The Envirofree Guide to Asbestos

What is Asbestos?

Asbestos is the fibrous form of the mineral silicates belonging to the serpentine and amphibole groups of rock-forming minerals and includes actinolite, amosite (brown asbestos), anthophyllite, crocidolite (blue asbestos), chrysotile (white asbestos), tremolite or any material containing one or more of the mineral silicates belonging to the serpentine and amphibole groups. Prior to 1987, asbestos was widely used in building materials such as wall lining, vinyl floor tiles, eaves, corrugated roofing and fencing. These asbestos-containing materials are considered non-friable (bonded). Any asbestos-containing materials such as pipe, boiler and fire rating insulation that can be crumbled, pulverised or reduced to powder by hand pressure are considered friable.

What is a Hazardous Material?

A substance that poses a risk to your health or the environment is a hazardous substance. Examples of hazardous substances include asbestos, lead-in-paint, synthetic mineral fibre, polychlorinated biphenyls and chlorofluorocarbons. For a list of Australian classified hazardous substances please refer to the Hazardous Substances Information System.

Some helpful links about asbestos awareness in the workplace:

Asbestos: ABC News

Asbestos spread through their share house, but these women had to fight for months to get compensation.

I recently came across an ABC News Article which outlines the concerning state of asbestos in Victoria. It appears the lack of knowledge in our communities/workplaces is very low. It also highlights how widely spread asbestos problems are in Victoria and Australia. I have attached an ABC news article outlining a residential rental property disaster story. In the video, an occupational hygienist was commissioned to safely identify and implement control measures. The house was deemed contaminated following the cutting of the asbestos cement.

The occupants of the house were exposed to the harmful asbestos fibres for roughly two weeks after the works had been completed. The video demonstrates how important seeking professional advice from a Licensed Asbestos Assessor or Occupational Hygienist is prior to any demolition, renovation or refurbishment works.