There are six different asbestos fibre types, however there are three particularly common types present in New Zealand. There are two asbestos mineral families Serpentine and Amphibole. Serpentine asbestos has curly fibers made up of sheets of crystals. The single type of asbestos from the serpentine family, chrysotile, has historically accounted for more than 95 percent of all asbestos used around the world. Amphibole asbestos has needle-shaped fibers. Studies suggest it takes much less exposure to amphibole asbestos to cause cancer, compared to serpentine asbestos. Amosite and crocidolite are the most commercially valuable types of amphibole asbestos, while anthophyllite, tremolite and actinolite are considered non-commercial forms.
Chrysotile (White Asbestos)
Chrysotile is the most commonly used form of asbestos. It can be found today in the roofs, ceilings, walls and floors of homes and businesses. Manufacturers also used chrysotile asbestos in brake linings, gaskets and boiler seals, and insulation for pipes, ducts and appliances.
Amosite (Brown Asbestos)
Amosite was used most frequently in cement sheets and pipe insulation. It can also be found in insulating board, ceiling tiles and thermal insulation products.
Crocidolite (Blue Asbestos)
Crocidolite (blue asbestos) was commonly used to insulate steam engines. It was also used in some spray-on coatings, pipe insulation, plastics and cement products.
All friable asbestos (Class A) removal work must be carried out by a licensed asbestos removalist.
If more than 10m² of non-friable asbestos (Class B) has to be removed during a project, it must be removed by a licensed asbestos removalist.