How do I know if a material in my house contains asbestos?

A guide for householders and the general public

Page last updated: 06 March 2013

It is not possible to find out whether a material contains asbestos simply by looking at it. Careful, close examination of a sample using specialised microscopic procedures is the only way to tell whether a material contains asbestos. It is best for this to be done at an accredited laboratory.

If you know the suspect material was installed before 1990, it is safest to assume it does contain asbestos. If in doubt, get it tested.

How to find an accredited testing laboratory

The National Association of Testing Authorities (NATA) can provide details of an accredited laboratory in your area where asbestos can be identified accurately. Alternatively, contact a licensed asbestos removalist to arrange testing of suspect material by an accredited laboratory.

Telephone 1800 621 666
Website NATA

There is a modest cost for testing, which varies between laboratories.