Electrical metering boards
  • Fire rated doors (home units)
  • Vinyl floor tiles
  • Wall tiles adhesive
  • Insulation in space and water heaters and associated pipe-work
  • External paints and coatings

If you are thinking of renovating and you are unsure whether your home contains asbestos material, it is best to treat the material as containing asbestos or seek professional advice, to find out whether asbestos is present.

Call the Work Cover Authority of NSW on 13 10 50 for more information about asbestos.

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