• Asbestos is the generic name for six different naturally occurring mineral fibres.
  • The word “asbestos” comes from a Greek word that means “inextinguishable”.
  • It is impossible to tell whether a material contains asbestos just by looking at it.
  • Asbestos was mined extensively in Australia, South Africa, Russia, China and Canada.
  • The use of asbestos is still acceptable in many countries.
  • The health effects have a latency period of 15-50 years.
  • Asbestos related deaths have been reported throughout the world since the 1920s, reports of asbestos related lung issues date back to Roman times.
  • In 1984 the import of raw amosite and crocidolite was banned in New Zealand. The ban of raw chrysotile followed in 2002.
  • The importation of asbestos-containing materials has not yet been banned in New Zealand.
  • Historic uses of asbestos include pottery, table cloths, napkins and clothing.
  • Whole mining towns have been deserted due to asbestos contamination.
  • Asbestos was mined as early as 5,000 BC in Finland, Sweden, Greece and Cyprus.