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October 20, 2018

‘Asbestos in our schools is a local and national scandal’

‘Asbestos in our schools is a local and national scandal’

Asbestoes warning sign

Asbestoes warning sign

  • At least 570 schools in central Lancashire contain asbestos

  • The National Union of Teachers has been running a major campaign to tackle the problem

  • Preston and Lancaster have the highest number of schools known to contain asbestos

At least 570 of the county’s 617 schools contain asbestos, the bulk of them in Preston, Chorley and South Ribble, according to data released following a Freedom of Information request.

The National Union of Teachers has been running a major campaign for more than a year to try to tackle the problem in the county and today national and county health and safety officer Ian Watkinson branded the figures “a scandal on a local and national scale”.

Asbestos sign
Asbestos sign

He said: “We have been campaigning about this on both national and local level.

“It is so important. Parents don’t know, nor do teachers, and most of it is much of it is not being managed properly.”

“Children, teachers and other school workers are being needlessly exposed to deadly asbestos fibres on a daily basis.”

Information held by the county council shows the highest number of schools known to contain asbestos are in Preston and Lancaster, which each have 66.

Children, teachers and other school workers are being needlessly exposed to deadly asbestos fibres on a daily basis.

Ian Watkinson

There are 50 in Chorley, 40 in South Ribble, 52 in West Lancs and 22 in the Ribble Valley.

The county abides by national policy which means leaving asbestos in situ unless it becomes a problem.

Between September 2010 and February 2011 the county council paid out £421,322 in compensation and £63,500 in legal costs.

Latest available figures, up to November 2013, show that five other claims are still outgoing.

Ian Watkinson
Ian Watkinson

The NUT said lives are being put at risk and Ian Watkinson said the teaching unions were working together and calling for urgent action by the government.

The county said it was unable to specify how many incidents there had been involving the repair or removal of asbestos in recent years but said:

However, when asbestos is disturbed or deteriorates it becomes extremely unsafe and inhaling the dust and fibres can lead to serious illness decades later.

County Coun Matthew Tomlinson, cabinet member for children, young people and schools, said: “As in all other councils around the country, most of Lancashire’s older schools contain some asbestos.

“Where it occurs, it is inspected regularly and does not represent any threat to staff, children or young people.

“As long as it is in good condition, well-sealed and not disturbed then it is far safer to leave it well alone.

“Our qualified asbestos surveyors inspect asbestos-containing materials at least once a year and sometimes more often depending on risk.

“We deal with any concerns immediately, although between inspections we do rely on schools telling us if they have noticed anything amiss, or if they have brought in their own workmen.

“If schools are undergoing building work or renovation, then an additional survey is carried out to identify the presence of any asbestos. If necessary, removal is carried out by a specialist firm.”

Following a national campaign by teaching unions the Government last week published the findings of its review of asbestos policy in schools,calling for better training and guidance.

It was described as “a step in the right direction, but no more.”




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‘Asbestos in our schools is a local and national scandal’

Contractors disturb asbestos at Berridale Public School

Students at Berridale Public School might have been exposed to asbestos as workers cut into bonded asbestos sheeting during the first week of the new school year.

The school is on the NSW Government School Asbestos Register and the room was listed as being presumed to have asbestos present.

WorkCover NSW confirmed it visited the school, located between Cooma and Jindabyne, after parents raised concerns.

Contractors hired by the NSW Department of Education were installing airconditioning in a demountable building at the school on Wednesday last week when students returned for their first day. They drilled into the ceiling, which contained bonded asbestos.

WorkCover said that according to its investigations, the workmen only “discovered potential asbestos-containing material while drilling into the ceiling”.

In 2008, the NSW Department of Education launched a $3 million asbestos register to reduce risk of exposure to the toxic substance.

It is not known whether the workmen were aware of the asbestos before they began drilling. But WorkCover said they stopped work immediately and attempted to restrict the entry of children to the site. The demountable building is used as a lunch room when it is raining and students were inside that day, because it was raining.

WorkCover said the students were moved to another building and access to the demountable building was cut off. Asbestos warning stickers and barriers were then erected.

One parent, who did not wish to be named, said she assumed work was only halted because WorkCover had been notified.

She said it was not good enough that children had been in and around the area while fibres had potentially been released into the atmosphere. She also questioned why the work was not completed during the holidays.

“What I don’t understand is how work began on this site when it is listed on a public registry as having presumed asbestos.”

