Features and properties
Asbestos, also known as asbestos, is a fibrous mineral, naturally present in the form of magnesium, iron or sodium silicates. There are 6 forms of asbestos: chrysotile, actinolite, amosite, tremolite, crocidolite and anthophyllite
The outstanding properties of asbestos fibres have made them a highly prized element for various construction products and materials. Indeed, these fibres are easy to work with, non-flammable and resistant to all kinds of aggressions. They have also been used as thermal and acoustic insulation.
Asbestos applications, which are abundant, easy to extract and relatively cheap, increased in number during the 20th century. At the same time, a significant increase in cases of serious diseases has appeared in people in contact with asbestos, which has led to an increasingly severe set of measures and restrictions for these materials
Use in buildings
It is in construction and building that asbestos has found its main outlets, particularly with asbestos-cement. It is easily recognizable by its characteristic embossed texture, for example on slates, corrugated sheets, manhole covers, etc. Its placing on the market has been prohibited since 1 October 1998. However, due to its very wide past use, it will still be present in our environment for many years to come.
The fibres are strongly integrated into the material in asbestos cement. This limits the risk of them being released and entering the lungs. This risk becomes more significant when the part of the building or construction concerned is under construction or deteriorating.
Use in consumer articles
Use in consumer articles
The flame retardant properties of asbestos and, generally, its high heat resistance make it used in many consumer products. It can be found in brake pads and clutch discs, potholders and underpads, ironing board covers, stove joints, oil boilers, built-in fireplace cassettes, etc.
The marketing of such products has been prohibited since October 2001, but it is possible that they can still be found on flea markets or simply in our kitchens, sheds, garages, etc.
As a general rule, caution should be exercised, especially if you are considering restoring your home.
You will find more information on the website of your region and in particular under the following links:
- Brussels-Capital: Bruxelles Environnement (FR) and Leefmilieu Brussel (NL)
- Wallonia: folder "L’amiante dans et autour de la maison" (FR)
- Flanders: www.asbestinfo.be (OVAM)
Check our FAQ's for specific questions and useful contact points.