Finding & identifying
Where could asbestos be located?
You can use our interactive Find and Identify tool to help you find the places where asbestos is commonly found in the home.
Asbestos cement materials
In Australia, asbestos cement materials were first manufactured in the 1920s and were commonly used in the manufacture of residential building materials from the mid 1940s until the late 1980s.
Many houses built before 1990 therefore contain asbestos cement materials, especially in the eaves, internal and external wall cladding, ceilings (particularly in wet areas such as bathrooms and laundries) and fences.
Friable asbestos products
Friable asbestos products have been commonly used in commercial and industrial settings since the late 1800s for fireproofing, soundproofing and insulation. Some friable products were also used in houses and may still be found in houses built before 1990.
Could this be asbestos
It is not possible to tell whether a material contains asbestos simply by looking at it. Careful, close examination of a sample using specialised microscopic procedures is the only way to tell whether a material contains asbestos. It is best for this to be done at an accredited laboratory.
If you know the suspect material was installed before 1990, it is safest to assume it does contain asbestos. If you need to be certain, have it tested.
How to find an accredited testing laboratory
If you need to be certain, have it tested. The National Association of Testing Authorities (NATA) can provide details of an accredited laboratory in your area where asbestos can be identified accurately. Alternatively, contact a licensed asbestos removalist to arrange testing of suspect material by an accredited laboratory.
There is a modest cost for testing, which varies between laboratories.
Bring in a professional
Householders are strongly advised to engage experienced and licensed professionals to undertake home renovations where asbestos is likely to be present and/or to undertake asbestos removal.
The Australian Government enHealth publication 'Asbestos - A guide for householders and the general public' provides further information about asbestos in the home.