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The 3 Common Forms of Asbestos

The three common types are Red, Brown and Blue. White asbestos (Chrysotile) in the most common and makes up 90% in the UK. Chrysotile is of the serpentine group and could potentially be broken down by our bodies if ingested.

Chrysotile will combust around combusts at around 350-400°c. It absorbs water, which is an advantage when working with white asbestos. Common uses include asbestos cement, sides of buildings, cladding and pipework.

Brown asbestos is the greatest asbestos when it comes to thermal and fire protection, it can exceed 900°c before it combusts. Its been used extensively as steelwork protection, thermal lagging around pipework in boiler systems and has benefits in sound insulation so has been used in churches, theatres and cinemas

Blue asbestos and commonly known as the most dangerous, has a short sharp needle-like structure. It’s water resistant and has a lower combustion rate around 400°c. Commonly used is asbestos cement for bridges and other structural items.

White asbestos was banned in 1999, blue and brown asbestos was formally banned in 1985. Blue asbestos was put through a voluntary ban in the UK meaning any building past 1970 shouldn’t have blue asbestos.