Asbestos is the term used for the fibrous form of a number of naturally occurring silicate minerals.
The minerals were mined predominantly in Canada and South Africa, with imports to the UK starting around the turn of the century and reaching a peak in the early 1970s. There are six minerals included in this definition and they are split into two groups:
Serpentine group of minerals including Chrysotile.
Amphibole group includes Amosite, Crocidolite, Anthophyllite, Actinolite and Tremolite.
The three types of asbestos that were commonly used in this country are:
- Amosite (Brown) asbestos
- Chrysotile (White) asbestos
- Crocidolite (Blue) asbestos
Exposure to asbestos fibres through inhalation has been shown to cause a number of chronic fatal diseases including:
- Asbestosis, Mesothelioma & Lung cancer
Consequently, since this discovery a rigid legislative framework has been instituted by the HSE governing all aspects pertinent to asbestos materials. These regulations and codes of practice have been tightened and improved over recent years as our knowledge and understanding of asbestos and its related diseases has grown. It is estimated that the three main types of asbestos, Amosite, Chrysotile and Crocidolite have been used in the manufacture of more than three thousand products in the UK.