Hazardous Materials

Asbestos Cement Products

Asbestos was commonly used as construction and fencing material until 1987. Asbestos and asbestos products are known to be the cause of some respiratory diseases. As such, care must be taken when handling asbestos to ensure that the health risk is minimised.

Generally, a person cannot determine whether a material contains asbestos simply by looking at it. Careful visual examination and the use of a microscope is the only way to verify the presence of asbestos. If in doubt, treat suspect material as though it does contain asbestos.

In most cases, the presence of asbestos cement building materials in a home is no cause for alarm. If the materials are in a good condition and are not disturbed, they do not present a health hazard. Disturbing the material (e.g. by removal) may create a health hazard where none previously existed.

However, it is noted that Australia has the highest per-capita rate of asbestos diseases in the world and rates of malignant mesothelioma continue to climb, particularly those associated with home maintenance and renovation. All home renovators should be mindful that there are some jobs that they should not try to take on themselves and that there are rules around the amount of asbestos they can handle.

Cancer Council WA and the Environmental Health Directorate of the Department of Health have launched a free online course, kNOw Asbestos In Your Home where home renovators and DIYers can learn about locating, safely handling and disposing of asbestos as well as learning more about asbestos-related diseases.

Relevant Links

Asbestos Guide for Householders

Household Hazardous Waste

Department of Health

Asbestos Awareness

Mesothelioma + Asbestos Awareness Center

More Information

Contact Health Services on 9273 6533 or mail@vincent.wa.gov.au