Asbestos

Get all the information you need for dealing with asbestos, including who to call for checking and removal.

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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 calling the National Association of Testing Authorities (NATA) on 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. Contact one of these organisations for professional assistance and advice on how to safely dispose of asbestos.

Organisation

Telephone

Website

Information

Department of Health and Human Services

1300 761 874

www.health.vic.gov.au

The potential health effects of exposure to asbestos in the home environment

Environment Protection Authority

1300 372 842

www.epa.vic.gov.au

Licensed asbestos removalists, disposal sites and enquires about the correct disposal of asbestos-containing materials.

WorkSafe Victoria

1800 136 089

www.worksafe.vic.gov.au

Licensed asbestos removalists, complaints about work conducted by asbestos removalists and enquires or complaints about asbestos in the workplace

National Association of Testing Authorities

1800 621 666

www.nata.asn.au

For an NATA accredited laboratory in your area that can identity asbestos

 


 

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