February 20, 2019

Man suffering from asbestos poisoning died at St Wilfrid’s

A 75-year old Hailsham man suffering from asbestos poisoning died a week after being admitted to St Wilfrid’s Hospice, an inquest has heard.

James Spencer, of Harmers Hay Road in Hailsham, was taken into the Hospice on January 10, 2015 but died a week later, on January 17.

At his inquest, held at Eastbourne Magistrates’ Court on Thursday, February 12, the court heard how Mr Spencer was a specialist joiner by trade. In an in-life statement written by Mr Spencer’s solicitors, he told how he worked as a carpenter and shop fitter for W.K Nelson King, where he was exposed to asbestos on a number of occasions. Much of his work was done in basements, where pipes would be covered with asbestos lagging.

Later, he worked for Turner and Dean, where he was let out as a sub-contractor for Bell and Pearson. The work, which was overseen by East Sussex County Council, involved cutting soffits and boards that were made of asbestos sheets.

He said he was never given any information about asbestos, nor any protective mask. He used to sweep up the dust with a dustpan and brush at the end of each day.

Coroner Alan Craze recorded a conclusion of death by industrial disease.

Mr Craze felt assured that Mr Spencer suffered from asbestos poisoning, which is on the list of industrial diseases, and that he died as a cause of the infection and did not simply have it as a secondary illness. He was also convinced Mr Spencer contracted the disease during many years of exposure at work.

While a post mortem was not carried out, a junior nurse at St Wilfrid’s Hospice agreed with the cause of death as asbestos poisoning.

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Man suffering from asbestos poisoning died at St Wilfrid’s

New figures reveal compensation for deadly diseases

New figures reveal compensation for deadly diseases

Beccles Library.
Beccles Library.

Monday, February 16, 2015

8:55 AM

New figures have revealed how victims of asbestos-related diseases have been paid more than £200,000 in compensation from councils around the region over the past five years.

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Great Yarmouth High School.<br />
December 2013.</p>
<p>Picture: James Bass</p>
<p>” width=”465″ src=”/polopoly_fs/1.3957364!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_490/image.jpg” /><em>Great Yarmouth High School.<br />
December 2013.</p>
<p>Picture: James Bass</p>
<p>And local authorities have acknowledged potentially deadly asbestos is still present in scores of schools, homes, libraries, fire stations and other council properties in Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire.</p>
<p>While councils stress the substance is not a risk to health if left undisturbed, compensation has been paid to former council workers who developed asbestos-related diseases, such as mesothelioma, after they were exposed to the dust during their employment.</p>
<p>Mesothelioma is a lung cancer which kills nearly 50 people a week in the UK. It is caused by exposure to specks of asbestos, which used to be used as coatings and insulation.</p>
<p>According to figures from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), there were 713 deaths from mesothelioma in Norfolk between 1981 and 2011; 593 in Suffolk; and 332 in Cambridgeshire.</p>
<div id=

What is mesothelioma?

-Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that can develop in the tissues covering the lungs or the abdomen.

-Pleural mesothelioma, the most common type, is in the tissue covering the lungs, while peritoneal mesothelioma is in the lining of the abdomen.

-Symptoms include pain in the chest or lower back, shortness of breath, a fever or night sweats, abdominal pain, unexplained fatigue, no appetite and weight loss.

-More than 2,500 people in the UK are diagnosed with mesothelioma each year, and men are five times more likely to be diagnosed than women.

-Mesothelioma is almost always caused by exposure to asbestos. Asbestos is a soft, greyish-white material that used to be widely used in building construction as a form of insulation and to protect against fire.

-The outlook for mesothelioma is poor because it is usually diagnosed at an advanced stage. Most people diagnosed with mesothelioma will die within three years of being diagnosed, and the average person survives for around 12 months.

-Every year in the UK, there are around 2,300 deaths from the condition and it is estimated that, by 2050,

90,000 people in the UK will have died as a result of mesothelioma.

Figures revealed council compensation payments for asbestos-related diseases since 2009 included three former Norwich City Council workers. A 65-year-old received £156,000 in 2009, while a 78-year-old and a 60-year-old received £35,300 and £10,700 in 2010. A 2012 claim by a 79-year-old has yet to be decided.

Other payments were to a former West Norfolk Council worker who repaired prefabricated council houses, who received more than £2,700 and just over £9,400 to an ex-Waveney District Council housing maintenance worker. There were no claims in Breckland, Broadland, South Norfolk or North Norfolk, while two claims to Great Yarmouth Borough Council were not successful. Cambridgeshire County Council has had four claims since 2009, of which one was successful, while Suffolk County Council has had three claims, of which two are ongoing.

