What is asbestos?

Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral consisting of numerous small fibres, which are able to be released into the atmosphere. The innate qualities that asbestos possesses, including being non-combustible, strong and affordable, made it a very popular building material.

Asbestos was widely used in over 3,000 products from building materials to protective clothing. These are commonly referred to as ACM (asbestos containing materials) and are currently reaching the end of their serviceable life.

Due to the common use of asbestos in the past, houses built before 1 January 2000 have a strong chance of containing some ACM. Once the health risks were identified, asbestos use in New Zealand slowly began to fade out. However, importing products of asbestos into the country was only banned in 2016.

What are the dangers of asbestos?

In its undisturbed form, there are no issues with asbestos. The danger arises if it becomes disturbed or broken and the small fibres become airborne and are then inhaled.

Inhaling significant quantities of airborne asbestos causes:

  • Asbestosis (scarring of lung tissue)
  • Mesothelioma (malignant tumours, cancers that develop around the lungs)
  • Pleural plaques (thickening of the membrane around the lungs)
  • Lung cancer.

Generally speaking, if asbestos-containing materials in your home or building are in good condition, they are not likely release asbestos fibres and therefore there is minimal risk associated with them if they remain undisturbed. If you would like peace of mind and assistance with asbestos identification please contact our highly-qualified specialist team today.

What does asbestos look like?

There are three common types of asbestos fibres: chrysotile (white), amosite (brown) and crocidolite (blue). The other three rarer forms are anthrophylite, actinolite and tremolite. All six mineral types are known human carcinogens.

L – R: White (Chrysotile) Asbestos, Brown (Amosite) Asbestos, Blue (Crocidolite) Asbestos

Asbestos identification
in your home or building

If your house or building was constructed prior to 2000, there is a good chance that you may have ACM present. There are many areas in your building that asbestos could be hiding, below are just four common places.

For a full diagram of where asbestos could be found click here for residential and click here for commercial.

L – R: ‘Super Six’ roof, ‘Popcorn’ ceiling, Asbestos ceiling, External cladding

For fast, accurate and reliable asbestos identification,
our Asbestos team can assist you today!