At least 1 in 3 Australian homes contain asbestos including brick, weatherboard, fibro and clad home. Asbestos was used in more than 3000 common building materials before it was banned in Australia so if your house was built or renovated before 1987 it is likely to contain some asbestos.
There are some great resources available about asbestos awareness and asbestos containing materials. Check out the asbestos finder on the asbestos.nsw.gov.au website and resources on asbestosawareness.com.au
If left undisturbed asbestos generally does not pose a health risk however when disturbed during renovations and home maintenance, fibres can be released into the air. If inhaled asbestos poses significant health risks. It can cause mesothelioma, lung cancer, and asbestosis.
To help assess the risks you can do a 20-point safety check http://asbestosawareness.com.au/20-point-safety-check/#
Types of Asbestos
Friable asbestos material means any material that contains asbestos and is in the form of a powder or can be crumbled, pulverised or reduced to powder by hand pressure when dry
Bonded asbestos material (non-friable asbestos material) means any material, other than friable asbestos material, that contains asbestos.
Who can remove asbestos material?
To remove any friable asbestos, or more than 10 square metres of bonded asbestos from your home, a licensed asbestos removal contractor must be used.
Naturally Occurring Asbestos (NOA)
Asbestos is a group of minerals that readily separate into long flexible fibres. It occurs naturally in some rocks, sediments and soils globally and throughout Australia, including in the CGRC. Where NOA is known or suspected, property owners, managers and workers who may disturb the ground surface in their day-to-day work should take appropriate precautions to ensure NOA is identified and managed safely in accordance with regulations.
For further information about NOA see Safework NSW https://safework-old.clients.squiz.net/health-and-safety/safety-topics-a-z/asbestos/naturally-occurring-asbestos) and Asbestos Awareness (https://asbestosawareness.com.au/noa/
Disposing of asbestos
Asbestos waste can only be disposed of at a site licensed by the NSW EPA to receive it. There are legal requirements for wrapping and transporting asbestos waste – see NSW EPA https://www.epa.nsw.gov.au/your-environment/household-building-and-renovation/dealing-with-household-asbestos websites for details. It can NEVER be disposed of in your household bins, skip bins or with general waste.
The Cootamundra Waste Facility is licensed by the NSW to receive asbestos waste. Contact Council to find out disposal requirements.
Council is responsible for investigating non-work site related asbestos pollution incidents, such as illegal dumping. If you have any concerns about contractors handling asbestos in an unsafe manner on a worksite, Safework NSW should be notified on 13 10 50.