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Asbestos in commercial buildings
What is asbestos?
Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral fibre mined from the earth and used extensively in materials & equipment prior to 2003. Asbestos is a versatile product, which withstands heat, erosion and decay; it also has fire and water resistant properties.
There are three main types of asbestos still found in building products. These are commonly called 'blue asbestos' (crocidolite), 'brown or grey asbestos' (amosite) and 'white asbestos' (chrysotile). All of them are dangerous. The most common type of asbestos used in building products is 'white asbestos' (chrysotile).
The use of all forms of asbestos has been banned nationally since 31 December 2003.
Where might I find asbestos in my building?
While the majority of building products containing asbestos were phased out in the mid 1980s, other materials continue to be used in plant rooms and other equipment until more recently. While the majority of materials containing asbestos are asbestos cement sheeting, there is still a wide range of other forms in non-residential buildings.
Some examples of materials containing asbestos in commercial buildings are:
Who is most at risk?
Trades people are most at risk or exposure to asbestos fibres as they are more likely to frequently undertake work such as using power tools, sawing or sanding, which can generate the release of asbestos fibres into the air. In some people, this may lead to asbestos-related diseases. If these materials are in good condition, and remain undisturbed and well maintained, they do not pose a health risk.