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Imported asbestos found in Australia

It is suspected that dozens of Australian building sites have been contaminated by illegal Chinese asbestos imports, according to local authorities.

As in the UK the import of asbestos containing materials into Australia has been banned for some years.  However, asbestos is still used in building materials in some countries – notably in China.

The Australian authorities have identified 64 sites where concrete fibre sheeting tainted with asbestos has been used in recent construction.  The material was imported as ‘asbestos-free’. It was originally discovered in a switch room at a natural gas compressor station.  

As building has slowed in China, many products are now exported at attractive prices.

In the UK the importing or placing on the market of any substance containing asbestos is prohibited by the REACH (the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals Regulations 2007.)   Australia has similar restrictions, but with the product being certified as ‘asbestos-free’ it seems to have avoided any import checks.  Trade Unions there are concerned that it may have spread more widely and that construction workers who have not recently had to worry about asbestos in new products may not recognize a potential problem.

If you are concerned about an imported product, Broadland Group can arrange rapid testing to establish whether there is an asbestos problem.