Asbestos is present in many buildings constructed before the 1980s and was commonly used because of its durability, fire resistance and insulating properties.
Asbestos was used in materials such as:
Asbestos can present a health risk if the material is broken, deteriorating, or disturbed in such a way that dust containing asbestos fibres is produced. The use of all forms of asbestos has been banned nationally since 31 December 2003.
Asbestos-containing materials can release asbestos fibres into the air whenever they are disturbed, and especially during the following activities:
Generally, asbestos removal should be undertaken only by a licensed removalist. Unlicensed removal of limited amounts of asbestos is permitted in certain circumstances. To find out more, visit www.worksafe.vic.gov.au
In many cases it may be safer to leave the asbestos where it is. In which case it can be encapsulated (e.g. painted or boxed in). Make a note for future reference or to pass on to a purchaser if you sell your house.
It is difficult to tell whether a building material contains asbestos. The only way to be certain is to have a sample of the material tested in a NATA accredited laboratory. (See below for contact details.)
Download the following:More Information about Asbestos, Guidance Note: Removing Asbstos and Asbestos in the Home from the WorkSafe and Department of Health websites respectively:
Department of Health: www.health.vic.gov.au/environment/home/asbestos.htm
Environment Protection Authority: www.epa.vic.gov.au/waste/asbestos.asp
Better Health Channel: www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/bhcv2/bhcarticles.nsf/pages/Asbestos_in_the_home
Australian Asbestos Network: www.australianasbestosnetwork.org.au/Asbestos+Today/DIY+Renovators+Guide/default.aspx
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