Asbestos is a minute mineral fibre which is known to cause severe health conditions when inhaled. The fibre was used in many products in the mid-19th century until the 1990s. The most common sources of asbestos fibres within the Hawkesbury today are the following.
- Fibrous cement sheeting or “fibro”. Particularly fibro installed in homes between 1940 and 1980.
- Moulding and trim profiles used to join or terminate sheeting. Predominantly used on fibro houses and structures.
- Irrigation pipes used on farms and areas where these were installed and stored.
- Gutters and down-pipes. Predominantly used on fibro houses and structures.
- Corrugated roof sheeting. This is usually damaged by weather and can release fibres.
- Old linoleum flooring (lino). Some are still in use and others lie beneath old carpet.
- Glues used to fix lino. Bituminous coating used to apply to concrete. Commonly found on doorsteps.
- Insulative lagging used for heat insulation or pipes, flues, and heating or furnace apparatus, and fire proofing of buildings.
- Loose-fill roof insulation such as Mr Fluffy insulation. This is thought to be rare in our area.
- Legacy fibres from previous land uses. For example, automotive and locomotive brake linings and gaskets.
NOTE that most buildings in the area will contain asbestos products such as the sheeting used in kitchens and bathrooms of a house, eaves, and electrical switchboards.
Asbestos products are normally removed by contractors, and therefore the sites where removal is being undertaken are regulated by NSW SafeWork.
- All friable asbestos
- More than ten (10) metres of bonded asbestos (about the size of a small bathroom)
- If bonded asbestos is damaged or weathered
Asbestos products are normally bonded and are quite safe in situ until they are disturbed, broken, cracked, or cut. Owners and occupiers that are undertaking asbestos removal work by themselves are not commercially removing asbestos. From 1 January 2008 a bonded asbestos licence is required for the removal of more than 10 square Metres of bonded asbestos. Note that the requirements are applicable to bonded asbestos sheeting only. If the material is significantly damaged from weather, or impact; the material is likely to be friable, and will also require a licensed removalist, regardless of quantity.
Important Information and Links
- Asbestos Awareness website - created by the Asbestos Education Committee, this website provides a comprehensive guide on all aspects of asbestos for home renovators and tradesman
- The NSW Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) - outlines legal requirements and provides information on guidelines for asbestos removal, transport and disposal at licensed landfills
- The Environment NSW ‘Safely Disposing of Asbestos Waste From Home’ brochure - a quick guide on the safe handling, storage, transport and disposal of bonded asbestos
- SafeWork NSW - provides advice on licenses, licensed contractors and guidelines necessary for asbestos removal at home and in the workplace
- NSW SafeWork Factsheet
- Australian Government - Asbestos Safety for Householders and Home Renovators
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