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What are the differences between the 6 types of asbestos?

Despite the fact that it is a naturally occurring substance, asbestos is a highly hazardous material. It was widely used in the building sector from the 1950s through to the middle of the 1980s. Asbestos can also be found in any building that was built before the year 2000, such as houses, offices, schools, hospitals and factories. Insulation and fire-resistance features of this fibrous material made it a popular choice for building construction.

While there are six different varieties of asbestos, each has somewhat different qualities, and the most essential thing to remember is that each type of asbestos is dangerous. All types of asbestos should be treated with extreme caution, and you should limit your exposure to asbestos as much as you possibly can.

Construction materials containing asbestos are still extremely widespread in structures built before 2000, and they are at risk of being disturbed during maintenance and renovation projects, as well as during demolition. Once the fibres have been disrupted, they can be inhaled, where they can become lodged deep within our lungs and cause a variety of serious conditions.

When it comes to identifying asbestos, it can surprisingly be quite complicated. One of the easiest ways you can recognise asbestos is by looking at the surface pattern of the material. Most types of asbestos will have a swirl or dimpled pattern on the surface.

As there are six different types of asbestos, it’s critical to know the characteristics of the different types of asbestos to determine what you are dealing with. Read on to find out more about each asbestos profile.

The six different types of asbestos

There are a total of 6 different types of asbestos:

  • Actinolite asbestos
  • Anthophyllite asbestos
  • Amosite asbestos
  • Chrysotile asbestos
  • Crocidolite asbestos
  • Tremolite asbestos

So let’s look into what they are and what the difference is between all of them.

Actinolite Asbestos

Actinolite asbestos is probably the least known type of the asbestos. It is a very rare form of asbestos and in contrast to many other varieties of asbestos, can be found in a variety of colours, ranging from green and blue to white and yellow, making it more difficult to distinguish from other types. Because of its rarity, it was barely utilised in buildings on its own; nonetheless, it can be found in a variety of items such as cosmetics – which is rare, but it does occur in low quality cosmetics. This form of asbestos was most commonly used in children’s toys, sealants, dry wall, and asbestos concrete, amongst other products.

Anthophyllite Asbestos

Anthophyllite asbestos is classed as an amphibole, which is similar to Tremolite asbestos. Anthophyllite is one of the most dangerous types of asbestos to inhale because of the small size of the asbestos fibres. This variety of asbestos, like Tremolite, was usually discovered as a component of other asbestos forms, with trace amounts also detected in items such as talc and cement.

Amosite Asbestos

Amosite asbestos, along with Crocidolite asbestos, was outlawed in the United Kingdom in 1985, but it had been widely utilised in a variety of applications before that. Amosite asbestos, which is also known as brown asbestos due to its colour, was once a popular choice for pipe insulation, cement sheets, insulating board and other thermal insulation products due to its versatility.

Chrysotile Asbestos

Chrysolite Asbestos used to be the most extensively utilised variety of asbestos, and it is sometimes referred to as “white asbestos” because of its colour. In part due to its widespread use, Chrysotile asbestos can still be found in a variety of places, including roofing materials as well as ceilings, walls, floors and other surfaces in both commercial and residential buildings. Chrysotile was also utilised in the manufacture of brake linings, brake pads and brake gaskets for automobiles.

Crocidolite Asbestos

When Crocidolite asbestos was banned in the United Kingdom in 1985, it was one of the first groupings of the material to be banned anywhere in the world. Crocidolite asbestos, which is also known as “blue asbestos” because of its colour, was most widely utilised in the insulation of steam engines and pipelines, as well as spray-on coatings, plastics, and cement products.

Tremolite Asbestos

Tremolite asbestos is different from the other major kinds of asbestos. It is often found as a contaminate of Chrysotile asbestos. It has been linked to cases of malignant mesothelioma that occurred in the 1960s and 1970s. Tremolite comes in a variety of colours, from milky white to dark green. It is frequently found in talc and vermiculite. Tremolite was once utilised in paint, sealants, insulation, roofing and plumbing materials, amongst other things.

Asbestos is a human carcinogen classified as category 1. Asbestos fibres can cause a variety of deadly or serious respiratory diseases when inhaled. Keep in mind that if the fibres are breathed in or ingested, all six kinds of asbestos constitute a health concern. Asbestos-related diseases might take anywhere from 15 to 60 years to manifest. The danger with asbestos materials is that they decay over time, and asbestos fibres are easily released into the air if they are disturbed.

If you suspect the presence of asbestos in your environment, contact a professional team immediately, such as the friendly team here at South East Asbestos Surveys! We are the specialists in asbestos surveys in the south east, and we can provide a FREE quote for all commercial and domestic customers. Just call now on 07872 054963 to find out more.

Steven Hurst


I set up SE Asbestos Surveys more than 20 years ago, and we’ve come a long way since then! Today, we are your go-to local business for everything asbestos-related and more. The best part? Our in-house team handles it all, allowing us to offer you unbeatable prices.

Give me a buzz on the mobile to find out more. 


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