One of those claims is from a former Suffolk pupil who claims to have developed the condition while at one of the county’s schools.

Norfolk County Council has received seven claims since 2009, for a total of just under £15,000. The council refused to reveal how many claims had been successful or how much had been paid.

Which buildings contain asbestos?

Council-owned Norfolk and Suffolk buildings which have been found to have asbestos:

-County Hall, Norwich

-Castle Museum

-Strangers’ Hall

-Wensum Lodge

-Sprowston High School

-Great Yarmouth High School

-Benjamin Britten High School, Lowestoft

-Cromer Fire Station

-Wymondham Fire Station

-Acle Fire Station

-King’s Lynn Library

-Beccles Library

-Brundall Library

-Swaffham Library

-Diss Register Office

-Thetford Register Office

But a spokesman did say it had spent more than £2m over the past five years to remove materials which contain asbestos from its buildings.

Dozens of schools, libraries, fire stations, Norwich Castle and County Hall itself, all contain such materials, the council confirmed.

Derryth Wright, health safety and wellbeing manager at Norfolk County Council, said: “The HSE states that asbestos does not pose a risk to health when it is intact and in good condition, and our programme of work reflects this position.

“All of our schools have had a survey undertaken to identify and assess the condition of asbestos containing materials (ACM).”

Norwich City Council says 2,327 properties, including council houses, are identified as having low-risk types of asbestos, such as in some types of Artex or vinyl floor tiles.

A spokesman said it was “highly unlikely to release asbestos fibres in normal use” but that there were plans for removal in 636 properties.

Are you taking legal action after developing an asbestos-related disease? Email dan.grimmer@archant.co.uk



    New figures reveal compensation for deadly diseases

    Call to ban asbestos use and import, – a reply from Chrysotile Asbestos Cement Manufacturers Association

    Call to ban asbestos use and import, – a reply from Chrysotile
    Asbestos Cement Manufacturers Association

    Anton Edema, the coordinator of Chrysotile Asbestos Cement
    Manufacturers Association of Sri Lanka in a letter referring a to the
    article “Call to Ban asbestos use and Import” (Sunday Observer Feb 1)

    “It is regrettable to note a respectable Toxicologist without facts
    or proper statistics pertain to Sri Lanka (or even India) voicing a
    non-existing problem. Asbestos is a group of natural fibrous minerals
    composed of silicates that exhibit particularly interesting
    physiochemical properties such as flexibility and resistance to
    traction, heat and chemical reactions. Because of these properties,
    asbestos is used commercially and incorporated into numerous products
    such as cement, asphalt, brake pads, etc. Asbestos fibres are divided in
    to two large mineralogical groups: amphiboles (crocidolite, amosite,
    tremolite, actiolite and anthophyllite, etc) and serpentines (which
    include only CHRYSOTILE variety). Blue and Amphiboles are banned.

    “Chrysotile asbestos fibre (composed mainly of magnesium and silica)
    is the only variety of asbestos mined and produced now and is a great
    reinforcing agent apart from having unquestionable technical
    characteristics. Chrysotile variety of asbestos carries no measurable
    risk to human health at exposure levels below 1 fibre / ml. This is
    according to numerous epidemiological studies, some of them covering
    periods of over 30 years.

    “Chrysotile Asbestos in general environment; Fine fibres, invisible
    to the eye, are present in the air and water in almost every region of
    the globe. Hence all of us may be inhaling and also ingesting them
    through drinking water every day. Some studies have shown that every
    individual breathes in between 10,000 and 15,000 asbestos fibres each
    day and drinks water containing between 200,000 to 2,000,000 fibres per
    litre. Even developed nations such as USA and Canada have NOT banned
    most of the asbestos containing materials (ACMs). USA still allows 28

    “For more than 60 years Sri Lanka has imported Chrysotile asbestos
    mainly from Canada and Russia for the use in asbestos cement roofing
    sheets. It has done so following the strict control measures concerning
    Safety in the use of chrysotile asbestos. During this time there has not
    been a single proven case of adverse health impacts in Sri Lanka which
    suggests that the risks from Chrysotile asbestos exposure are negligible
    for workforce in asbestos cement industry as well as general public.”

