Campbell residents potentially exposed to loose asbestos

Asbestos (Source: iPrime)

ABC Online News and iPrime Canberra are reporting about potential asbestos exposure for residents in Campbell at the site of a house being demolished.

There are disturbing reports that ACT Government agencies (ACTPLA and Office of Regulatory Services – Workcover) have been severely talking down the nature of the risks involved despite the fact that samples originating from the demolition project have been confirmed as asbestos and found in neighbouring driveways, yards and gutters.

The ABC Online Report is as follows:

Campbell asbestos concerns

The ACT Office of Regulatory Services (ORS) says it has stopped construction work at a building site in Canberra’s inner-north after residents raised concerns about exposure to asbestos.

The CFMEU says contractors demolishing a house in Campbell have left material on the lawns and a nearby resident has paid for a test that confirms it is asbestos.

ORS spokeswoman Danielle Krajina says they are monitoring the site closely.

“The asbestos was bonded asbestos and asbestos of that nature only becomes of concern when it starts to break down or it’s severely disturbed,” she said.

“Now there’s still work happening on that site to ensure the site is cleared of any fibres which involves remediation of the soil.”

But CFMEU spokeswoman Sarah Schoonwater says WorkCover has not done enough to reassure worried residents.

“Surely by now if the fears were there surely they would have held a meeting with the residents or done a letter box drop or put out some information for them,” she said.

“You cant just leave people wondering what that substance is.”

The iPrime Canberra Report is as follows:

Local asbestos concerns ‘brushed off’

Residents are concerned with another asbestos scare in Canberra.
Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union ACT Branch Secretary Sarah Schoonwater said chunks of the toxic material were found at the site of a demolished house in Campbell.

The substance was also found in neighbouring driveways, yards and gutters.

Ms Schoonwater said the ACT Planning and Land Authority played down the concerns and told residents people tend to overreact.

When locals raised their concerns with WorkCover, they were told it might not be asbestos and rain would have washed it away.

“When residents pushed to have WorkCover identify the material, they were told they would have to pay for that to be done themselves,” Ms Schoonwater said in a statement.

“After paying several hundreds of dollars to do the testing, independent experts confirmed the substance… was asbestos.

“I am simply shocked… these families feared for their children’s safety.”

Last month, broken sheets of asbestos were found at the Pickes Auction House.

Note: copyright of the material in the clippings resides with the Prime Television and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Usage permitted in accordance with the Australian Copyright Act 1968, Section 42: Fair dealing for purpose of reporting news. Source: iPrime Website, ABC News Online 26 November 2009.

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