A spokesman for WorkCover NSW said a licensed asbestos removalist undertook testing on the building and the asbestos was removed. A clearance certificate had been issued by an occupational hygienist.

“WorkCover is satisfied that the school and contractor have acted in accordance with work health and safety laws.”

A spokesman for the NSW Department of Education said “the work to install airconditioning in the school’s two demountable classrooms was carried out in accordance with the department’s Asbestos Management Plan and WorkCover NSW requirements”.

“The department has received a clearance certificate for the subject area. WorkCover has inspected the site and will provide a written report to the school when it is ready. The school principal is keeping parents informed about the situation.”

Meanwhile, work to remediate asbestos contamination at Copper Tom Point on Lake Jindabyne has been delayed by wet weather.

Work was due to be completed by the end of February, and members of the public have been asked to avoid the area until the remediation works are complete.

Continue reading here: 

Contractors disturb asbestos at Berridale Public School

Asbestos Work At Enfield High Confuses Parents, Who Say They Weren't Notified

ENFIELD – Parents of students at Enfield High School were confused Monday when they heard that portions of the school would be blocked off so construction crews could begin scheduled asbestos removal.

According to Superintendent Jeffrey Schumann, a letter from his office was distributed to parents of Enfield High students and school staff on Dec. 23, outlining construction work related to asbestos removal that would begin on Jan. 2, as part of the ongoing renovation at the high school.

Some parents took to Facebook, asking Mayor Scott Kaupin why they weren’t notified.

Ken Kaufman, who has a daughter at Enfield High School, said he found out about the asbestos work when his daughter’s boyfriend, who is on the wrestling team, told her they moved their practice and that the school was boarded up.

“I haven’t heard anything about the asbestos cleanup to this day,” Kaufman said Wednesday. “We get these robo-calls for the upcoming school play or something to that effect, but something as serious as this, they still haven’t told anyone about it or haven’t had the time to put something together for parents.”

Another Enfield High School parent, Lindsay Caouette, said she wasn’t notified either.

“At this point, there has still been no communication home regarding the work being done with our children in the school, which is concerning to me,” Caouette said.

Three locations, according to the letter, will be blocked off for asbestos abatement: the cafeteria, girls locker room and lower-level kitchen and mechanical spaces.

Parents were further confused when they received communication that the asbestos removal was due to a burst pipe in the “A” wing of the school.

Schumann said that a pipe did leak on the third floor of the “A” wing and caused flooding on the first, second and third floors. When the tiles on those floors began to dry, he said, crews noticed that the tiles — vinyl asbestos tiles — started to lift off the floor. If they cracked, Schumann said, “that could have been a dangerous situation.”

Schumann said the crews that were already at the school to remove the asbestos in the three previously scheduled areas worked on the worked on the areas affected by the flooding instead.

Schumann said a hard copy of the letter was distributed to students on Dec. 23, and teachers and staff were notified.

Due to the ongoing work, an updated letter will go home with students Thursday, Schumann said. The dates of the work have altered due to the burst pipe, Schumann said. The updated letter will also be posted on the school website, he said, and parents were to receive a phone call Wednesday night.

Copyright © 2015, Hartford Courant

Excerpt from: 

Asbestos Work At Enfield High Confuses Parents, Who Say They Weren't Notified

Compensation claims for asbestos in Lancashire hit £687k

Lancashire County Council has paid out almost £700,000 to people with conditions linked to asbestos in the past four years.

County Hall shelled out £672,094 in compensation and costs to victims in the past five years – and the authority has six ongoing claims. besides

Preston City Council also paid out £14,246.59, statistics revealed to the Evening Post.

Figures obtained under Freedom of Information requests reveal 17 people have contacted Lancashire County Council regarding asbestos claims since 2010.

Of those there were three pay outs, five cases where there was no payout and six ongoing claims – with one of those receiving a £50,000 interim damages payment.

The compensation claims came from victims who breathed in asbestos fibres.

It can cause mesothelioma, a rare form of cancer, which attacks the lining of organs and is fatal.

All but one of the claimants were employed by the county council and all the claims related to time frames from the 1950s and onwards.

Twelve of the cases related to mesothelioma, one to asbestos -related cancer, one to asbestosis and one is listed as industrial disease.

Their jobs at the council included roadsman, plasterer, cook, heating engineer, a factory worker and teachers.

