Asbestos is a fibrous mineral that was used in various building products until the mid-1980s. The most common of these products was asbestos cement, which was typically used as a sheet-backing for ceramic tiles, external cladding (fibro), corrugated roofing and the like.
Generally the presence of asbestos in home building materials does not pose a risk to public health if the material is not broken and/or not deteriorated in such a way that the asbestos fibres are exposed.
Persons thinking about renovating a house that was built between 1940’s to 1980’s should assume that asbestos products are present within their dwelling and take all appropriate care during the removal, packaging, transport and disposal of suspected asbestos materials because airborne asbestos fibres have been linked to a range of various lung diseases – Asbestosis. Lung cancer and Mesothelioma.
Asbestos: A guide for householders and the general public provides a number of practicable measures which may be of assistance to you. Ensure you are familiar with the contents of this document before disturbing these materials i.e. cutting, drilling, grinding, sanding or sawing.
When engaging contractors to work with asbestos containing materials they must be suitably licensed. A list of contractors is available on the WorkSafe Victoria website.
Removal & Disposal
The Occupational Health and Safety Regulations 2007 Part 4.3 Asbestos set out the requirements to remove and dispose of asbestos.
For disposal of asbestos-containing materials, the EPA Victoria website provides a list of landfills that accept these materials.
Please note: when planning to take asbestos containing materials to landfill, call them first to discuss as they will have strict instructions as to how it needs to be prepared for delivery i.e. wrapping requirements.
For further information on Asbestos refer to the following webpages: