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What is asbestos?

Asbestos materials were commonly used in the building industry from 1940 to 1980. There is now a ban on using asbestos products.

You can find advice from key state government agencies on the Asbestos Victoria website. This information is aimed at helping homeowners, tenants, employers, and workers understand:

  • the risks of asbestos
  • how to comply with legislation
  • the resources for managing and removing asbestos in homes and workplaces

Products that contain asbestos

The most commonly found household building material containing asbestos is asbestos cement products, also called 'fibro' or 'AC sheeting.'

Other asbestos cement products that may be found around the home include:

  • flat or corrugated sheeting
  • water or flue pipes
  • roof shingles
  • flexible building boards
  • imitation brick cladding
  • vinyl floor tiles
  • backing of linoleum floor covering

Health risks of asbestos

Generally, the presence of asbestos in home building materials does not pose a risk to health unless the material is broken, deteriorating, or disturbed in a way that dust containing asbestos fibers is produced.

Asbestos can be a health risk when you remove, package, transport, or dispose of it. Special precautions should be taken by anyone needing to disturb asbestos. There is further information on these precautions on the Asbestos Victoria website.

Handling and disposing of asbestos

We highly recommend you use a licensed asbestos removalist to handle, transport, and dispose of asbestos.

Handling asbestos includes removing asbestos from a structure or any activity that may release asbestos fibers into the air including chipping, crushing, fracturing, sawing, drilling, grinding, and machining.

There are also specific requirements regarding how waste asbestos is packaged and labelled and where it can be disposed of.

A list of premises licensed to accept waste asbestos is on the EPA's Prescribed Industrial Waste Database website. On the website go to the Waste Category field and select 'N: Solids/Sludges requiring special handling', then go to the Waste Type field and select 'N220: Asbestos (all forms)'. You can also contact the EPA Information Centre through the EPA website.

It is illegal to put asbestos in the bin or as hard waste.

Information on how to comply with legislation is on the Asbestos Victoria website.

How to report the mishandling of asbestos

If you believe asbestos is being mishandled you can make a report about this on our Report an issue page.

If you see a worksite where asbestos is being mishandled contact WorkSafe Victoria through the Worksafe Victoria website.

Asbestos awareness

Merri-bek City Council supports the national Asbestos Awareness Campaign. You can find out more about this campaign on the Asbestos Awareness Campaign website.

This campaign aims to alert Australians to the dangers of working with asbestos during home renovations and maintenance by educating them about where asbestos might be found in and around homes.