How to identify asbestos

Asbestos-containing materials can be either friable or non-friable.

Friable asbestos is high risk. Friable asbestos can be crumbled, pulverised or reduced to a powder by hand pressure.

Non-friable asbestos is lower risk. It is mixed with cement or other hard bonding materials.

Non-friable asbestos can become friable if damaged or old.

Examples of common friable asbestos products include: 

  • insulation around hot water pipes
  • asbestos rope
  • loose-fill asbestos, like Mr Fluffy. 

Examples of common non-friable asbestos products include:

  • asbestos cement
  • asbestos cement sheeting (also knowns as ‘fibro’)
  • vinyl asbestos floor tiles. 

You can’t confirm asbestos by sight or smell. Use a licensed asbestos assessor, who will test the sample to confirm asbestos.