What is Asbestos?


Asbestos is a general term used to describe a number of naturally occurring minerals found within certain types of rock. When mined, asbestos fibres were found to have many useful properties, including high tensile strength (it’s 7x times stronger than steel), high resistance to heat, chemicals and acoustics. These properties of asbestos, as well as being cheap to mine meant asbestos was used extensively as building materials throughout the 20th century.

There are two groups of Asbestos - Serpentine and Amphibole. The Serpentine group is characterised by curly fibres (think Serpent = Snake) whereas Amphiboles are long, straight, needle-like fibres.

Asbestos can be categorised into 6 different types. The most common types used in buildings throughout New Zealand are:

  • Chrysotile (also known as White) Asbestos, this is a part of the Serpentine group.
  • Amosite (also known as Brown) Asbestos, and
  • Crocidolite (also known as Blue) Asbestos. Amosite and Crocidolite are Amphiboles.

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Why is it Dangerous?

The most serious health problems occur when asbestos fibres are inhaled. When asbestos fibres are inhaled, the fibres align within the air stream and can be carried into the lungs where they become lodged. The human body's natural defence is unable to dispose of the foreign fibres. This causes fibrosis or tumours in these areas and can lead to a number of health effects ranging from non-fatal to fatal.

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"We have worked with Hazard Management on many projects and have always received a professional service from Keith and his colleagues. Therefore, I would recommend project managers and builders to use Hazard Management for any asbestos-related issues."


Master Builder and Construction Project Manager

"Hazard Management are a very professional company. On time and thorough. During my project, Keith and his team kept a close eye of the removal work throughout. Because of this, I felt confident the asbestos removal people were doing the job right."


Building Developer

"The survey by Hazard Management was easy to read/follow and they did a thorough and professional job. I see a ton of these surveys come through, many are poor quality but this was a breath of fresh air. I will be keeping Hazard Management in mind for my future work."


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