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Where to find asbestos?

If in doubt always contact Octief.

Air-conditioning ducts

Air-conditioning ducts

Asbestos products were incorporated for exterior or interior acoustic and thermal insulation. It can be most commonly found in heater banks within the air conditioning system.

Arc shields

Arc shields

Arc shields can be found in lift motor rooms or large electrical cabinets. These are used as they will not deteriorate as quickly as other materials. Exposure can occur while conducting maintenance.

Asbestos-based plastics products

Asbestos-based plastics products

Asbestos-based plastics include products such as electrical insulates and acid-resistant compositions or aircraft seats. Exposure can occur if the product becomes damaged or broken.

Asbestos ceiling tiles

Asbestos ceiling tiles

Old asbestos ceiling tiles and newer non-asbestos ceiling tiles can appear to be the same. Asbestos ceiling tiles contain a fibrous cement product which appears grey in colour. Tiles may have a vinyl covering.

Asbestos cement conduit

Asbestos cement conduit

Conduit piping used to encase electrical wires and the like can be made from asbestos products. Exposure can occur when working on the conduits or its contents.

Asbestos electrical fuse boards

Asbestos electrical fuse boards

Fuse boards that contain asbestos are those that have a black backing product known as zelemite. It is a very strong product that was favoured for its resistance to heat and fire. If a fuse board catches fire the zelemite backing will remain undamaged while the electrics are destroyed. The risk to exposure is low unless it is damaged or broken. Exposure can occur if electricians drill into it to mount further electrics.

Asbestos cement external roofs

Asbestos cement external roofs

Asbestos roofs are most commonly made of a dark grey material known as super six (pictured). It is a corrugated form of asbestos cement. The asbestos fibres are bound within a cement matrix. This product was favoured due to its resistance to weather conditions. Exposure can occur if fractures or breaks happen but also if a gurney is used on the surface to clean it.

Asbestos cement walls

Asbestos cement walls

Found both internally and externally, the walls contain asbestos fibres bound within a cement matrix. Walls are flat surfaced and very strong. The colour can appear as a dark grey, light grey, white-grey or blue-grey. Externally they were used for its resistance to weather conditions. Internally it is most commonly found in wet areas (i.e. bathroom, toilet, laundry, kitchen, etc.). Keeping walls painted helps maintain a good condition. Exposure can occur when panels become broken or damaged.

Asbestos cement

Asbestos cement

In the use of form work when pouring concrete.

Asbestos cement

Asbestos cement

Internal flues and downpipes.

Asbestos cement moulded products

Asbestos cement moulded products

Asbestos cement was able to be moulded into almost any shape which led to it being used for products such as gutters, ridge cappings, gas meter covers, drain trap surrounds, cable troughs and covers. Exposure can occur if the product becomes damaged or broken; or if a gurney is used to clean them.

Asbestos cement pieces

Asbestos cement pieces

for packing spaces between floor joists and piers

Asbestos cement water pipes

Asbestos cement water pipes

Usually found underground, asbestos cement was moulded into pipes of all sizes for the transport of water. As asbestos cement is resistant to water and will not deteriorate or water-logged, this product was considered favourable. Exposure can occur while working on pipes or replacing lenghts of piping. It may also occur if a water main bursts and breaks some of the asbestos piping.

Asbestos-containing laminates

Asbestos-containing laminates

(e.g. formica) used where heat resistance is required, e.g. ships

Asbestos-containing pegboard

Asbestos-containing pegboard

Asbestos felts

Asbestos felts

Asbestos marine board

Asbestos marine board

(e.g. marinate)

Asbestos mattresses

Asbestos mattresses

used for covering hot equipment in power stations

Asbestos paper

Asbestos paper

used variously for insulation, filtering and production of fire resistant laminates

Asbestos roof tiles

Asbestos roof tiles

Roof tiles can contain a percentage of asbestos fibres used to help reinforce them against weather conditions and damage. Exposure can occur if tiles become loose and broken or damaged.

