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When is Asbestos Dangerous?

At Myers Asbestos removal company, we are commonly asked ‘when is asbestos dangerous?’ and what exactly is it about asbestos that makes it so hard for the body to remove? What we’ve learned is that asbestos commonly enters the body by being breathed in, which means it’s most dangerous when it’s in a position where inhaling the fibres is easy. Unlike most substances that are cleared from the lungs over time, asbestos fibres are so tiny that the body can’t get rid of them. This causes the fibres to nestle deep into the lung tissue and causes problems such as asbestosis, a long-term lung inflammation that can lead to lung failure and heart disease, or deadly mesothelioma cancer.

When it comes to answering, ‘when is asbestos dangerous?’, the answer is ‘always’ but loose asbestos ‘friable asbestos’ is the most dangerous kind. This is because the fibres can be easily breathed in as this type of asbestos is usually found in a powdered form. Non-friable asbestos can become friable if materials are left to degrade or an asbestos-containing material is crushed or disturbed. Read our article below for more information about the different types of asbestos and which one is the most harmful:

When is asbestos dangerous: The different types

What are some examples of friable asbestos?

Examples of friable asbestos may include insulation, pipe lagging, spray coating or broken-down materials that contain asbestos. Though it’s rare to find friable asbestos in Queensland as the most prominent case was the Mr Fluffy insulation in NSW, there are some homes built before the 1980s that may contain it.

What are some examples of non-friable asbestos?

The most common examples of non-friable asbestos include tiles, corrugated cement sheets, sheet flooring, fireproofing and various construction materials. Non-friable asbestos makes up for 97% of asbestos in Australia and is usually removed or encapsulated before it degrades or breaks.

What is the most harmful type of asbestos?

In Australia, you can find six types of asbestos used, with the first three types being the most common:

Chrysotile (White asbestos)

While asbestos is the most common type of asbestos found in Australia and falls under the serpentine mineral category. This means it has small curly fibres, which makes it marginally less dangerous than Crocidolite asbestos, which has tiny straight fibres. White asbestos is commonly found in roofs, walls, and ceilings as well as automobiles and pipe insulation.

Amosite (Brown asbestos)

Brown asbestos is part of the amphibole class, which means it has straight, tiny fibres. It’s commonly found in insulation and cement sheets as it’s extremely resistant to heat. As the fibres are straight and not curly, brown asbestos is easier to inhale than white asbestos.

Crocidolite (Blue asbestos)

Blue asbestos is the most harmful type of asbestos, as its tiny needle-like fibres are very easy to inhale. So dangerous is this asbestos that it devastated a mining town for generations, resulting in ‘Wittenoom’ getting shut down completely as it continued to kill up to 2000 people long after production of asbestos had ceased.

Tremolite, Anthophyllite and Actinolite asbestos

These types of asbestos are far less common but have been found in some construction materials and even cosmetic products if talc gets contaminated.

How much asbestos exposure is harmful?

Wondering how much asbestos is harmful? Though one-time exposure does not commonly cause health problems, there have still been plenty of cases worldwide of people dying because of one small incident – which goes to show that there is no safe amount of asbestos exposure. If you think you may have been in contact with exposure through renovating, it’s recommended you enlist the help of a residential asbestos removal specialist to test the material and see a doctor straight away. Asbestos-related health problems can take decades to manifest but it’s important to have a doctor keep an eye on you to catch any symptoms straight away. 

Residential and Commercial Asbestos Removal

We hope you’ve enjoyed reading our article on ‘When is asbestos most dangerous?’ If you’re looking for asbestos removal or asbestos encapsulation Brisbane wide, be sure to contact commercial asbestos removal specialists for a free quote online or by calling 0412 314 588 if you need any type of asbestos removed. Remember, it’s better to be safe than sorry, so consult a professional if you think you may have stumbled across asbestos in your home or business.

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