    Source article: 

    Call to ban asbestos use and import, – a reply from Chrysotile Asbestos Cement Manufacturers Association

    Mesothelioma in southern Nevada likely result of asbestos in environment

    Malignant mesothelioma has been found at higher than expected levels in women and in individuals younger than 55 years old in the southern Nevada counties of Clark and Nye, likewise in the same region carcinogenic mineral fibers including actinolite asbestos, erionite, winchite, magnesioriebeckite and richterite were discovered. These data, published in the Journal of Thoracic Oncology, the official journal of the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer, suggest that these elevated numbers of malignant mesothelioma cases are linked to environmental exposure of carcinogenic mineral fibers.

    Malignant mesothelioma is a fatal cancer associated with asbestos exposure that develops on the outer linings of the lungs. The 3-year survival rate is only 8% and there are limited therapeutic options. The incidence of malignant mesothelioma is higher in locations with known industrial and occupational exposure and for similar reasons the incidence is higher in men, with a male to female ratio of 4:1 to 8:1. The latency period for is 30-50 years so those diagnosed from occupational exposure are usually in their seventies whereas those diagnosed younger than 55 are rarely associated with occupational exposure. Asbestos is a commercial and regulatory term applied to six mineral fibers historically mined for industrial use. Naturally occurring asbestos is a term used to describe fibrous minerals that were not used commercially and therefore were not called asbestos and their use was and still is not regulated. Like asbestos, these naturally occurring fibers are natural components of rocks and soils and a potential source of exposure especially if these fibers become airborne through natural erosion or human activities producing dust.

    Researchers from Hawaii, Nevada, and Pennsylvania examined malignant mesothelioma mortality data from the Centers for Disease Control by gender, age group, state, and counties for the period 1999-2010. The two southern Nevada counties of Clark and Nye were grouped together and the proportion of women and those younger than 55 years old in these two southern counties were compared to those in all other Nevada counties grouped together as well as the rest of the United States.

    The male to female ratio of malignant mesothelioma in all Nevada counties excluding Clarke and Nye was 6.33:1, but in Clarke and Nye counties it was statistically lower at 2.69:1 (p=0.0468), which could not be explained by population demographics, as these were the same. The percentage of individuals younger than 55 was significantly higher in the southern Nevada counties compared to the remainder of the US counties (11.28% vs 6.21%, p=0.0249). Tremolite and actinolite, both members of the asbestos family, as well as erionite, winchite, richterite, and magnesioriebeckite are present in southern Nevada and all have been linked to cancer in humans.

    The authors acknowledge that women and children can be exposed to fibrous minerals as a result of their husband’s or father’s occupational exposure when bringing these fibers home on their clothes. However, the authors conclude “in southern Nevada there are no major asbestos industries, thus this seems an unlikely hypothesis. Instead, the presence of asbestos and other fibers in the environment of Clark and Nye Counties, where a lower M:F sex ratio and an increased proportion of malignant mesothelioma are seen in young individuals, suggests that some of these malignant mesotheliomas are caused by environmental exposure which can happen when human activities and natural processes such as wind or water release fibers in the air.”

    Michele Carbone, senior author on the study, states “further research is needed, including epidemiological, geological, mineralogical and health-based personal exposure studies in order to characterize the residential and occupational history of the malignant mesothelioma cases we studied, to highlight the highest risk areas within Clark and Nye counties, to identify the type of fibrous minerals and their precise distribution throughout Nevada, and to identify the activities responsible for the release of fibers in the air, which may be the cause of some of the malignant mesothelioma in this region.”

    Story Source:

    The above story is based on materials provided by International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

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    Mesothelioma in southern Nevada likely result of asbestos in environment

    House drops and crumbles, exposing asbestos

    WITH his house collapsing around him, Woolgoolga resident Ron Harris thought he was experiencing an earthquake.

    After making sure his 14-year-old son was safe, he fully expected to go outside and see destruction.

    But to Mr Harris’s surprise, his house was the only one affected. Heavy rain last week had drenched the ground, moving the piers and making the house drop more than a metre in seconds.

    Making things even worse, Mr Harris was told he could not enter the structure to retrieve any possessions because asbestos had been exposed.

    “It hit the deck in about five seconds flat. I heard a creak and then a rumble and the next minute it went bang to the ground,” Mr Harris said.

    “Some piers came up through the floor. I’ve got a massive big coffee table and it had completely flipped upside down and in its place I saw this bulge – it was one of the piers.”

    With the house his children grew up in gone, he will have to wait and see what can be salvaged, but he said the biggest losses were the Thumpster motorcycle his son spent a year saving for and a ride-on lawnmower he’d spent hours restoring.

