The use of all forms of asbestos has been banned in Australia since the end of 2003. This means that the import, manufacture, supply, sale and use or reuse of asbestos and asbestos-containing products is not permitted, except under very limited circumstances. This is the case even for lower risk asbestos containing products.
However, in many countries it is still used in manufactured products. Certification provided to importers from overseas manufacturers that goods are “asbestos-free” have sometimes found to be wrong for the purposes of Australian regulations.
Local standards in some supplier countries may classify goods ‘asbestos-free’ where they meet a certain low level of asbestos content. A low level of asbestos is not acceptable in Australia as a product found with any level of asbestos is prohibited for import or use. This is why it is important to ask your supplier, importer, manufacturer for the testing analysis of a sample of the goods prior to your purchase. The onus is on the importer or Australian supplier to provide you with adequate information to assure you that the product, good or material does not contain asbestos, in line with Australia’s work health and safety laws. This could include testing results.
For more information on testing, see ASEA’s website here.