Asbestos textiles

Asbestos textiles

Asbestos textile gussets

Asbestos textile gussets

in air-conditioning ducting systems

Asbestos yarn

Asbestos yarn

Three properties made asbestos yarn favourable: ability to be woven, strength and fire resistance. Yarn was used to manufacture products such as rope, gloves, fire blankets and even fire fighting clothes. These products provided superior strength and protection against fire and heat.

Autoclave / steriliser insulation

Autoclave / steriliser insulation

Asbestos cement render

Asbestos cement render

Asbestos cement render, plaster, mortar and coursework.

Asbestos cement sheet

Asbestos cement sheet

These are a very common type of asbestos product that can be found in most buildings. It was favoured for its strength, but also for its resistance to extreme temperatures and water. The sheet itself can appear as dark grey, light grey, white-grey, blue-grey or pink-grey. Exposure can occur if sheets become damaged or broken.

Bitumen-based water proofing

Bitumen-based water proofing

Includes products such as malthoid, typically on roofs and floors but also in brickwork. It provided extra resistance to water.

Bituminous adhesives and sealants

Bituminous adhesives and sealants

Asbestos was used in these products to increase its strength. Adhesives and sealants used to bind vinyl tiles or vinyl sheeting to the floor contain asbestos fibres which become airborne if attempts are made to remove vinyl or disturb it.

Boiler gaskets

Boiler gaskets

Gaskets made from asbestos were used for their thermal resistance. They may be bound within a cement or polymer matrix. Depending upon where they are used they can deteriorate leading to potential exposures. The condition of gaskets should be monitored closely.

Boiler insulation

Boiler insulation

Boiler insulation, slabs and wet mix

Brake disc pads

Brake disc pads

These were made from asbestos as they provide good resistance to friction. Asbestos brake pads last much longer than other brake pads so were popular for their economic benefit.

Brake linings

Brake linings

Cable penetration insulation

Cable penetration insulation

Cable penetration insulation (typically Telecom).

Calorifier insulation

Calorifier insulation

Car body filters

Car body filters

Car body filters (not common)

Caulking compounds

Caulking compounds

Caulking compounds, sealant and adhesives

Chrysotile wicks

Chrysotile wicks

Chrysotile wicks in kerosene heaters. As the chrysotile (white asbestos) fibres do not burn they are favourable for their ability to last. They are also the most flexible of fibres so can be spun into wicks easily. The risk to exposure from this product is high as they are not bound within a matrix.

Clutch faces

Clutch faces

Clutch faces in various motors can have an asbestos product on them to reduce friction and burning.

Compressed asbestos cement panels

Compressed asbestos cement panels

Compressed asbestos cement panels can be found as flooring, typically verandas, bathrooms and steps for demountable buildings. It is a strong product that appears grey in colour. Damage can appear along the corners and edges increasing the potential for exposure.

Compressed asbestos fibres

Compressed asbestos fibres

Compressed asbestos fibres (CAF) can be used in brakes and gaskets for plant and automobiles.

Decorative tiles

Decorative tiles

Decorative tiles - fake slate and other decorative tiles

Door seals on ovens

Door seals on ovens

The seal when clean appears as a white, woven textile; similar to the appearance of a thin rope. These were favoured for their resistance to heat. If disturbed there is a high risk for exposure as the asbestos fibres are not bound within a matrix.

Electric heat banks

Electric heat banks

These will contain block insulation for resistance to heat. If these become broken or damaged a risk for exposure arises.

Electric hot water services

Electric hot water services

Normally not asbestos is not present but some millboard may be.

Electric light fittings

Electric light fittings

Electric light fittings, high wattage, insulation around fitting (and bituminised).

Electrical switchboards

Electrical switchboards

Fuse boards that contain asbestos are those that have a black backing product known as zelemite. It is a very strong product that was favoured for its resistance to heat and fire. If a fuse board catches fire the zelemite backing will remain undamaged while the electrics are destroyed. The risk to exposure is low unless it is damaged or broken. Exposure can occur if electricians drill into it to mount further electrics.

Exhausts on vehicles

Exhausts on vehicles

Feature tiles

Feature tiles

Fake slate and other decorative tiles can contain a percentage of asbestos fibres. As these can be easily broken or fractured there is a higher level of risk associated with this product.

