What is Actinolite Asbestos?

Actinolite asbestos - a name that may sound unfamiliar to many, yet its impact on human health is significant. This naturally occurring mineral has been the subject of much concern and research in recent years.

But what exactly is actinolite asbestos? we’ll explore its characteristics, where it can be found, and most importantly, the potential health risks associated with exposure.

Quick Actinolite Asbestos Facts 

  • Actinolite asbestos comes in various colours, including green, grey, white, or brown. Its fibrous nature makes it resemble a plant material.
  • This form of asbestos, similarly to most of the other forms, is known for its durability and heat resistance properties. As a result, it was most commonly used in construction materials such as insulation, cement products, and roofing tiles. 
  • Workers involved in activities like mining, manufacturing building materials, or renovating older buildings may face exposure to actinolite asbestos fibres if proper safety measures are not taken. 
  • Inhalation of actinolite asbestos fibres can lead to serious health conditions such as lung cancer, mesothelioma (a rare cancer affecting the lining of the lungs), and asbestosis (a chronic lung disease). There is no safe level of exposure to this hazardous substance.
  • Many countries have implemented strict regulations on the use and handling of asbestos-containing materials due to their harmful effects on human health. Some countries have even banned its use entirely, such as here in the UK for example since 1999[1]
  • If you suspect there may be Actinolite asbestos present in your home or workplace, (built before the 1980s when its use was widespread) it's essential to consult with professionals who specialise in removal procedures.

Where is Actinolite Asbestos Commonly Found?

Actinolite asbestos[1] is a naturally occurring mineral that can be found in various parts of the world. It is commonly found in metamorphic rocks, particularly those that have undergone intense heat and pressure.

One of the main regions where Actinolite asbestos is commonly found is North America. Specifically, it can be found in areas such as Vermont, New York, and Montana. These locations have a long history of mining activities related to asbestos extraction.

In addition to North America, Actinolite asbestos has also been discovered in other countries around the globe. For example, there are deposits in Australia, South Africa, Finland, China, and Brazil.

Aside from its natural locations, a common place to find Actinolite asbestos is in the corrugated roof sheets found on outbuildings and garages, it is also possible to find it contained within the sheets or panels for ceilings and even in some cement.

Does Actinolite Asbestos Cause Health Problems?

Actinolite asbestos, like other forms of asbestos, poses serious health risks. When inhaled, its fibres can become trapped in the lungs and cause a variety of respiratory issues. These include lung scarring (asbestosis), inflammation (pneumonitis), and even cancer, such as mesothelioma.

Additionally, Actinolite asbestos has been linked to kidney disease and certain types of autoimmune disorders. It is crucial to note that there is no safe level of exposure to this hazardous material. Given the potential harm it can cause, it is essential to take precautions when dealing with any form of asbestos.

This article is part of the "kinds of asbestos" series. Learn more about ChrysotileAmositeCrocidoliteTremoliteAnthophyllite


[1] - Science Direct - Actinolite Overview

[2] - UK GOV - The Asbestos (Prohibitions) (Amendment) Regulations 1999

The content on this page/article was last updated on the 23rd October 2023 by our team and was reviewed and fact checked by William Wright, DipNEBOSH on the 5th December 2023.

William is a qualified health & safety consultant who holds NEBOSH & IOSH certifications.