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Australia Asbestos Problem – Outside of NSW

Panorama of Southern Gold Coast, Queensland

We continue in our blog series on the asbestos contamination crisis currently ongoing in Australia. To find out more read our previous post here.

Following the discovery of asbestos in mulch in over 60 sites across Sydney, it has now been found in more than 25 Queensland locations spreading this major problem out further across the country.

The department of environment (DESI) for the state confirmed recently that the potentially deadly material was found at a waste facility called NuGrow on 20 February in a proactive investigation by the government following the situation in NSW.

The company responded saying that it was bonded asbestos that was found which doesn’t pose a major threat as there is “currently no evidence to suggest that people who may have come in contact with this material are at risk.” To which DESI responded by confirming that “The asbestos material is friable and was detected following drying and sieving under a stereoscopic microscope.” As of yet, NuGrow has not responded to the department’s response.

Following the discovery, the firm had initially provided a list of businesses that they had supplied mulch to which the government are now following up with which has now been added to after a further two schools and a dog park along with 16 other businesses have been found to have been serviced with friable asbestos containing products. Workplace Health and Safety Queensland regulator, Peter McKay, has informed the public that inspectors have attended all 16 businesses that had received material from NuGrow and that the schools and dog parks are currently under construction meaning they are not accessible to the public.

The acceptance of asbestos is prohibited under NuGrows current environmental authority and they are not able to use the potentially harmful substance so it is not clear where it appeared from with the relevant authorities currently investigating the source and the governmental department now in the process of deciding if the business will receive enforcement action for the detection of the asbestos at the facility..

To learn more on this ongoing story read our other blog posts and these reports from The Guardian.


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