What is asbestos

Asbestos is the name for a group of minerals that were used to manufacture a wide range of products including many that were used in Australian buildings until the mid-late 1980s. Exposure to asbestos fibres may cause diseases such as mesothelioma, lung cancer and asbestosis.

Managing asbestos in the workplace

Buildings and products from before 2004 may still contain asbestos. Until the 1980s it was manufactured, sold, and used in various forms like:

  • vinyl floor tiles
  • cement roof sheeting and wall lining
  • lagging and jointing material
  • fire blankets

How can Asbestos affect your health?

When asbestos is disturbed these fibres can become airborne and are easy to inhale.  The fibres can become trapped in your lungs.

Scientific studies reviewed by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC, 2012) show that asbestos can also cause cancer of the larynx and ovaries and is also associated with pharynx, stomach, and colorectal cancer.  Due to these health risks Australia imposed a total ban on mining manufacture and use of asbestos on 21st December 2003.

State Contacts for more information

New South Wales
Western Australia
South Australia
Northern Territory

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Asbestos is a previously common building material that is now recognised as harmful to human health. During the late 20th century, scientists and doctors established

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