January 23, 2019

Garlock Asbestos Settlement Tied to Quality of Opposing Lawyers, 'High Risk' Facts, Venue

DALLAS, March 6, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — Recently released documents in the Garlock Sealing Technologies’ bankruptcy show that the company decided to settle asbestos claims filed by attorneys from Simon Greenstone Panatier Bartlett, PC, partly because the Texas-based law firm has some of “the best trial lawyers in the country” and the risk of taking the cases to trial was too high.

In a series of internal “major expense project approvals” released March 4, Garlock’s own advisers provided the justification for settling hundreds of asbestos exposure lawsuits. The documents devote multiple pages to cases handled by Simon Greenstone’s predecessor firm, Simon, Eddins & Greenstone.

One document recommended that Garlock approve a $3.1 million settlement involving 19 of the firm’s lawsuits that were awaiting trial in Los Angeles in 2008. The settlement came to roughly $163,157 per case.

“The deal, although rich, is favorable and advisable,” the document states. “First, the per case average is down from what we have recently paid on mesothelioma claims handled by Simon, Eddins & Greenstone in not only California, but in other jurisdictions as well. In the recent past, we have paid Simons (sic), Eddins & Greenstone $300,000 and above on various mesothelioma claims.

“Second, the deal provides certainty relative to very high risk cases, in an extremely bad jurisdiction, being handled by some if (sic) the best trial lawyers in the country,” the document states.

The Garlock communications also reference “high risk” facts and concerns about trial venue.

Garlock sued Simon Greenstone in 2014, claiming the company had been duped into settling certain lawsuits brought by mesothelioma victims fatally injured by asbestos products. The recently released documents provide further justification of Simon Greenstone’s assertion that Garlock settled with Simon Greenstone’s clients because it was a good business decision, according to attorney Michael W. Magner, who represents the firm in that suit.

“Garlock is simply trying to reduce the amount of money it must pay to those harmed by its products,” Mr. Magner says. “As anybody can tell from reading the major expense project approvals, it is clear that Garlock based its decision to settle on the facts of the case, the venue and the quality of the legal representation.

“We have said all along that unsealing the record would prove that Garlock’s suit is nonsense, and these documents are the smoking gun,” Mr. Magner says. “Garlock’s attempts to reduce what the company owes its victims are nothing but revisionist history and an attempt to discourage victims of asbestos products from seeking just compensation. Garlock made a considered decision to do what most civil litigants do: settle. If the company isn’t happy with how those cases turned out, it has no one to blame but its own officers, attorneys and consultants.”

For more information or to obtain electronic versions of the major expense approval reports, contact Amy Hunt at 800-559-4534 or amy@androvett.com.

To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/garlock-asbestos-settlement-tied-to-quality-of-opposing-lawyers-high-risk-facts-venue-300046630.html

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Garlock Asbestos Settlement Tied to Quality of Opposing Lawyers, 'High Risk' Facts, Venue

Tough new ACT goverment rules for asbestos removers and assessors start to come into play

ACT Work Safety Commissioner Mark McCabe.

ACT Work Safety Commissioner Mark McCabe. Photo: Karleen Minney

The ACT government’s new rules for builders and asbestos handlers began to be introduced on Thursday, making formal training mandatory for those taking part on the territory’s mammoth battle with asbestos.

After a year of controversy over the handling of loose asbestos fibres in the capital’s 1021 Mr Fluffy homes, the new rules were endorsed in industry codes on Thursday after they were first announced in November.

The key changes close up more loopholes in the ACT laws, allowing unlicensed people to handle asbestos.

“In the other states and territories [in some specific cases] it can be dealt with by a ‘competent person’ and we have removed that and in our case it must be done by a licensed assessor,” Work Safety Commissioner Mark McCabe said.


Another of these loopholes is one that allowed builders to remove up to 10-square-metres of bonded asbestos from homes from the start of 2015.

The old rules were designed so builders could deal with small jobs such as removing asbestos wallboard for bathroom renovations.

The removal of bonded asbestos will now have to be done by a licensed asbestos removalist.

The changes also lift the qualifications and training required to assess and remove asbestos.

Applicants for licences will have additional requirements to apply for and keep licences.

