Types of Asbestos Products
Over 3000 asbestos materials were manufactured or used in homes and workplaces in Australia. These can be divided into two types.
Non-friable materials are mainly made of a bonding compound (such as cement). They usually contain between 10% and 20% asbestos. They are solid and rigid, and the asbestos fibres are tightly bound in the material. They present minimal health risk unless fibres are released by crushing, grinding or cutting. Examples of these products include:
- flat (fibro), corrugated or compressed asbestos cement sheeting
- asbestos cement pipes such as electrical, water, drainage and flue pipes
- brake and clutch linings
The Goliath Cement factory (now Cement Australia) at Railton in Tasmania was a major producer of asbestos sheeting. Only the James Hardie and Wunderlich companies produced more. Products manufactured by Goliath included Tasbestos, Plankton, Flexboard, Shadowall and Tasbestile.
Friable materials contain asbestos in powder form. It can also be material that can be crumbled, crushed or reduced to powder by hand pressure when dry. Friable asbestos materials can consist of up to 100% asbestos. Friable asbestos is highly dangerous as the fibres are more likely to become airborne if disturbed. Examples of friable asbestos include:
- sprayed limpet
- asbestos cloth and rope
- pipe lagging
- boiler lagging