We are all so familiar with the word asbestos what exactly is it and why can it strike fear into any property buyer calling for extreme caution to be employed. Asbestos is a fibrous mineral – in fact the name is a collective term covering six natural fibrous minerals. These are further broken down into blue – the most dangerous type, also called crocidolite; brown – amosite and white – chrysotile. It has been mined for over 4000 years but was not used in huge quantities util aroud the mid to late 19th century when its fibrous nature was discovered to make it extremely reisistant to fire; heat; chemical and electrical. It also offers excellent sound absorption and is very cheap to produce. Unfortunately it has over the last few years been discovered to be horrendously carcinogenic when inhaled – very lethally so. However, if found to be in an older house, don’t panic. If it’s found to be well maintained, not disturbed or breaking up, there’s no immediate hazard to health – according to the lung society boffins.