Mr McCabe said the introduction would improve worker protections. “I would call it Work Health and Safety regulations plus, we’ve taken the ones from around the country and strengthened them in some key areas largely because of our experiences with Mr Fluffy,” Mr McCabe said.

This also means that from January 1, the ACT was brought into line with other states and territories, making it easier for outside workers and companies to work in the ACT.

This is because the rules move asbestos handling to the Work Health and Safety Act which Mr McCabe said has now been harmonised around the country.

“So it brings our regulations and our code of practise in line, and it makes it easier for us to regulator assessors and removalists who come in from interstate,” he said.

Minister for Workplace Safety and Industrial Relations Mick Gentleman is expected to endorse the two improved codes on Friday.

He said the codes would “provide practical advice” to industry on meeting higher asbestos standards.

“The new safety laws focus on equipping industry professionals, regulators and the community with the information, education and oversight needed to prevent people being exposed to asbestos,” Mr Gentleman said.

The crackdown on handling of asbestos in homes will come into play at various points from January 1.

Back in October Employment Minister Eric Abetz announced that the Commonwealth would lend the ACT government government $1 billion to to buy back and demolish the homes containing Mr Fluffy asbestos.

Two hundred homes are set to be demolished a year for the next five years from January 2015, and soft furnishings in houses will also have to be destroyed.

See the original article here – 

Tough new ACT goverment rules for asbestos removers and assessors start to come into play

Forgotten asbestos mine sickens Indian villagers

RORO VILLAGE, India (AP) — Asbestos waste spills in a gray gash down the flank of a lush green hill above tribal villages that are home to thousands in eastern India. Three decades after the mines were abandoned, nothing has been done to remove the enormous, hazardous piles of broken rocks and powdery dust left behind.

In Roro Village and nearby settlements, people who never worked in the mines are dying of lung disease. Yet in a country that treats asbestos as a savior that provides cheap building materials for the poor, no one knows the true number and few care to ask.

“I feel weak, drained all the time,” Baleman Sundi gasped, pushing the words out before she lost her breath. “But I must work.” The 65-year-old paused, inhaled. “I don’t have a choice.” Another gasp. “I have to eat.”

Sundi and 17 others from a clutch of impoverished villages near the abandoned hilltop mines were diagnosed in 2012 with asbestosis, a fatal lung disease. One has since died. Tens of thousands more, some of them former mine workers, remain untested and at risk. Asbestos makes up as much as 14.3 percent of the soil around Roro Village, analysis of samples gathered by The Associated Press showed.

Few have done anything to help people such as Sundi. The villagers have no money for doctors or medical treatment, and cannot afford to move.

Neither the government nor the Indian company that ran the mines from 1963 to 1983 has made any move to clean up the estimated 700,000 tons of asbestos tailings left scattered across several kilometers (miles) of hilly mining area.

The mine’s operator, Hyderabad Asbestos Cement Products Ltd., nowadays known as HIL Ltd., says it has done nothing illegal.

“The company had followed all rules and procedures for closure of a mine and had complied with the provisions of the law, as in force in 1983,” it said in a statement released to the AP.

Sundi and the others are suing in the country’s environmental court for cleanup, compensation and a fund for future victims of asbestos-related disease. If they win, the case would set precedents for workplace safety and corporate liability, subjects often ignored or dismissed in developing India.

“There will be justice only if we win,” Sundi rasped. “Whoever did this must pay.”

India placed a moratorium on asbestos mining in 1986, acknowledging that the fibrous mineral was hazardous to the miners.

But that was the government’s last decision curtailing the spread of asbestos. It has since embraced the mineral as a cheap building material. Today India is the world’s fastest-growing market for asbestos.

In the last five years, India’s asbestos imports shot up 300 percent. The government helps the $2 billion asbestos manufacturing industry with low tariffs on imports. It has also blocked asbestos from being listed as a hazardous substance under the international Rotterdam Convention governing how dangerous chemicals are handled.

The country keeps no statistics on how many people have been sickened or died from exposure to the mineral, which industry and many government officials insist is safe when mixed with cement.

Western scientists strongly disagree.