    The family has spent the first week couch-surfing with friends and have had some help from North Beaches Care, but Mr Harris will have to wait for structural engineers to finish assessing the house before knowing whether he can salvage anything.

    Anyone who would like to help can email the Advocate on advocate@coffscoastadvocate.com.au.

    View this article: 

    House drops and crumbles, exposing asbestos

    Orange County school, closed because of asbestos, is back in session

    School is in session again at an Orange County school that was closed for months after asbestos was discovered.

    Oak View Elementary was one of three campuses closed when the hazardous mineral fiber was discovered during an 11-campus modernization project in July.

    The closures displaced more than 1,600 students, who were being bused to eight other campuses in four school districts at a cost of $50,000 a week.

    Most students returned to Oak View Elementary School in Huntington Beach on Tuesday. Lake View and Hope View elementary schools remain closed.

    Oak View students in grades 3 through 5 returned to their original classrooms in portable buildings. Second-graders are being taught in portable buildings that had been used for teacher meetings and after-school programs.

    First-graders will attend Sun View Elementary School and kindergartners will remain at Pleasant View School, both in Huntington Beach.

    Since Oak View was closed in October, more than 600 Oak View students, including kindergartners, have been attending classes at Village View Elementary, Oak View Preschool, Pleasant View School – all in the Ocean View district – and Walter Knott Elementary in Buena Park.

    The district is working on a timeline for asbestos cleanup at Oak View.

    According to district documents, air samples taken at Oak View in October did not contain asbestos levels above standards set in the federal Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act, which regulates how much asbestos can be present in public buildings including schools.

    At a board meeting last week, several parents of Oak View students said they were worried about their children falling behind academically while attending temporary schools.

    Twitter: @NicoleShine

    Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times

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    Orange County school, closed because of asbestos, is back in session

    Asbestos-tainted dirt leaves Dania for landfill near Coconut Creek

    DANIA BEACHThe delicate task of removing asbestos-tainted dirt from a construction staging area near the airport began Monday.

    The first truck rolled out shortly before 3 p.m., headed for Waste Management’s Monarch Hill landfill near Coconut Creek. The entire job could take up to three weeks, said Greg Meyer, spokesman for the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.

    Cherokee Enterprises Inc., the Miami Lakes company handling the job, will transport an estimated 50,000 cubic tons of dirt and other construction materials when all is said and done.

    Test results confirmed the dirt contained traces of asbestos last week, Meyer said. The toxic material can cause mesothelioma, a rare form of lung cancer linked to asbestos.

    Airport officials say the asbestos found at the staging area does not pose a health risk because it is not the kind that can become airborne. But as a precaution, the entire pile of dirt is being trucked away to a landfill, where officials say the material will be properly contained.

    Five loads of material were removed Monday and another 20 loads were hauled off as of 10 a.m. Tuesday, Meyer said.

    That’s good news to nearby homeowners.

    For months, residents in the nearby Melaleuca Gardens neighborhood have complained about all the dust stirred up by an airport contractor using the site near U.S. Highway 1 and Griffin Road as a staging area. The contractor, Tutor Perini, is expected to finish the job revamping Terminal 4 in 2018.

    Rae Sandler, president of the Melaleuca Gardens Homeowners Association, said some residents have developed a chronic cough from all the dust. Others have suffered headaches and asthma attacks, she said.

    “It’s no longer a staging area,” Sandler said. “It’s a dump. They are hauling stuff out of there and hauling it here and pulverizing it. It’s mostly dirt, piles and piles of dirt. And now we find out there’s asbestos in there.”

    Sandler said the homeowners association plans to hire a private company to test the dirt and soot that’s been landing on residents’ doorsteps and window sills.

    Dania Beach officials alerted state and federal officials on Thursday after taking a tour of the site and spotting signs warning of asbestos contamination.

    An inspector with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection showed up Friday to make sure crews were keeping the dirt wet so it would not become airborne. The entire site is fenced off and only workers wearing proper gear are allowed to enter.

    Airport officials are not yet sure how much the job will cost, Meyer said.

    Broward County Mayor Tim Ryan said the asbestos is embedded in old floor tiles buried long ago on airport property near Terminal 4. The material was recently dug up and trucked from airport grounds to the staging area, where it tested positive for asbestos, Ryan said.