Meanwhile of the two cases Preston Council dealt with they only paid out compensation in one of them.

The authority was unable to provide information on where in the council the two claimants had worked.

The claimants had mesothelioma and asbestosis.

Campaigners believe payments are likely to soar over the coming decade as more people fall ill and die after being exposed to the material, often decades ago.

Geraldine Coombs, a partner and expert asbestos-related disease lawyer at Irwin Mitchell, said: “Asbestos exposure is often regarded as something that only impacts those working within heavy industry, but the presence of the material in so many public buildings such as schools and hospitals, means that more and more people who are not working in traditional construction trades are being affected through no fault of their own.

“We have repeatedly called for a dedicated programme to identify any public buildings around the UK that contain asbestos and continue to pose a danger to those working in them, as well as calling for a schedule to systematically remove asbestos from these premises on a priority basis depending on the state of disrepair in each situation.

Given the vulnerability of children to the potential dangers of asbestos – we would suggest schools are given the highest priority in any action that may be taken.”

Bev Cullen, assistant county solicitor for Lancashire County Council, said: “Each claim is considered on its own facts and will be investigated in accordance with the county council’s insurance arrangements.

“Claims payments are made either from the council’s own reserves set aside for this purpose, our insurers, or a combination of the two. It depends on the date of the exposure, and the insurance arrangements that the county council had in place at the time.

“Claims will be investigated when they’re received. Generally the exposure date goes back many decades, so it is difficult to assess future numbers.”

No-one from Preston Council was available for comment. South Ribble, Chorley, West Lancashire, Fylde and Lancaster councils said they had received no claims for compensation.

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Compensation claims for asbestos in Lancashire hit £687k

Asbestos scare puts tiny O.C. school district on financial brink

A small Orange County school district that was forced for close campuses and bus students elsewhere in the wake of an asbestos scare is now reeling under a multimillion-dollar budget shortfall.

“You went from being a stable district to a district that’s facing insolvency,” Wendy Benkert, assistant superintendent for business services at the Orange County Department of Education, told trustees for Ocean View School District.

Benkert said the district has run through $2.9 million of $4.3 million in general fund emergency reserves and faces an additional $9.2 million in costs related to asbestos removal and a modernization project at 11 schools.

Should the Huntington Beach school district fail to close its $7.8-million shortfall, it might need emergency funding or could be taken over by the state, Benkert warned.

“But I believe with prudent decisions you can turn this around,” she said.

Asbestos was detected in some classrooms during the modernization project that began in July. The cleanup has closed three schools and left many parents furious as they have watched their children — more than 1,600 in all — be temporarily bused to classes at eight schools in four districts.

As the crisis has unfolded, district officials have remained in close contact with the Orange County Department of Education, which has oversight responsibility.

Benkert proposed several options for school board members, such as scaling down or delaying some construction work or selling an unused school site. Such a sale, however, probably wouldn’t happen quickly enough to shore up the district’s deficit, she said. Also, legal requirements would force the district to offer any open space on an unused site to the city first for a below-market rate.

Nicole Knight Shine writes for Times Community News.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times

Read more: 

Asbestos scare puts tiny O.C. school district on financial brink

Asbestos in classrooms disrupts parents' plans for their children

Huntington Beach parent Lily Coffin thought her young son would complete his education in the Ocean View School District.

Ethan, a second-grader, was happy learning alongside his friends at Hope View Elementary School, and Coffin was active in the Parent Teacher Organization.

But last week, Coffiin and other Ocean View parents learned that their children could have been exposed to potentially carcinogenic asbestos in their classrooms while the district worked to modernize several school sites.

“There’s no way I can trust my son is going to be safe there anymore,” she said of her decision to move Ethan to Seacliff Elementary in the neighboring Huntington Beach City School District.

Over the last several days, about 100 families have flooded the offices of Seacliff and Agnes L. Smith elementary schools to request an interdistrict transfer, Seacliff Principal Monique Huibregtse said Friday.

Hope View and two other Ocean View elementary schools — Lake View and Oak View — were closed last week while being tested for asbestos.

Ocean View officials announced that 300 students from Lake View Elementary will temporarily attend classes at the district’s Westmont and Harbour View schools while the district works to remove asbestos that is present above ceiling tiles at the school. The process could take up to 10 weeks, officials said.

Supt. Gustavo Balderas said Friday that Hope View and Oak View also will remain closed until further notice.

