Asbestos Removal Sydney

Asbestos Removal Sydney

The importance of correct removal & disposal of asbestos cannot be underestimated. Using ‘backyard’ or unlicensed operators can pose a risk to the health & safety of you, your family & the wider public. Asbestos Removal Sydney

ATR is a long established, reputable asbestos removal company that prides itself on its experience & commitment to safety. ATR offers the following non-friable asbestos removal services. ( Non-friable asbestos means material containing asbestos that is not friable asbestos, including material containing asbestos fibres reinforced with a bonding compound. )

Our staff are highly trained asbestos removal specialists supported by an award winning WHS Management System. This means you can rest assured your asbestos removal project will be handled safely & efficiently by professional asbestos removalist contractors.

About Asbestos

Asbestos is a set of six naturally occurring silicate minerals used commercially for their desirable physical properties. The prolonged inhalation of asbestos fibres can cause serious illnesses including malignant lung cancer, mesothelioma, & asbestosis. A total ban came into effect in Australia on the 31st December 2003. Asbestos can no longer be imported, used or recycled.

Asbestos became increasingly popular among manufacturers & builders because of its sound absorption, tensile strength, its resistance to fire, heat, electrical & chemical damage, & affordability.

Prior to the risks & health hazards of asbestos becoming widely known, asbestos containing materials (ACM’s) were widely used in the construction of many homes & workplaces throughout Australia.

The most common uses of Asbestos Containing Materials (ACM’s) in the home or workplace include:

  • Many purpose built structures such as garages, sheds, external laundries & toilets
  • Roofing
  • Cladding
  • Eaves linings
  • Fencing
  • Wet areas (bathroom & laundry)
  • Kitchens
  • Vinyl tiles
  • Formwork for concrete paths & slabs

Meanings for key asbestos terms

Airborne asbestos means any fibres of asbestos small enough to be made airborne. For the purposes of monitoring airborne asbestos fibres, only respirable fibres are counted.

Asbestos means the asbestiform varieties of mineral silicates belonging to the serpentine or amphibole groups of rock forming minerals, including actinolite asbestos, grunerite (or amosite) asbestos (brown), anthophyllite asbestos, chrysotile asbestos (white), crocidolite asbestos (blue) & tremolite asbestos or a mixture of any of these.

Asbestos containing material (ACM) means any material or thing that, as part of its design, contains asbestos.

Asbestos-contaminated dust or debris (ACD) means dust or debris that has settled within a workplace & is (or is assumed to be) contaminated with asbestos. Asbestos-related work means work involving asbestos (other than asbestos removal work to which Part 8.7 of the WHS Regulations applies) that is permitted under the exceptions set out in regulation 419(3), (4) & (5).

Asbestos removalist means a person conducting a business or undertaking who carries out asbestos removal work.

Asbestos removal work means:

  • work involving the removal of asbestos or ACM
  • Class A asbestos removal work or Class B asbestos removal work as outlined in Part 8.10 of the WHS Regulations.

Competent person in relation to carrying out clearance inspections under regulation 473 means a person who has acquired through training or experience the knowledge & skills of relevant asbestos removal industry practice & holds a certification in relation to the specified VET course for asbestos assessor work or a tertiary qualification in occupational health & safety, occupational hygiene, science, building, construction or environmental health. For all other purposes, competent person means a person who has acquired through training, qualification or experience, the knowledge & skills to carry out the task.

Exposure standard for asbestos is a respirable fibre level of 0.1 fibres/ml of air measured in a person’s breathing zone & expressed as a time weighted average fibre concentration calculated over an eight-hour working day & measured over a minimum period of four hours in accordance with:

  • the Membrane Filter Method
  • A method determined by the relevant regulator.

Friable asbestos means material that is in a powder form or that can be crumbled, pulverised or reduced to a powder by hand pressure when dry, & contains asbestos.

GHS means Globally Harmonised System of Classification & Labelling of Chemicals.

Licensed asbestos assessor means a person who holds an asbestos assessor licence.

Licensed asbestos removalist means a person conducting a business or undertaking who is licensed under the WHS Regulations to carry out Class A or Class B asbestos removal work.

Naturally occurring asbestos (NOA) means the natural geological occurrence of asbestos minerals found in association with geological deposits including rock, sediment or soil.

Non-friable asbestos means material containing asbestos that is not friable asbestos, including material containing asbestos fibres reinforced with a bonding compound.

Respirable asbestos means an asbestos fibre that:

  • is less than 3 micron metres (µm) wide
  • more than 5 micron metres (µm) long
  • Has a length to width ratio of more than 3:1.


Asbestos use in human culture dates back at least 4,500 years, when evidence shows that inhabitants of the Lake Juojärvi region in East Finland strengthened earthenware pots & cooking utensils with the asbestos mineral anthophyllite. The word asbestos comes from ancient Greek meaning "unquenchable" or "inextinguishable". The naming of minerals was not very consistent in ancient times. In both modern & ancient Greek, the usual name for the material known in English as "asbestos" is amiantos ("undefiled", "pure").