Filler in acetylene gas cylinders

Filler in acetylene gas cylinders

Filters - beverage

Filters - beverage

Wine filtration

Fire blankets

Fire blankets

Older fire blankets were made almost exclusively of asbestos, used for their resistance to fire and heat. If these begin to fray then there is the potential for exposure to occur.

Fire curtains

Fire curtains

Fire door insulation

Fire door insulation

Fire doors contain a core of asbestos material with a high percentage of asbestos fibres. The doors may appear as wood or metal from the sides but the core (often white) is visible from the top of the door. The risk to exposure is low but becomes raised if working on the door.

Fire-resistant plaster

Fire-resistant plaster

Fire-resistant plaster typically on ships or spray on vermiculite

Fire-retardant material on steel work

Fire-retardant material on steel work

Fire-retardant material on steel work supporting reactors on columns in refineries in the chemical industry

Flexible hoses

Flexible hoses

Floor vinyl sheets

Floor vinyl sheets

There are three layers where asbestos may be found with regard to vinyl sheeting. It can be found in the vinyl itself, the backing to the vinyl and/or the glue used to bind it to the floor (see Bituminous adhesives and sealants). The risk of exposure is low if the material is in a good condition. However, if any attempt is made to remove the vinyl there is a high possibility of exposure from fibres becoming airborne. Vinyl sheeting can be found encapsulated beneath newer vinyl or carpet.

Floor vinyl tiles

Floor vinyl tiles

Vinyl tiles are similar to vinyl sheeting with the exception that they are more rigid and cut into tiles rather than long sheets. Asbestos can be found in the tile, backing or adhesive. As with vinyl sheeting the risk of exposure is low unless disturbed. Vinyl tiles can also be found encapsulated beneath newer vinyl or carpet.

Fuse blankets and ceramic fuses

Fuse blankets and ceramic fuses

fuse blankets and ceramic fuses in switchboards

GalbestosTM roofing materials

GalbestosTM roofing materials

GalbestosTM roofing materials is a decorative coating on metal roof for sound proofing. At a glance it can appear to be paint but on closer inspection it is evident that it is raised by a few millimetres. The risk of exposure is high if this becomes damaged, broken or begins to flake.

Gaskets

Gaskets

Asbestos gaskets can be found in many industries such as refineries, chemical plants, water infrastructure, etc. Gaskets can be made of asbestos fibres bound in a polymer or cement matrix. As they are often used in rigorous infrastructure the condition can deteriorate raising the risk for exposure.

Gauze mats

Gauze mats

Gauze mats can be used as an insulation and protection against heat. They are commonly found in laboratories and chemical refineries. The risk for exposure becomes high with any sign of flaking, breaking or damage; especially if they are not painted or coated with a sealant.

Gloves

Gloves

Gloves can be manufactured from woven asbestos fibres and are used to protect the hand from friction or heat. The risk from exposure becomes an issue with any slight deterioration as the fibres are not bound in a matrix.

Hessian Carpet Underlay

Hessian Carpet Underlay

Packed hessian underlay beneath older carpets can contain traces of free asbestos fibres. The hessian underlay can be a recycled material manufactured from the old hessian bags used to transport asbestos fibres from the mines to plants to be manufactured into asbestos materials and products.

Hairdryers

Hairdryers

Hairdryers can contain insulation around heating elements made from asbestos to protect itself from overheating. The risk of exposure becomes high when these parts deteriorate and are blown toward the operator.

Header (manifold) insulation

Header (manifold) insulation

Insulation blocks

Insulation blocks

Insulation in electric reheat units

Insulation in electric reheat units

Insulation in electric reheat units for air-conditioner systems.

Laboratory bench tops

Laboratory bench tops

Asbestos can be present in old laboratory bench tops as they are resistant to heat and spills from various chemicals. Generally speaking the risk to exposure is low but if it becomes damaged or disturbed this risk will increase.

Laboratory fume cupboard panels

Laboratory fume cupboard panels

These panels are often made of asbestos as they are resistant to vapours from various chemicals stored within them. As with laboratory bench tops the risk is low if left undisturbed.

