What is Amosite Asbestos?

Amosite Asbestos, also known as brown asbestos, is a mineral fibre that was widely used in construction materials throughout the 20th century. Its versatile properties, such as heat resistance and durability made it very popular. However, just like other types of asbestos, Amosite can pose serious health risks when disturbed or inhaled. 

Below we'll explore some quick facts about Amosite Asbestos to help you better understand it. We'll also discuss where it is most commonly found and examine the dangers it can pose to those who have been exposed to it.

Quick Amosite Asbestos Facts

  • Amosite asbestos, also known as brown asbestos, is a type of asbestos mineral that was commonly used in construction materials.
  • Amosite asbestos comes from mines primarily located in South Africa[1]. It was mined extensively between the 1910s and 1990s.
  • This type of asbestos has a brown colour and its fibres are straighter and more brittle when compared to other types of asbestos.
  • Amosite has high heat resistance properties, which made it popular for use in insulation materials such as pipe lagging and thermal boards.
  • Due to its strong durability, amosite was often used in roofing materials, cement products, and fire-resistant fabrics.
  • Starting as early as 1970 many countries around the world, including the United States and European Union member states, began to pass laws and enforce bans on its use, as a result, today we see there are strict regulations[2] prohibiting or heavily restricting the use of amosite asbestos due to its harmful effects on human health.

Where is Amosite Asbestos Commonly Found

One of the most common locations for Amosite Asbestos is in older buildings, particularly those constructed before the 1980s. This includes, but is not limited to, residential homes, commercial properties, and also industrial facilities. The reason why it was widely used in construction during that time is because of its excellent heat-resistant properties.

Therefore, it is commonplace in insulation materials such as pipe lagging or ceiling tiles. These materials were popular choices due to their ability to withstand high temperatures and provide effective fire protection. 

Another place where Amosite Asbestos may be present is within cement products like roofing shingles or wallboards. It was commonly added to these materials for reinforcement purposes. 

It's important to note that even though regulations have been put in place to ban the use of asbestos, there are still many structures today that contain this hazardous substance.

Therefore, any renovation or demolition work on older buildings should always be approached with caution and proper safety measures put in place to ensure that anyone involved in its removal are adequately protected and to minimise or limit exposure.

Does Amosite Asbestos Cause Health Problems?

Although it boasts many uses and possesses several desirable properties such as heat resistance and durability, it has been linked to severe health problems[3], the inhalation of amosite asbestos fibres can cause a multitude of serious health problems, most notably, lung cancer, mesothelioma (a rare cancer affecting the lining of the lungs), and asbestosis (a chronic lung disease).

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


[1] – Asbestos Profile: South Africa

[2] – UK GOV – Asbestos Overview and Regulations

[3] – HSE – Dangers of Asbestos and Health Problems


The content on this page/article was last updated on the 21st August 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.