“Recently we received information from our consultants and experts that it is not in the best interest of students and staff to reopen these three schools until we obtain additional information,” Balderas said.

In the meantime, he said, the officials are working to identify schools inside and outside the Ocean View district to take the nearly 1,300 displaced students from Hope View and Oak View.

Test results at Lake View showed asbestos in two classrooms.

“It was a trace amount … and we are taking the necessary steps to get that situation under control,” according to a district statement Thursday night.

At Hope View, a sample taken in one classroom contained a single asbestos fiber collected under a tile that appeared to have been drilled into to run television wires, said Cary Ruben, a certified industrial hygienist.

Test results from Oak View were inconclusive, officials said.

The district said it will test for asbestos during the next several weeks at all 11 schools, where construction recently took place as part of the modernization effort.

The cost of the tests is about $700,000, said Assistant Supt. Roni Ellis.

Construction has been suspended at every school until the summer. The district, along with Cal/OSHA, is investigating whether contractors continued to remove asbestos while students were in classrooms, which would violate state law.

Ocean View officials could not provide an estimate Friday afternoon of the number of families who have applied for transfers.

Large numbers of students leaving Ocean View could mean financial trouble for the district. Like many school districts, Ocean View receives funding from the state based on student attendance.

The district is losing at least $68,000 a day in state funding because students can’t attend classes.

That’s just the beginning of financial worries for the district. Factoring in legal costs, changes to transportation and asbestos testing and abatement, the district could spend millions out of its general fund, Ellis said.

The district could end up asking the state to help with costs, officials said.

Asbestos is a mineral fiber that until the 1970s was widely used in building products and insulation materials. Fibers can be released into the air during demolition work, repairs and remodeling, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

When Lake View, Oak View and Hope View schools were built decades ago, asbestos was used as fireproofing on metal beams above the ceiling. Over time, the dust began to fall from the beams and settle on top of classroom ceiling tiles, district records show.

Though contact with asbestos that hasn’t been disturbed isn’t harmful, it becomes a hazard when the dust becomes airborne, said Steven Viani, a registered civil engineer and engineering contractor with experience in asbestos and other hazardous materials.

Inhaling high levels of the dust can increase the risk of lung disease that isn’t detected until years later, including a type of cancer called mesothelioma, experts say.

Teachers have expressed concern that they weren’t notified about the asbestos above the tiles and said the district should have placed signs restricting access to limit the risk of the dust becoming airborne.

hannah.fry@latimes.com

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times

Source: 

Asbestos in classrooms disrupts parents' plans for their children

Asbestos scare: 1,300 O.C. students now without a school

A beleaguered Huntington Beach school district has now closed three of its campuses because of an asbestos scare, leaving 1,300 students without a school to attend.

The three grade schools have been closed since last Monday when parents learned that their children could have been exposed to potentially carcinogenic asbestos while the Ocean View School District worked to modernize school sites.

Since then, hundreds of parents have been uncertain when and where their children would return to the classroom.

The school district is losing about $63,000 a day in state funds because students cannot attend class.

About 100 families have requested that their children be transferred to schools in other districts.

“There’s no way I can trust my son is going to be safe there anymore,” said parent Lily Coffin, who said she hoped to move her son to the neighboring Huntington Beach City School District.

District trustees voted during a special meeting last week to close Lake View, Hope View and Oak View elementary schools for the week, while classrooms were cleaned and tested to make sure they were free of potentially carcinogenic asbestos dust. Lake View was later closed indefinitely, and now the district has decided to keep the other two schools closed indefinitely as well.

“Recently, we received information from our consultants and experts that it is not in the best interest of students and staff to reopen these three schools until we obtain additional information,” said Gustavo Balderas, Ocean View’s superintendent.

While the district has determined it can move students from Lake View to other campuses in the district, it’s unclear what will happen with the 1,300 students from the other campuses.

Ocean View officials have said they were aware that asbestos has been in their schools for decades. However, parents became upset when they learned the district may have been removing the material as part of a large-scale modernization project while students were present.

Ongoing testing revealed there was asbestos in two classrooms at Lake View, while a single asbestos fiber was found in a classroom at Hope View. Test results from Oak View were inconclusive, officials said.

The district said it will test for asbestos during the next several weeks at all 11 schools in the district. The cost of the tests is about $700,000, said Assistant Supt. Roni Ellis.

