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Why Is Asbestos Testing Urgently Needed?

According to
estimation, 1 out of 3
houses built in
Australia was installed
with an asbestos-
containing material
(ACM). Houses in
Tasmania mostly have
some ACMs installed.
It can be found in the
roofing, fence, ceilings,
or wall cladding.
Do You Know that

Commercial and industrial properties have commonly used friable ACM products
since the late 1800s.
They were used for fireproofing, insulation and soundproofing.
Some forms of friable products were also installed in houses.
For houses constructed before 1990, the material could still be found attached to
Due to the extensive use of fibrous materials in the 1950s and until the mid-1980s;
home maintenance, renovation and demolition continue to face some problems.
Houses built before the 1990s commonly contain AC materials, particularly in the
internal and external wall cladding, eaves, ceilings (especially in bathrooms and
laundries, the wet areas), roofing and fences.
During the 1980s, asbestos cement (AC) products were eliminated, thus encouraging
the use of ACM-free products.
The total ban on production, use, reuse, transport, import, storage or sale of all types
of ACM started to be implemented in December 2003.
Lack of awareness on the safe method of handling the removal of fibrous products can
cause health risks to the occupants of residential and commercial buildings.
Inhaling the fibres may cause a person to be infected by one of the diseases induced by
the fibrous particles including Asbestosis, lung cancer and Mesothelioma.
ACM risk in Australia is high, and in a day at least six people are diagnosed with diseases
related to fibrous products.
Products containing dangerous fibres that were installed to the house exterior include:
corrugated roofing and fencing, eaves, guttering, garage walls and roofs, carport ceilings,
walls cladding, outdoor sheds and old laundries and meter box panels
Fibrous products installed within the house interior include: sheet vinyl, bathroom,
laundries, and kitchen walls and ceiling cladding, vinyl floor tiles and flooring glues and
You can get fined, charged or even sent to the prison for not removing fibrous materials
correctly or following the Tasmanian regulations.
Removing fibrous materials without training can cause significant hazards to your family
and the environment.
Disposal of materials containing dangerous fibres must be managed by a licensed
assessor that holds a certification and following the Tasmanian regulations.
When You Find an ACM in Your House

Dont get panic. One of the solutions to ensure whether the suspected material found
within the building is an ACM is through a testing. The testing can confirm whether the
suspected product contains fibres or not.
The first step for taking the test is an inspection or survey. The inspection or survey is
best to be performed by a qualified assessor. The activity is recommended to make sure
that the most accurate result is acquired.
DIY for doing a sampling of products containing hazardous fibres is not recommended
because it poses significant risks. Having no knowledge of the exact materials containing
dangerous fibres can get an individual into a serious problem of fibre exposure. The
sampling process may induce the release of fibres into the air.
Therefore, it is strongly recommended that the inspection is done by a licensed
professional who can identify ACMs accurately. The process will include sample
collection and analysis to ensure if the suspected object indeed contains fibres.
There are three types of inspection, including:
1. Management the process involves the identification of ACMs within the building and
risk assessments of the suspected material. The materials, which are confirmed as
ACMs, will be documented in an asbestos register. Further, the location, condition, and
pictures will be included there. The management inspection includes a presumptive
inspection or sampling inspection.
During the presumptive inspection, a consultant will collect samples from the suspected
material. Then, the samples will be analysed through a NATA accredited laboratory to
determinate whether the samples contain fibres or not.
2. Refurbishment & Demolition The activities are performed to detect and remove any
product containing dangerous fibres to phase out the risk of exposure to individuals and
the surrounding environment. Sampling is carried out to ensure whether the building
contains fibrous products. The inspection is done before the actual demolition or
refurbishment of the building and when people are not in the building.
3. Clearance Clearance inspection may be required after the ACM has been removed
from a building. This type of inspection is necessary to determine that the place is safe for
The Importance of ACM Testing
Some prefer to do DIY to collect the samples due to cost and efficiency reasons. The
good news is, DIY is allowed for it. However, if you prefer a safe and clean procedure,
hiring a licensed professional is the most suggested option. The qualified professional is,
of course, familiar with the whole sampling and testing procedures.
The individual who will conduct DIY for sampling and testing jobs should be aware that
he or she is dealing with hazardous fibres that can affect the health of many people.
Thus, they have to be able to minimise the release of fibres.
After collecting the samples, the samples will be taken to a NATA lab for testing. It is
important that the samples are wrapped in sealed plastic bags or a postage
envelope. Do remember that when collecting the samples, you need to wear protective
kits that you can find in hardware stores. ACM testing is required when you plan to do
removal or renovation or when you plan to sell or buy a property.