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.

Asbestos in Victoria provides advice from key state government agencies to help homeowners, tenants, employers and workers understand the risks of asbestos, how to comply with legislation, and resources for managing and removing asbestos in homes and workplaces.

Products that contain asbestos

The most commonly found household building material containing asbestos are 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, and
  • 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 fibres 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. Asbestos in Victoria provides further information on these precautions.

Handling and disposing of asbestos

Council highly recommends 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 fibres 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 - select N: Solids/Sludges within the Waste Category then N220: Asbestos as the Waste Type, or contact the EPA Information Centre.

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

Asbestos in Victoria provides information on how to comply with legislation.

How to report the mishandling of asbestos

If you believe asbestos is being mishandled report it to Council.

If you see a worksite where asbestos is being mishandled contact WorkSafe Victoria.

Asbestos awareness

Merri-bek City Council supports the national Asbestos Awareness Campaign.

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

Watch the Asbestos Awareness Campaign video