Asbestos was commonly used in many building materials between the 1940s and the late 1980s. It generally does not pose a risk to health unless the material is broken, deteriorating or disturbed so that dust containing asbestos fibres is produced. It is recommended that all asbestos materials should be removed by a licensed asbestos removalist however it is possible to remove it yourself. More information on how to safely remove asbestos can be found in the enHealth guide Asbestos - A guide for householders and the general public.
Agencies involved in asbestos related issues
The Environmental Health Unit is responsible for controlling or managing environmental factors that have the potential to adversely affect human health, this includes asbestos issues. Some asbestos-related matters managed by local Council include:
Unsafe removal of asbestos by owners and occupiers of private dwellings;
Dumping of asbestos materials;
Complaints about asbestos materials in poor or unsafe conditions (not including workplaces); and
Community concern about removal of asbestos in the neighbourhood.
For more information on asbestos-related matters dealt with by local Council contact the Environmental Health Unit on(03) 5320 5702.
Department of Health & Human Services
The Department of Health & Human Services assists local authorities and the community with a range of asbestos-related issues including:
Information and technical advice on managing health risks associated with asbestos exposure;
Providing advice for homeowners/occupiers on ways to safely maintain or remove asbestos in the home;
Assisting EPA or WorkSafe with public health advice on asbestos-related issues; and
Assisting EPA or WorkSafe in advising the public on the potential health risks associated with asbestos in homes.
For more information on asbestos-related matters dealt with by the Department of Health & Human Services contact them on 1300 761 874 or visit the Department of Health & Human Services website.
Environment Protection Authority (EPA)
The EPA is responsible for protecting areas of the environment from the effects of waste discharges, emissions, deposits or noise for public benefit. They ensure the welfare, safety, health and aesthetic enjoyment of the environment for future generations. Asbestos-related issues that are generally managed by the EPA include:
Transportation of industrial and commercial (not domestic) asbestos waste;
Licensing of landfill sites to receive asbestos waste;
Remediation of land contaminated with asbestos; and
Correct disposal methods of asbestos-containing materials.
NOTE: The EPA does not regulate the transport of asbestos waste from domestic sources however it does require domestic asbestos waste to be taken to a licensed landfill for safe disposal.
For more information on asbestos-related matters dealt with by the Environment Protection Authority including a list of licensed asbestos disposal sites, contact the EPA on (03) 9695 2722 or visit the EPA Victoria website.
WorkSafe Victoria manages and enforces all issues associated with asbestos in the workplace. A workplace is defined as any place whether inside or outside, where employees or self-employed people work. In some circumstances a home can be defined as a workplace when a contractor has been engaged to perform work, or where it is used as a home occupation. Some asbestos-related matters managed by WorkSafe include:
The requirement to undertake asbestos risk assessments;
Asbestos removal and air monitoring within a workplace;
Asbestos removal from residential or building construction sites completed by contractors;
Complaints about asbestos in workplaces;
Off-site releases of asbestos from a workplace; and
Storage of asbestos materials.
For more information on asbestos-related matters dealt with by the Victorian WorkCover Authority including a list of licenced asbestos removalists, contact the Victorian WorkCover Authority on 1800 136 089 or visit the WorkSafe Victoria or the new Asbestos website.
Mould is a type of fungi that lives on plant and animal matter. Mould grows best in damp and poorly ventilated areas, and reproduces by making spores.
Generally, if you can see or smell mould, you need to clean up and remove the mould immediately because mould can damage what it grows on. The longer it grows the more damage it can cause.
For more information on identifying and treating mould visit the Department of Health & Human Services fact sheets - Mould and Your Health or Removing Mould at Home or contact the Department of Health & Human Services on 1300 253 942.
Note: This includes advice for those living in rental properties that are having trouble with mould.