    The material was tested at the county’s request because it looked different from the other material at the site, Meyer said.

    sbryan@sunsentinel.com or 954-356-4554

    Copyright © 2015, Sun Sentinel

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    Asbestos-tainted dirt leaves Dania for landfill near Coconut Creek

    Indigenous leader criticises lack of warning about asbestos contamination on bush healing farm site

    Rod Little near the government owned site reserved for an indigenous bush healing farm near Tidbinbilla.

    Rod Little near the government owned site reserved for an indigenous bush healing farm near Tidbinbilla. Photo: Rohan Thomson

    The chairman of the ACT’s elected indigenous body says he was not warned of asbestos contamination at the site of a bush healing farm his constituents have spent years fighting for.

    The Ngunnawal bush healing farm, a specialised Indigenous drug and alcohol rehabilitation centre, finally started construction two months ago, following a protracted legal battle that had stalled the project for years.

    Last week, it was publicly revealed that asbestos contamination had been discovered at the site at Miowera, a property in the Tidbinbilla Valley, something the government says is common across development sites in the ACT.

    ACT Health contacted the subcontractor and work was halted on the farm on December 2.


    Local indigenous community leaders have long pushed for such a facility, arguing it is an essential place of healing needed to help the rehabilitation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in the ACT.

    Yet Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elected Body chairman Rod Little said his organisation, which acts as a voice for indigenous people in the ACT, was not told of the asbestos problems. He said he only found out about the site’s contamination through news reports.

    But the government says that other members of the elected body were informed of the contamination issues, even if Mr Little was not.

    Health Minister Simon Corbell said the two members were told of the remediation at the site through their involvement on the advisory board for the project itself.

    Mr Little now fears the contamination will push up costs and cause further delays to the farm, which he says is needed to help stop suffering within local communities.

    “To only learn about the most recent developments in the paper, it’s concerning,” Mr Little said.

    “We’ve been established … to have a relationship with the government about matters that impact on the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community.”

    “The elected body represents the whole of the community, and this is a project which is supposed to benefit the whole of the community.”

    Mr Corbell said the discovery of such asbestos was common across development sites in the ACT.

    He said it was neither “unusual or exceptional” to find such contamination.

    “ACT Health has established mechanisms to communicate with representatives of the ACT indigenous community,” he said.

    “Regular information sharing and consultation with the indigenous community will continue as this project develops.”

    Mr Little has urged the government to commit to the same number of beds as originally planned, even if the contamination drives up the costs of the project.

    He’s also warned the government it should not delay looking at alternative sites if any rising costs make the site unviable.

    The land was purchased by the government in 2008, but has faced repeated planning objections by neighbouring landowners.

    Planning Minister Mick Gentleman used his call-in powers to override those objections in October with work beginning in November.

    The asbestos contamination at the 320-hectare site was due to remnants of two bonded asbestos sheet houses that were razed in the 2003 Canberra bushfires.

    Asbestos fencing has also been bulldozed over the years, leaving asbestos footings in the soil, while asbestos sheeting from the old Cotter Pub also remains, as does asbestos which has been dumped in a landfill gully.

    Despite the contamination, ACT Health believes the exposure risk to workers and nearby landowners is “extremely low”.

    “Its presence at the Ngunnawal Bush Healing Farm site is being managed in an appropriate way, with an asbestos management plan in place,” Mr Corbell said.

    “Remediation of bonded asbestos on site is part of the current tender package for this project.”

    Mr Little said ACT Health first contacted him on Thursday afternoon.

    He said it was important for the government to maintain communication with the indigenous elected body, which is currently in the process of negotiating a whole of government agreement.

    Read article here:

    Indigenous leader criticises lack of warning about asbestos contamination on bush healing farm site

    Prosecutor in dust-up over asbestos threat

    CROWN POINT | Like the sands of time, dust regularly falls on offices of the Lake County prosecutor, who hopes it isn’t laced with asbestos.

    “A number of our employees have been complaining about sinus problems and are very concerned,” Prosecutor Bernard Carter said Monday.

    Forty-year-old asbestos fireproofing hangs above the heads of more than 40 of his deputy prosecutors and clerical support staff along with countless visitors.

    He notes with irony the asbestos has been removed in the county jail, but not where his staff works.

    County Commissioner Gerry Scheub, D-Crown Point, said, “Unfortunately, there still is asbestos in the buildings, but as long as its not disturbed, it’s not hurting anybody.” Commissioners oversee county building maintenance.

    Nevertheless, Carter said he and his employees presented the Board of Commissioners with a petition to address the problem when they were dramatically reminded of it two months ago following a water line that burst in their office, spraying their law library and evidence closet with sewage.

