Asbestos is a group of naturally occurring fibrous silicate minerals. It was commonly used in many building materials before the 1980s because of its durability, fire resistance and insulating properties.
Why is asbestos dangerous?
Inhaling asbestos fibres or even dust containing asbestos fibres can cause lung disease.
Do I have asbestos?
Before you start any building work, it’s essential that you call a professional to check if you have asbestos. You can find an asbestos analyst by visiting the National Association of Testing Authorities (NATA) website or calling 1800 621 666.
Do I need to remove asbestos?
Not always. For example, with internal cement sheet walls and ceilings, or external roofing and wall cladding, you don’t need to call a removal expert unless the surfaces have deteriorated.
However, it’s always best to call an asbestos analyst if you’re unsure.
What precautions should I take?
If you’re considering removing asbestos-containing building materials, please ensure that you:
- wear a mask to avoid breathing in any fibres
- wet the asbestos material and keep it damp to stop loose particles from escaping
- minimise cutting or breaking of materials
- double-wrap asbestos in polythene sheeting (at least 0.2 mm thick)
- keep packages in manageable sizes
- use adhesive tape to completely cover any package openings
- label packages to indicate the presence of asbestos
- dispose of asbestos at a waste disposal site approved by the EPA.
When do I need to get assistance?
Don’t remove loosely bound materials by yourself if they contain asbestos. Visit Asbestos in Victoria's website to help you understand the risks of asbestos, and how to safely manage or remove it.