Naturally Occurring Asbestos (NOA)
Asbestos in its natural form can be blue (crocidolite), brown (amosite), green (anthophyllite tremolite and actinolite) or white (chrysotile, tremolite and actinolite). Known as Naturally Occurring Asbestos or NOA, it’s found in some rocks, sediments and in soils in various regions of NSW and is not easily identified.
If covered and left undisturbed, NOA is not considered dangerous. However, if disturbed and microscopic fibres become airborne or settle on clothing or equipment and can be inhaled, NOA can cause incurable diseases including malignant mesothelioma, lung cancer and asbestosis.
Less than one percent of land in NSW is believed to contain NOA within 10 metres of the ground’s surface. NOA veins are scattered around the state, mostly west of the Great Dividing Range.
Only testing by a National Association of Testing Authorities (NATA) accredited laboratory, of a sample collected by a competent person, can confirm the presence of asbestos in any workplace including in building materials or in its natural forms in the environment.
Any work or activities that could disturb affected earth, rocks, and soils creates a potential risk. This is because disturbing NOA can release asbestos fibres into the air, which could be inhaled or contaminate clothing and equipment.
A suite of guidance material has been developed to assist those in areas where NOA may be present – see links below