    “The workmen who came in were all taped and dressed up like they were going into space. Our employees were walking around unprotected and wondering what they were being exposed to,” Carter said.

    Scheub said, “Anytime anybody complains about air quality, we take that very seriously.” He said commissioners ordered Rober Rehder, superintendent of county government buildings, to hire a firm to test the air quality. “He told commissioners they found nothing detrimental to anybody’s health.”

    Barb McConnell, one of Carter’s chief deputies, said, “Testing hasn’t been done in this office for years. We have had to tape plastic up in our victim-witness office so the stuff won’t fall on their desks. When there is movement upstairs, you can’t tell me that doesn’t disturb it.”

    It’s no better for much of the floor above Carter’s office. Public Defender David Schneider said asbestos is above the heads of his staff. Senior Lake Criminal Court Judge Salvador Vasquez said three of the four original courtrooms there still have it. “So far, no one has gotten sick. We haven’t held a discussion about it, because out of sight, out of mind.”

    Asbestos is a mineral fiber with heat-insulating and fire-resistance properties that was commercially sprayed into buildings until the mid 1970s, when it was linked to lung cancer in persons who inhaled large amounts.

    It was present in all three original buildings of the county government center when they opened four decades ago. A federal court mandate prompted county officials to remove it from the jail in the late 1980s.

    The state held the county in violation of occupational safety laws in 1990 after material was found on office floors in the courts building. Commissioners posted warnings that year forbidding employees from removing any drop-ceiling tiles except in a dire emergency.

    Commissioners spent $12 million between 1993 and 2006 removing asbestos from public and office areas, but the program was halted short of the mark because of cost overruns that occurred when money was diverted to new carpeting, lighting fixtures and other non-asbestos spending.

    There are no plans to address asbestos with any of the $12 million the county has just borrowed to address county government building maintenance, Commissioner Mike Repay, D-Hammond, said Monday, but he said commissioners need a professional assessment of where asbestos remains, so it can be dealt with in future rehabilitation projects.

    Excerpt from – 

    Prosecutor in dust-up over asbestos threat

    Mr Fluffy home owners may take newer solar panels after all, ACT government says

    Going too: The owners leaving homes contaminated by loose asbestos can take newer solar panels with them after all, the ACT government says.

    Going too: The owners leaving homes contaminated by loose asbestos can take newer solar panels with them after all, the ACT government says.

    The Asbestos Taskforce has softened its stance on solar panels, saying Mr Fluffy property owners can take newer panels with them.

    In December, the taskforce said solar panels must be left behind, because removing them could expose workers to asbestos in the roof cavity. The taskforce was also concerned that panels were difficult to remove without damage and said most were unlikely to comply with new fire standards.

    But a spokeswoman said this week if the panels had been installed after July 2013 they would comply with fire regulations and could be removed. The mountings, though, must be left behind.

    The taskforce knew of 102 homes with solar panels, she said. It is unclear how many are fire compliant and how many are signed up to the ACT government’s generous feed-in scheme. The scheme, now closed to new customers, gives them a premium feed-in tariff for power generated from their panels for 20 years.

    Benn Masters, from solar installer Solarhub, said owners should consider taking their old panels, given the cost of a new system. A new three-kilowatt system of 12 panels would cost about $3000 for the panels alone, with up to $2000 more for the inverter, plus the mount and installation costs, he said. If owners could take their existing panels and the inverter, they would have to pay only for installation and a new mount.

    He rejected the suggestion that panels would be easily damaged on removal and said removal was a reasonably simple job. An electrician would have to remove the inverter, which might involve cutting through bolts attaching it to the wall, since the government will not allow any screws, bolts or nails into walls to be removed in case asbestos fibres in wall cavities are disturbed.

    New systems would not be eligible for a rebate. “Costs will add up pretty quickly for these guys and if you can reuse what’s there, I definitely think that’s a better option for them,” Mr Masters said.

    He urged the government to make a quick decision on allowing owners to keep their feed-in tariff in their new homes.

    His company is offering to remove panels free of charge for Mr Fluffy property owners, but owners would have to pay for the reinstallation in a new home.

    Solarhub and Solarstart, now merged, had been installing panels since 2009, Mr Masters said. He was concerned about workers’ exposure to Mr Fluffy asbestos during installation, since they access roof cavities, but said every electrician and many other tradespeople in Canberra faced the same issue.


    Mr Fluffy home owners may take newer solar panels after all, ACT government says