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Asbestos was commonly used in building materials from the 1940's until the mid - 1990's. Because exposure to asbestos can cause disease, a national ban on the manufacture, importation and installation of products containing asbestos was introduced from 1 January 2004.
The inhalation of asbestos fibres may result in serious diseases, such as asbestosis, mesothelioma or lung cancer. Because the level of exposure that may cause health problems is unknown, any exposure to asbestos should be avoided. It is estimated that at least one in every three buildings constructed between the 1940’s and 1990’s contain asbestos products. Asbestos may be found either firmly or loosely bound in a number of products once used in the Australian building industry, including:
It is very difficult to identify asbestos by looking at it. If you are uncertain about what a substance is, you should treat it as though it contains asbestos. The only way to be certain is to have a sample analysed by a laboratory. A licensed asbestos removalist could also help identify materials containing asbestos.
If you are concerned about any asbestos in your home you should contact a licensed asbestos removalist who can assist you. A list of licensed asbestos removalists can be found on the Work Safe Tasmania website or by contacting the Workplace Standards Helpline on 1300 366 322.
It is recommended that you contact a licensed asbestos removalist if you are considering having asbestos removed from your home. Asbestos is dangerous and while it is not illegal for you to remove asbestos from a property that you own, you are strongly advised not to do so unless you have undertaken training and are competent in safe asbestos removal practices.
You must consider your health and safety if you are considering doing asbestos removal. You must also consider the health and safety of other people in the area, including children, and people on neighbouring properties. These people may be exposed to asbestos fibres released during removal works.
Asbestos is classified as a hazardous material, so there are rules about how it can be transported and where it can be disposed of. If you are planning to remove asbestos yourself, you need to contact the Planning Department first. They can tell you about any planning approvals or permits that are required before you begin. Please note that asbestos is not accepted at any Waste Transfer Stations within the Northern Midlands Municipality. You can contact the Workplace Standards Helpline on 1300 366 322 to find your nearest location for disposal.
Department of Health and Ageing - Asbestos: A guide for householders and the general public - May 2012
Asbestos Free Tasmania Foundation has lots of information on identification and removal of asbestos. free downloads and links to other groups. Visit their website at www.asbestosfreetasmania.org.au