Asbestos is the generic term for a number of naturally occurring fibrous silicate minerals.
Asbestos was widely used in building materials up until the late 1980’s.
The main types of asbestos that were used in asbestos products include:
Asbestos can cause health effects if the fibres are inhaled into the lungs.
Possible health effects include:
Exposure to asbestos fibres is likely to occur when material containing asbestos is broken, starts to deteriorate, or is handled in a way that causes the fibres to become airborne.
This generally occurs when people are unaware of the hazards and do not take appropriate precautions.
Built before the mid-1980’s >> Highly likely to contain asbestos
Built between mid-1980’s and 1990 >> May contain asbestos
Built after 1990 >> Unlikely to contain asbestos
If you are not sure if a material contains asbestos, it is best to play it safe and assume that it does.
To identify whether a material contains asbestos, you should contact an occupational hygienist to get the material tested.
The fact that your house contains asbestos does not mean that your health is at risk. Asbestos materials that are in a bonded form and are in good repair and left undisturbed do not pose a risk to health.
Material which is damaged or weathered to the point that it is structurally unsound should be replaced.
WorkCover licenses asbestos removal contractors under the Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011.
All work involving friable asbestos must be carried out by a Class A licensed asbestos removal contractor.
All work involving more than 10 square metres of non-friable (bonded) asbestos material must be carried out by a Class B licensed asbestos removal contractor.
Friable asbestos means material that is in a powder form or that can be crumbled, pulverised or reduced to a powder by hand pressure when dry and contains asbestos. Examples of friable asbestos materials include pipe lagging, limpet, fire doors, extensive fire damage, gaskets and fibre bundles in soil.
Non-friable (bonded) asbestos means material containing asbestos that is not friable asbestos, including material containing asbestos fibres reinforced with a bonding compound. Examples of non-friable asbestos materials include roof sheeting, internal and external wall sheeting and vinyl floor tiles in good condition.
Council recommends that householder’s employ a suitably licensed contractor for all asbestos work.
However, where a householder chooses to carry out asbestos work themselves they need to ensure that it is carried out safely.
Under the Protection of the Environment Operations (Waste) Regulation 2014, all bonded asbestos waste must be securely packaged and be transported to a landfill facility licensed to receive that waste.
The re-use or asbestos waste is prohibited.
To report a contractor handling asbestos in an unsafe manner contact SafeWork NSW on 13 10 50.
If you are concerned about a householder handling asbestos in an unsafe manner contact Council on 9879 9400.
The Department of Health has produced an informative guide: Asbestos – A guide for householders and the general public.
22 Alexandra Street, Hunters Hill NSW 2110
PO Box 21, Hunters Hill NSW 2110
Tel: (02) 9879 9400
8:30am – 4.30pm
Customer Service phone lines open 8.00am – 5.00pm
(02) 9879 9400
1300 136 460