The term asbestos is traceable to Roman naturalist Pliny the Elder's manuscript Natural History, & his use of the term asbestinon, meaning "unquenchable". However, asbestos has been known by many other names including: "mountain leather," "incombustible linen," & "rock floss." The name of chrysotile, one of the most common forms of asbestos, is derived from the Greek words "chrysos" (gold) & "tilos" (fibre) or "gold fibre."

Asbestos was used by many different cultures for hundreds of purposes. The Egyptians embalmed pharaohs with asbestos & the Persians imported asbestos from India for wrapping their dead. They thought it was hair from a small animal that lived by fire & died by water.

In medieval times asbestos was used extensively as insulation in suits of armour.

Unscrupulous merchants made it into crosses that they advertised as having been made from "the true cross." Some forms of asbestos look like old wood, & merchants claimed that their resistance to fire was proof that these "wooden crosses" came from cross on which Christ was hung.

Near the end of the 19th century, the use asbestos became even more widespread as a result of the industrial revolution. Asbestos was used in the manufacture of more than 3000 products including textiles, building materials, insulation & brake linings. Its use continued to increase through the 1970s. At that time the evidence against asbestos as a health hazard (it was found to cause asbestosis & mesothelioma) could no longer be denied, & its use fell into sudden decline.

Interestingly enough, the hazards of asbestos were recorded as early as Roman times. Both Pliny the Elder & the first century geographer Strabo noted that workers exposed to asbestos had many health problems. Pliny the Elder recommended that quarry slaves from asbestos mines not be purchased because "they die young." Lung ailments were common to anyone who worked with asbestos fibres.

Asbestos in Australia

Asbestos was first mined in Australia beginning in the 1880s in Jones Creek, New South Wales. Over the next 100 years, New South Wales would produce the largest tonnages of mined chrysotile asbestos in the country.

In 1937, asbestos was discovered in Wittenoom, Western Australia, and by 1939, major mining of the mineral in Wittenoom Gorge had begun. Wittenoom was Australia's only supplier of crocidolite, or "blue asbestos," now known to be the deadliest form of asbestos.

A company town was built around the mine in Wittenoom in 1947 to house workers and their families. Most miners were unaware of the risks associated with direct and indirect asbestos exposure until the mine closed down in 1966, amidst suspicions that asbestos was causing major health problems in miners and their families. Through much of the 20th century, Australia was a major user of a great variety of asbestos products, most of which were imported from the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany and Japan. Asbestos-containing products often imported by Australia included asbestos cement, rope, yarn, fabric, friction materials, gaskets and millboard.

Asbestos was also imported in raw fibre form from Canada (chrysotile) and South Africa (crocidolite and amosite) until the 1960s, when the import of asbestos materials finally declined.

Australia’s post-World War II consumption of asbestos was very high, with an estimated 70,000 asbestos cement homes built in New South Wales in the year 1954 alone. After World War II, half of all homes built in New South Wales were made of asbestos cement, and until the 1960s, one-quarter of all new homes in Australia were clad in asbestos cement. Many of those homes still stand today and contain the toxic mineral.

A total ban came into effect in Australia on the 31st December 2003. Asbestos can no longer be imported, used or recycled.

Types of asbestos

Six minerals types are defined as "asbestos" including those belonging to the serpentine class and those belonging to the amphibole class. All six asbestos mineral types are known to be human carcinogens.


Serpentine class fibres are curly. Chrysotile is the only member of the serpentine class.


Chrysotile is obtained from serpentinite rocks which are common throughout the world. Chrysotile appears under the microscope as a white fibre.

Chrysotile has been used more than any other type and accounts for about 95% of the asbestos found in buildings in America. Chrysotile is more flexible than amphibole types of asbestos, and can be spun and woven into fabric. It’s most common use has been in corrugated asbestos cement roof sheets typically used for purpose built structures such as garages, sheds, external laundries & toilets. It may also be found in sheets or panels used for ceilings and sometimes for walls and floors. Chrysotile has been a component in joint compound and some plasters. Numerous other items have been made containing chrysotile, including brake linings, fire barriers in power boxes, pipe insulation, floor tiles, and gaskets for high temperature equipment.

Amphibole class fibres are needle-like. Amosite, crocidolite, tremolite, anthophyllite and actinolite are members of the amphibole class.

Amosite, often referred to as brown asbestos, is a trade name for the amphiboles belonging to the cummingtonite-grunerite solid solution series, commonly from South Africa, named as an acronym for "Asbestos Mines of South Africa". Amosite is seen under a microscope as a grey-white vitreous fibre. It is found most frequently as a fire retardant in thermal insulation products, asbestos insulating board and ceiling tiles.

Crocidolite is the fibrous form of the amphibole riebeckite, found primarily in southern Africa, but also in Australia and Bolivia. Crocidolite is seen under a microscope as a blue fibre.

Crocidolite commonly occurs as soft friable fibres. Asbestiform amphibole may also occur as soft friable fibres but some varieties such as amosite are commonly straighter.

Other materials

Other regulated asbestos minerals, such as tremolite asbestos; actinolite asbestos, and anthophyllite asbestos; are less commonly used industrially but can still be found in a variety of construction materials and insulation materials and have been reported in the past to occur in a few consumer products.