Types of Asbestos

Although there are six different types of asbestos substances, Amosite, Chrysotile and Crocidolite are the most commonly seen and heard of types of asbestos.

Each of the main types of asbestos is decidedly different in physical and chemical properties depending on the other components of the rock, such as calcium, magnesium or iron.


The majority of asbestos containing materials comprise this type of asbestos. Also known as white asbestos, Chrysotile is a magnesium silicate and the most common form of asbestos. Approximately 90 percent of commercially used asbestos products throughout the world are made with Chrysotile.


Commonly known as brown asbestos, Amosite provides exceptional heat resistance and great tensile strength to products that it is used in. This substance is commonly used for fire-proofing and insulation. The fibres of Amosite are stiffer and stronger and, if inhaled, can penetrate the tissues in the lungs much more easily.


Crocidolite, or blue asbestos as it is known, has exceptional tensile strength and has straight fibres. The fibres of crocidolite are fairly flexible and are highly resistant to acid.

The other three types of asbestos are only very rarely encountered and are usually found as contaminants of other non-asbestos materials.

In the UK, the supply and use of blue and brown asbestos was prohibited in 1985 and white asbestos forbidden in 1999.