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Key Points



  • Non flammable and non combustible under normal conditions
  • Chemically inert under normal conditions. Resistant to most solvents, acids and alkalis
  • In the event of a fire involving asbestos, use fine water spray and liquid-tight protective clothing with breathing apparatus



  • The most common route of exposure is by inhalation
  • Toxic and carcinogenic
  • In general asbestos is not considered to be acutely toxic
  • Short-term  high level exposure may cause pleural disorders, mesothelioma or lung cancer after a long latency period
  • Long-term low level inhalation exposure may cause pleural disorders, mesothelioma or lung cancer; long-term high dose exposure may cause asbestosis
  • Asbestos is a category 1 carcinogen i.e. is carcinogenic to humans
  • Asbestos has not been linked with any adverse reproductive outcomes in humans



  • Environmentally hazardous substance
  • Inform Environment Agency of substantial release incidents


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Compendium of Chemical Hazards