Construction has been suspended at every school until the summer and the district, along with Cal/OSHA, is investigating whether contractors continued to remove asbestos while students were in classrooms, which would violate state law.

Ocean View officials could not yet provide an estimate of the number of families who have applied for transfers.

The loss of state funds and the cost of asbestos removal could leave the district in financial trouble. Officials said they may end up asking the state to help with costs.

Asbestos is a mineral fiber that until the 1970s was widely used in building products and insulation materials. The fibers can be released into the air during demolition work, repairs and remodeling, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

When Lake View, Oak View and Hope View schools were built decades ago, asbestos was used as fireproofing on metal beams above the ceiling. Over time, the dust began to fall from the beams and settle on top of classroom ceiling tiles, district records show.

Though coming into contact with asbestos that hasn’t been disturbed isn’t harmful, it becomes a hazard when the dust becomes airborne, said Steven Viani, a registered civil engineer and engineering contractor with experience in asbestos and other hazardous materials.

Inhaling high levels of the dust can increase the risk of lung disease that isn’t detected until years later, including a type of cancer called mesothelioma, experts say.

Teachers have expressed concern that they weren’t notified about the asbestos above the tiles and said the district should have placed signs restricting access to limit the risk of the dust becoming airborne.

hannah.fry@latimes.com
Twitter: @HannahFryTCN

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times

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Asbestos scare: 1,300 O.C. students now without a school

Asbestos risk: Pupils to study at neighbouring school

Bayfield School, Herne Bay. Photo / Jason Dorday.
Bayfield School, Herne Bay. Photo / Jason Dorday.

Pupils from an asbestos-contaminated Auckland primary school will be taught at a neighbouring school until the all-clear is given.

Bayfield School in Herne Bay will merge with Ponsonby Primary School for a week while a classroom block with asbestos in its cladding is completely removed from the decile 10 school.

Bayfield Board of Trustees’ chairman David McPherson said the roll of about 350 Bayfield pupils won’t have to squeeze into Ponsonby Primary classrooms.

“We’re not merging classes. Ponsonby has available spaces for our kids – its hall and a number of rooms. There has been talk about combining sports events – that’s part of what would be happening normally.”

The Ministry of Education said schools had freedom to determine arrangements for themselves. A media representative said she was unaware of restrictions about the number of pupils or teachers allowed in a single room.

All of Bayfield will remain closed until a concrete slab can be removed from an old building. “It makes sense to complete the entirety of the demolition,” Mr McPherson said.

His own son will go from Bayfield to Ponsonby Primary this week. “He’s excited about the chance of a new experience, spending a week at a different school,” Mr McPherson said. “Children are resilient and they’ll enjoy it.”

The parent who raised the alarm over asbestos said the coming week would not be without anxiety.

Brett Archer said he organised testing when he noticed asbestos dust coming from cladding on a six-classroom block being demolished at Bayfield School. He said his children wanted to know whether the other kids would be at Ponsonby and where their class would be.

“There’s anxiety – but kids will be kids, they’ll cope well. It’ll be quite a novelty.”

Mr Archer first raised concerns on May 2 in response to an email about the demolition, but said it took until May 7 for independently verified asbestos test results, which he organised, to come back. Mr Archer also inspected the paperwork of the demolition workers himself.

“Everyone was shellshocked, they hadn’t quite realised 1) what the hell was going on and 2) the disjoint between what was happening on site and the paperwork.”

Ministry of Education Head of Education Infrastructure Service, Kim Shannon, told media on Thursday that testing that day found no sign of any asbestos contamination outside the immediate work site area, although further testing would be done.

Mr Archer, who deals with asbestos contamination on a daily basis, said his children’s health and safety was his key concern.

“The MOE has jumped in ferociously. I’m taking comfort that Worksafe and the Board and Ministry of Health are involved. But it took six days for me to get to the point of getting the school closed.

“It’s an absolute disaster any way you look at it; the impact on learning. It’s huge,” Mr Archer said.

Mr McPherson, a lawyer at Bell Gully, continued meeting with Bayfield’s principal and the board this afternoon.

APNZ

This article: 

Asbestos risk: Pupils to study at neighbouring school

A week to move toxic asbestos

Mum asks why it took councils so long to get rid of material dumped near beach

A MOTHER-OF-FOUR is asking council bosses why it took so long to deal with asbestos dumped near a Hampshire beach.

Despite frantic calls to the authorities after she spotted the debris close to the beach at Hamble, Debbie Gordon. 40, saw nothing being done to remove it.

