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Naturally occurring asbestos

Naturally occurring asbestos (NOA) is asbestos mineral in its natural form in soil or rock. Less than 1% of NSW land is believed to have NOA within 10 metres of the surface. 

Asbestos in soil or asbestos rock veins can be different colours: 

  • blue (crocidolite) 

  • brown (amosite) 

  • green (anthophyllite, tremolite and actinolite) 

  • white (chrysotile, tremolite and actinolite). 

Where is naturally occurring asbestos in NSW?

Use the map to identify where NOA has been found in NSW — most NOA veins are west of the Great Dividing Range.
Naturally occurring asbestos in rock on ground

How do I know if it’s NOA? 

NOA is difficult to identify. Follow the golden rule – if it might be asbestos, treat it like it is. Only a licensed asbestos assessor and accredited testing laboratory can confirm if you’ve found NOA. 

Is NOA dangerous? 

NOA is low risk when it’s covered or left alone. It can become dangerous if the soil or rock is disturbed by drilling, excavation or roadworks. 

If NOA is disturbed, asbestos fibres in the air put people on site at risk. Exposure to asbestos is linked to diseases like asbestosis, lung cancer and mesothelioma.  

Is NOA dangerous in the home? 

If you live in an NOA area, you can take some precautions around your home, garden and outdoor areas.  

If asbestos fibres are likely to be in the air near your home: 

  • use a wet cloth, mop or steam-cleaner instead of a vacuum cleaner 

  • avoid tracking soil and dust indoors by using doormats and shoes off rules 

  • use rugs you can wash regularly and don’t need beating or shaking 

  • wash outdoor mats with water instead of shaking clean 

  • wash dusty items straight after use  

  • avoid shaking out dusty clothes 

  • wash pets regularly to remove dust 

  • close windows if road works or construction is happening nearby. 

If asbestos fibres are likely to be in the air near your outdoor spaces and garden: 

  • avoid using leaf blowers  

  • avoid pressure cleaners or water blasting 

  • keep ground cover well-maintained  

  • seal or pave pathways to reduce dust 

  • use asbestos-free soil, woodchips, mulch, sand and gravel 

  • wet garden areas before disturbing the soil. 

Be safe, not sorry, and identify asbestos using the Asbestos Checker.  

Is it dangerous to work around NOA? 

There are rules about how NOA sites must be managed. SafeWork NSW can guide you through working or volunteering on an NOA site