Types of Asbestos and Who Should Remove It

types of asbestos

What Type of Asbestos Can Harm Me?

Asbestos minerals are divided into two main groups – serpentines and amphiboles – based on their fibre structure. The amphibole group is generally regarded as more hazardous because of its greater tendency to become airborne and its greater persistence in the body.

1. Serpentines:

  • Chrysotile: Is the most common type of asbestos used, and is approximately 95% or all asbestos found in buildings. It is white in colour and is made up of fine flexible white fibres, and is the only asbestos mineral in the serpentine group.

2. Amphiboles:

There are five types of asbestos in the amphibole group.

  • Amosite: Has a brown colour to it, is made up of straight brown/grey fibres, and is the second most common type of asbestos found in building materials.
  • Crocidolite: Consists of straight fibres and has a blue characteristics
  • Anthophyllite, tremolite and actinolite are occasionally found as contaminants in asbestos-containing materials.

Inhaling asbestos fibres can cause chronic and life-threatening lung diseases. These diseases, which can occur several decades after exposure, include asbestosis (a lung scarring disease), lung cancer, and mesothelioma a rare form of cancer.

Can I remove asbestos from my home myself?

No one other than licenced and trained professionals should remove asbestos. Any worker that is involved in an asbestos abatement project must have received proper training, and must be wearing the proper personal protective gear. Asbestos fibres can easily become air borne, creating a risk of serious illness if proper precautions are not taken.
If you suspect there might be asbestos containing material and before renovations can take place, the product or material must be tested. If there is asbestos is present, proper procedures must be used before the material can be disturbed (removed, or cut).
In many areas, there are strict regulations that define the procedures that must be used when working with different types of asbestos. Even if the work is to be done outdoors, these requirements must be followed.

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