What is asbestos?

Asbestos is the generic term for a number of fibrous silicate minerals. Products made from asbestos cement - a bonded asbestos material - include fibro sheeting (flat and profiled) guttering and downpipes, as well as other pipes for water, drainage or flues, corrugated roofing sheets, roofing shingles and guttering.

Asbestos is a type of building material used in the building industry between the 1940s and late 1980s.

Before the health risks were known, asbestos products were widely used because they were durable, fire resistant and had good insulation properties.

The manufacture and use of asbestos products was banned nationally from 31 December 2003. This ban applies to manufacture, supply, storage, sale, use, reuse, installation and replacement of asbestos.

For further information please contact your relevant local government authority or access further asbestos information by clicking on the following link:



What are the dangers of asbestos?

Why Can Asbestos Dust or Fibres be Dangerous to Your Health?

  • You must observe safety precautions when removing or working with asbestos, otherwise you risk exposing yourself and your family to long-term health risks.Asbesto Awareness DEC 248
  • There is no safe level of exposure to asbestos fibres!
  • If asbestos is disturbed it can release dangerous fine particles of dust containing asbestos fibres
  • Breathing in dust containing asbestos fibres can cause asbestosis, lung cancer and mesothelioma
  • Mesothelioma is a cancer which most often occurs in the lining of the lung. There is no cure
  • The rates of malignant mesothelioma (an incurable cancer) are expected to rise from 2012 to 2020.
  • The risk of contracting asbestos related diseases increases with the number of fibres inhaled and the length of time that you inhaled asbestos fibres (number of years exposed)
  • The risk of lung cancer from inhaling asbestos fibres is greatly increased if you smoke
  • Symptoms of asbestos dust related diseases do not usually appear until about 20 to 30 years after the first exposure to asbestos
  • The average time between exposure and developing mesothelioma is about 45 years

For further information please contact your relevant local government authority or access further asbestos information by clicking on the following link:


Are there any guides/resources available relating to asbestos?

There are a range of great guides and resources available.  We have included a small selection below for your reference:

Asbestos - A Guide for householders and the general public

The Commonwealth publication for the general public on health risks associated with asbestos, especially during home renovations.

Asbestos: a guide for minor renovation

Find out how to handle, remove and dispose of asbestos safely and legally in Queensland.

Asbestos and home renovations

Play it safe with asbestos - Don't risk exposing yourself or others to airborne asbestos fibres during your renovation. 

Containment and disposal of asbestos contaminated dust and debris arising from fire damaged buildings

This guidance note provides information on the management of fire damaged buildings that have asbestos containing materials (ACMs).

Water blasting equipment tag

Are there any fact sheets available to assist in understanding asbestos risks?

There are a wide range of fact sheets, guides and checklists available.  Please find a selection below for your reference:

Asbestos bags recycled for use in carpet
The Western Australian Department of Health (WA Health) has found that a significant quantity of hessian bags used to transport asbestos, wool, superphosphate and potatoes were recycled with other material, such as jute and goat hair, to manufacture carpet underlay prior to the early 1970s.

Asbestos and fire damaged buildings
Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral fibre that was used in many building materials until the late 1980s, such as asbestos cement (fibro).

Asbestos flooring
Information regarding asbestos backed vinyl sheet flooring and vinyl tiles containing asbestos.

Cleaning asbestos cement roofs
Cleaning a fibro roof with a high pressure water blaster is illegal as it can destroy the roof surface, cause cement debris and asbestos to spray into the air, and result in widespread contamination.

Handling asbestos safely after a storm
It is essential to protect yourself and others when removing debris particularly when asbestos is concerned.

Heads of Workplace Safety Authorities - Rapid Response Protocol
The Rapid Response Protocol (the Protocol) has been developed to enable government agencies to work cooperatively and efficiently across jurisdiction and portfolio lines when products have been identified as containing asbestos and there is concern such products may cross/have crossed state lines.

Is it safe? Cracked, damaged or weathered asbestos cement sheeting
Asbestos cement sheeting is a building material used in many Queensland houses. If a house was built before 1990, it is likely to have some asbestos cement sheeting in it.

Management of asbestos incidents
Guide to agency response and management of events involving asbestos containing material (asbestos incident).

Play it safe with asbestos: tips for property managers
Play it safe when repairing or renovating rental properties.

Asbestos health risks
This guidance note is about the hazards that asbestos presents to human health through occupational exposure and/or environmental exposure.