Asbestos is a naturally-occurring mineral commonly used in many building materials, often found around the home between the 1940s and late 1980s. Asbestos is made up of strong fibres that were found to be heat resistant and have good insulating properties. Away from the home, asbestos was also widely used in the brakes, clutches and gaskets of many cars.
In 2003 all forms of asbestos were banned in Australia.
Intact asbestos generally does not pose a risk to human health. Asbestos can become a health risk when this material is damaged or disturbed and the fibres are released into the air and breathed in. The Asbestos Guide for Householders and the General Public contains further information about asbestos.
The presence of asbestos is very difficult to determine with the naked eye. The only way to be sure is to have the material identified by a qualified professional such as an Occupational Hygienist or a NATA approved asbestos laboratory to identify asbestos types.
This should be carried out before any work such as general maintenance, renovations or demolition proceeds.
AIOH- The Australian Institute of Occupational Hygienists, Inc.
Search accredited organisations - NATA
In most cases, a licensed asbestos removalist is to be used to remove asbestos. For a list of licensed asbestos removalists, contact WorkSafe Victoria on 1800 136 089 or visit WorkSafe.
All licensed removalists are required to notify WorkSafe prior to removing asbestos and must comply with specific requirements. If you are concerned about how asbestos is being handled and/or removed in you local area, notify Council and Worksafe immediately, while the works are being done.
If you are planning on removing less than 10m2 of bonded or non-friable asbestos from around your home, it is recommended that you read the following information ASEA Safety Leaflet prior to handling any materials around the home.
For loosely-bound asbestos-containing materials (friable) such as insulation it is not advisable for residents to do the work themselves due to the increased health risks of handling such material.
Asbestos must only be disposed of at an approved site licensed by Environment Protection Authority (EPA) Victoria. To obtain a list of licensed asbestos disposal sites in your area, contact the EPA on 1300 372 482 or visit their Find a landfill that accepts asbestos.
Council’s Environmental Health Services can investigate improper handling of asbestos, asbestos contaminated areas and illegally dumped asbestos. If you are reporting suspected asbestos dumped on Council land, call or email us on 1300 653 356 or email@example.com with a clear description of its location, so our Officers can act on the report in a timely manner.
Further assistance and information
The Victorian Asbestos Website contains more resources about asbestos in Victoria.
If you have any questions, please contact the Environmental Health Services on 1300 653 356 or firstname.lastname@example.org