What Asbestos Is

Asbestos is a class 1 cancer causing agent with no known safe level of exposure. It is a naturally-occurring fibrous mineral

Because it is able to withstand heat, erosion and decay and is resistant to fire and water, it was put to many different uses and considered a “miracle” product for many years.

There are three main types of asbestos

Chrysotile (White) Amosite (Brown) Crocidolite (Blue)


When asbestos containing material is disturbed tiny fibres can be released into the air. Asbestos-related diseases (such as mesothelioma, lung cancer or asbestosis) can be caused by breathing in these fibres.  Mesothelioma is a fatal and incurable cancer. Other asbestos-related diseases, such as lung cancer and asbestosis, also have high mortality rates.  


The World Health Organization has stated that there is no minimum safe exposure level for any form of asbestos fibres1

The National Health and Medical Research Council likewise has noted that ‘... asbestos is ... a highly toxic, insidious and environmentally persistent material that has killed thousands of Australians, and will kill thousands more this century’.


Many Australian workers have died as a result of being exposed to asbestos fibres in their workplace

The toll extends across many types of worker including miners, wharfies who loaded asbestos onto ships, mechanics that worked on asbestos-filled brake pads and gaskets and electricians and technicians in power stations.  Builders, carpenters, roofers and other tradespeople that used ‘fibro’ building products and what is known as “super 6” corrugated sheeting have been particularly affected. Tragically some of them brought the dust home on overalls and work gear and it was inhaled by family members who also became ill.


While every effort has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information contained in this publication, Asbestos Free Tasmania foundation expressly disclaim liability to any person for the consequences of anything done or omitted to be done by any such person in reliance, whether whole or partial, upon any part of the contents of this website. © AFTF 2012.

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Tuesday the 20th