Learn about asbestos, including its health effects and how to safely identify, remove, and dispose of asbestos-containing materials. 

Asbestos and its health effects

Asbestos is a naturally occurring material widely used in the construction industry until 1987. It is commonly found in older buildings throughout the shire.

When asbestos-containing materials are left undisturbed, they are relatively harmless. However, if the material is damaged or disturbed, it may release fibres into the air, which can be dangerous to your health. 

Exposure to asbestos fibres can cause the following diseases:

  • Asbestosis
  • Pleural plaque
  • Lung cancer
  • Mesothelioma.

Generally, undisturbed asbestos cement products do not pose a health risk, as the fibres are bound together in a solid cement matrix.

Identifying asbestos

It can be difficult to determine whether a material contains asbestos simply by looking at it. If in doubt, and the material was installed before 1987, treat the suspect material as though it does contain asbestos. 

Careful visual examination and the use of a microscope is the only way to verify the presence of asbestos. To determine whether a material contains asbestos, contact a laboratory that performs testing. 

Visit the Department of Health website for more information on identifying asbestos-containing material.

The Cancer Council WA and the Department of Health provide a free online training course. DIY home renovators can learn about the risks of asbestos and how to work with or remove asbestos-containing materials safely. 

Visit KNOW Asbestos Free Online Training Course.

Asbestos removal

Asbestos removal is best carried out by a licensed professional to ensure it is done safely. 

If you are engaging a contractor to remove over 10m2 of bonded (non-friable) asbestos, that contractor must be licenced with WorkSafe WA. A list of approved WorkSafe licence holders is available on the WorkSafe website. Find a licensed asbestos removalist.

If you decide to remove the asbestos yourself (or if you are a WorkSafe licenced contractor), you must comply with the requirements of the Health (Asbestos) Regulations 1992. 

Safe handling of asbestos

  • Use adequate personal protective equipment, including a respirator (P1 or P2 type), disposable coveralls, safety glasses, and disposable gloves
  • Wet the area thoroughly to reduce the number of airborne fibres
  • Do not use power tools to cut through asbestos
  • Do not use high-pressure water hoses or compressed air to clean asbestos sheets
  • Use vacuum equipment designed to extract asbestos fibres or sweep up any dust residues after thoroughly wetting them down.

Asbestos disposal

The Davis Road Recycling and Waste Management Facility accepts small quantities of asbestos-containing material. Fees and charges apply.

Important note: You must triple wrap asbestos in heavy-duty black plastic and clearly label the package with ‘CAUTION ASBESTOS’. 

Find out more about the Davis Road Recycling and Waste Management Facility including contact details, fees, opening hours and address.

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