The three main types of asbestos are white, blue and brown, used mainly before 1980 in the production of asbestos cement sheeting and piping. Asbestos was also used in the manufacture of vinyl floor tiles, electrical components, brake linings and disc pads.
When disturbed, it produces a dust that contains asbestos fibres. Fibres breathed into the lungs can cause a range of health problems including asbestosis, lung cancer and mesothelioma
The disposal of waste asbestos, whether from a workplace or household, is controlled by the Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA). In addition, EPA controls the transportation of waste asbestos when undertaken by a commercial contractor.
EPA has generated a list of Victorian landfills licensed to receive asbestos to assist in identifying the closest disposal option. Landfills are categorised as domestic (householder DIY), commercial and domestic, and commercial only.
If you have asbestos on your property, EPA recommends you consult a professional removalist who has a WorkCover licence. The Victorian WorkCover Authority keeps a list of licensed asbestos removalists or you can find them in the Yellow Pages.
A list of permitted transporters that can transport asbestos can be found in the Prescribed industrial waste database by selecting N220 Asbestos as the waste type, contacting EPA or calling on 1300 372 842 (1300 EPA VIC). Further information on the transporting and disposal of asbestos is available in section 6.1 of EPA’s Industrial waste resource guidelines.
The Asbestos in Victoria website is the collective advice from WorkSafe Victoria (now the Victorian WorkCover Authority), EPA and the Department of Health. It provides advice and information to help homeowners, tenants, employers and workers understand the risks of asbestos, how to comply with your duties, and resources for managing and removing asbestos in homes and workplaces.
Identification, management, handling and removal of asbestos in a workplace is regulated by the Victorian WorkCover Authority.
Concerns about asbestos in the household should be discussed with local councils or the Department of Health.
If you would like to have a sample of material tested for asbestos, contact the National Association of Testing Authorities (NATA) on (03) 9274 8200.