Laboratory ovens

Laboratory ovens

Asbestos can be found in wall insulation, lagged exhaust pipes on emergency power generators and the seals (see Door seals on ovens).

Lagging in penetrations

Lagging in penetrations

Lagging in penetrations in fireproof walls can create a high risk for exposure.

Lifts shafts

Lifts shafts

Asbestos cement panels lining the shaft at the opening of each floor and asbestos packing around penetrations.

Limpet asbestos spray insulation

Limpet asbestos spray insulation

Asbestos spray insulation has a high risk for exposure as the fibres are not tightly bound in a matrix and can become airborne easily. It was a desired product for its insulation capabilities against weather and thermal extremes.

Locomotives - steam

Locomotives - steam

lagging on boilers, steam lines, steam dome and gaskets

Mastics

Mastics

Mastics or bituminous mastics are used to seal gaps or provided extra waterproofing. The texture of mastics is a firm gel-like to rubber consistency. If torn or punctured a risk for exposure is high.

Millboard

Millboard

Millboard between heating unit and wall.

Millboard lining

Millboard lining

Millboard lining of switchboxes.

Mortar

Mortar

Packing materials

Packing materials

Packing materials for gauges, valves, etc., can be square packing, rope or loose fibre. If deterioration or breaking occurs then there is high potential for exposure.

Paint

Paint

Certain paints can contain a percentage of asbestos fibres to improve strength and resistance. These are typically industrial epoxy paints.

Penetrations through concrete slabs

Penetrations through concrete slabs

Penetrations through concrete slabs in high rise buildings can contain asbestos material around the penetration to fill any gaps. As long as this is left untouched and stays in a good condition the potential for exposures should remain low.

Pipe insulation

Pipe insulation

Pipe insulation includes moulded sections, water-mix type, rope braid and sheet.

Pitch-based electrical switchboard

Pitch-based electrical switchboard

Examples include zelemite, ausbestos, lebah (see Asbestos Electrical Fuse Boards and Electrical Switchboards).

Plaster and plaster cornice adhesives

Plaster and plaster cornice adhesives

Refractory linings

Refractory linings

Refractory tiles

Refractory tiles

Rubber articles

Rubber articles

rubber articles - extent of usage unknown

Sealant between floor slab and wall

Sealant between floor slab and wall

Usually found in boiler rooms, risers or lift shafts to improve structural integrity. The chance of an exposure increases as the condition of the material decreases.

Sealant or mastic

Sealant or mastic

Sealant or mastic on windows can contain asbestos to improve waterproofing.

Sprayed insulation

Sprayed insulation

This form of insulation which contains asbestos is used in acoustic walls, ceilings, beams and ceiling slabs. The risk of exposure is high if it begins to crumble or break.

Sprayed insulation - fire retardant

Sprayed insulation - fire retardant

Sprayed insulation - fire retardant sprayed on nut internally, for bolts holding external building wall panels. As with the above insulation the risk for exposure is high as the condition deteriorates.

Stoves

Stoves

Old domestic stoves will have a form of wall insulation containing asbestos. Damage and consequent exposure can occur when repairing broken parts or removing the stove altogether.

Tape and rope

Tape and rope

Lagging and jointing can have tape or rope for reinforcement. Old tape and rope can be exclusively woven asbestos fibres. The risk for exposure is high as there is not a matrix binding the fibres together.

Tilux sheeting

Tilux sheeting

Tilux sheeting was used in place of ceramic tiles in bathrooms. It is an extremely hard, waterproof material. It is almost always white with thin repetitive designs drawn into them such as squares, lines or floral designs. The colour of the design is most commonly: brown, olive, pink, yellow or blue; other colours can be found. The material itself is a dark grey or blue-grey colour. Exposure is a risk when the material is disturbed.

Trains - Harris cars

Trains - Harris cars

Sprayed asbestos can be found between the steel shell and laminex.

Valve, pump

Valve, pump

Insulation can be found in valves, pumps, etc. Risks for exposure increase with deterioration.

Welding rods

Welding rods