Reports on asbestos contamination in the news this week
By Kathy Cooke. 15th May 2014
Despite being banned in most developed countries, asbestos contamination is still an issue due to the historical use of asbestos in buildings over many decades. Here we present a round-up of some asbestos news storied reported across the world this week.
Asbestos news from New Zealand
A primary school in New Zealand may be closed for a whole year because of asbestos contamination.
Building and demolition work has been ongoing at Bayfield School in Auckland, New Zealand and 2 out of 95 tests have shown asbestos to be present on the school grounds. The board of governors of Bayfield School has mooted the idea of relocating the school to other premises whilst the work is completed. This may take up to a year and they are currently awaiting feedback from the parents as to the way forward.
Asbestos News from Australia
Building work on a hospital in Western Sydney - currently undergoing a 320 million dollar upgrade - has been stopped indefinitely following the finding of asbestos in soil near the hospital main entrance, a car park and a nursery. A spokesperson for CFMEU, Mr Rebel Hanson noted that the chances of the 130 workers being exposed to asbestos was quite significant. There was also potential exposure for members of the public. The asbestos had supposedly been cleared from the site 6 months prior to the refurbishment work starting. A NSW Health Infrastructure spokeswoman said that the areas where the asbestos was found were not designated public paths and patients and public were not at risk. The nursery and hospital would continue to operate as normal.
Asbestos news from the UK
A foreman and other workers may have been exposed to asbestos during refurbishment work at a warehouse in Berkshire in 2011. This week the HSE reports that the Battersea Building firm Redwood Contractors Ltd were fined £10,000 + costs after breaching the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006.
The company failed to share the knowledge of the presence of asbestos to its workers despite possessing a detailed asbestos survey. As he wasn't aware of the presence of asbestos, the foreman mistook the material for asbestos cement and did not follow the correct protective procedures required for the safe removal of asbestos. He and other co- workers may have inhaled asbestos fibres unknowingly, which may lead to future asbestos related conditions.
Asbestos news from America
Illegal dumping of asbestos in the American town of Islip is causing a problem for residents - so much so that an information hotline has been set up. High concentration of asbestos was found at a building site in the centre of town - rubble at the site was thought to contain 16% asbestos - any amount over 1% being considered hazardous. Asbestos is also thought to be present at a housing subdivision in Islandia designated for war veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan. The possible presence of asbestos in the soil in that area is currently being tested.
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Kathy Cooke MA. BSc
Cancer consultant and advisor
Kathy has worked in the cancer field for over 30 years. She was course leader for the MSc in Radiotherapy and Oncology at University of Hertfordshire. Then pre-treatment radiotherapy manager at the Cromwell Hospital in London and Partnership Quality Lead for Macmillan Cancer Support.. Read more >