It was removed about a week later.

The Hamble resident said that she felt the issue had not been treated seriously when she alerted Eastleigh Borough Council, though it has since revealed it is not responsible for the land in question as it is owned by Hamble Parish Council.

It said it had passed Mrs Gordon’s concerns on.

Mrs Gordon first noticed what she believed to be asbestos when walking with her husband at Westfield Common, just up from the beach at Hamble, next to the public walkway, on Wednesday, January 22, though her children saw it two days before.

Mrs Gordon said it was broken and there was dust, which made her more concerned.

She rang the out-of-hours service for Eastleigh Borough Council that evening but Mrs Gordon claims the operator made light of the situation.

She said she had, however, been told that the council would send someone out in the morning when they had protective clothing.

She rang other authorities, including the police, for help and advice, but this had no effect.

Mrs Gordon then found another larger patch of four or five sheets next to the car park.

When fibres from asbestos are inhaled they can cause serious diseases, which may affect people later on in life.

Mrs Gordon said that the asbestos was near public walkways and in areas where children play and teenagers hang around and she was concerned about the long-term effects.

“They’re prepared to let my children, teenagers and the public walk past it,” she said.

An Eastleigh Borough Council spokesperson said it had received a call about the material, which was on land owned by Hamble Parish Council.

He said: “The call was logged and an email sent on Thursday morning informing them of the issue.”

Environmental Health officers from the council did go down independently last Friday and confirmed it was asbestos cement sheeting and of minimal risk.

A Hamble Parish Council spokesman said Eastleigh Borough Council had arranged on their behalf for a fully trained and licensed asbestos contractor to remove the dumped materials from Westfield Common and dispose of them properly.

He said: “Fly-tipping is a distressing but everyday fact of life for local authorities such as ourselves.

“We deal with over 40 incidents each year at Westfield Common alone.

“The entire cost of the clean-up in this instance will be borne by Hamble-le-Rice Parish Council and therefore the Hamble-le-Rice council taxpayer will ultimately be out of pocket over this issue.”

A spokesman for Hampshire police confirmed they had received a call about possible asbestos.

“Full details were taken and passed to the council to deal with as this was assessed not to be a police matter and there were no immediate health and safety concerns,” he said.

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A week to move toxic asbestos

Asbestos concerns at Kimberley community

Children in a third Kimberley Aboriginal community are using an abandoned building believed to contain potentially deadly asbestos as a playground, the State Opposition has claimed.

Labor MLC Stephen Dawson last week stepped up his calls for the State Government to establish a register of asbestos buildings in Aboriginal communities in the wake of the latest revelations about the small community of Wangkatjungka, about 130km from Fitzroy Crossing.

In July, The Kimberley Echo revealed dilapidated asbestos buildings in two Kimberley communities had remained unfenced and without signage for years, with children at times playing in them.

“A couple months ago we raised the issues of asbestos in Bayulu and Beagle Bay communities, and from that a range of communities have started to contact me with similar concerns,” Mr Dawson said.

“In respect to Wangkatjungka, I had someone in the community check out this building for me and (they) were sure there was asbestos in this derelict building that needed to be removed.”

Mr Dawson said the community had recently hosted a sporting carnival and he believed the building was also used as temporary accommodation.

“It needs to be boarded up immediately… I’ve called on the Government to do a bit of an audit in these communities to establish where the asbestos is so it can be removed,” he said.

“I haven’t received any action on it and I do have a real fear that in 20 or 30 years’ time we will have a cohort of Aboriginal people who are all suffering mesothelioma or asbestos-related diseases.”

“That’s essentially what happened when there was asbestos mined in places like Wittenoom 30 or 40 years ago.”

Aboriginal Affairs Minister Peter Collier said because the land at Wangkatjungka was leased, the buildings were the responsibility of the community.

However, the Department of Aboriginal Affairs was working with the community to find a solution.

He said asbestos was in the past a commonly used building material and it was likely a number of buildings across the State, including those in Aboriginal communities, contained asbestos.

“Concerns primarily arise when the material is disturbed,” he said.

“When asbestos is identified as potentially dangerous we work quickly to ensure community safety.

“In addition, the Aboriginal Lands Trust, through DAA, is working with key State and commonwealth agencies to develop a risk management framework, aligned to government policy directions.”

Link:  

Asbestos concerns at Kimberley community