The World Health Organization and more than 50 countries, including the United States and all of Europe, say it should be banned in all forms. Asbestos fibers lodge in the lungs and cause many diseases. The International Labor Organization estimates 100,000 people die every year from workplace exposure, and experts believe thousands more die from exposure elsewhere.

“My greatest concern is what will happen in India. It’s a slow-moving disaster, and this is only the beginning,” said Philip Landrigan, a New York epidemiologist who heads the Rome-based Collegium Ramazzini, which pioneered the field of occupational health worldwide.

“The epidemic will go largely unrecognized,” he said. Eventually, “it’s going to end up costing India billions of dollars.”

From the top of Roro Hill, a small boy leaped out to slide down the cascade of fluffy grey dust. A few villagers followed, nudging a herd of cows and goats. Huge clouds billowed in their wake.

The villagers often ignore the warnings from visiting doctors and activists to stay away from the waste. Many don’t believe the asbestos, which looks like regular rocks and dirt, could be dangerous. Others are more fatalistic, noting they hardly have a choice.

“What can we do? This is our land,” said 56-year-old Jema Sundi, diagnosed with asbestosis though she never went into the mines. “We tell the children, don’t go there. But they are children, you cannot control them.”

She then noticed her 4-year-old nephew Vijay, his tiny body covered with chalky white streaks, shrinking into himself as if trying to disappear. “You went up there today again?” she exclaimed.

Vijay, lowering his head, attempted a half-smile.

When Hyderabad Asbestos first began mining in Jharkhand in 1963, India was in its second decade of independence and attempting to industrialize. Most services and industries were nationalized, but some heavy industries and mining were opened to private companies, many of which operated opaquely.

Hydrabad Asbestos employed about 1,500 people in the asbestos mines. Most were tribal villagers eager to participate in the country’s development. But for them that development never arrived.

Kalyan Bansingh, lead plaintiff in the court case, worked more than a decade building scaffolding inside newly blasted mining caverns. Like many laborers across India, he took to chewing an unrefined sugar product called jaggery in the misguided belief that airborne fibers would adhere to the sticky bolus and stay out of his lungs.

Sometimes the company provided the jaggery along with his $2 weekly salary, but it never offered him protective masks or clothing, he said.

Bansingh regrets the job, even if it was the only paid work he ever had. “I can’t run or walk long distances. I am breathless with just a few steps,” the muscular 70-year-old said.

HIL said it followed strict health and safety policies, and that “no health or environmental damage was reported during the mine operations.” The company did not address whether it had ever sent anyone to check on the villagers’ health since the mines closed. Villagers told AP they were never been invited for a company-sponsored checkup after 1983.

The fact that Bansingh and the other plaintiffs ever had the opportunity for a diagnosis was extremely rare. Like most people in villages at the foot of Roro Hill, they cannot read or write. They live in makeshift homes of hard-packed mud, thatched roofs and tidily swept dirt floors.

“The idea that the environment, something that has always provided and been taken for granted, could be causing them harm is a notion that just doesn’t occur to them,” said T.K. Joshi, a doctor who heads India’s only university department specializing in occupational health. “And unfortunately, most Indian doctors are not trained to ask the right questions.”

Because X-rays and detailed patient interviews are rare in rural India, experts say most Indians who suffer or have died from an asbestos-related disease were likely misdiagnosed with tuberculosis, food poisoning or other illnesses common across India.

Now India’s largest asbestos-manufacturing company, HIL had revenue of about $160 million for 2013-14, while spending about $72 million on imports of asbestos from countries such as Russia, Kazakhstan and Brazil. It plans to scale back manufacturing asbestos-cement products, but the decision was not made for environmental or health concerns.

According to its annual report, the company is diversifying because the “closure of certain mines across the world has resulted in increased dependency on limited sources.”

Shutting down asbestos mines is a dirty and costly business. There is also the danger of releasing more fibers into the air just by disturbing waste or breaking down old materials. Hundreds of millions have been spent in the United States alone cleaning old asbestos mines in states including California and Montana.

The samples collected by AP and tested by California-based laboratory EMSL Analytical Inc. showed the soil around Roro Village was between 4.1 and 14.3 percent asbestos.

“It’s heartbreaking. Kids are playing on it. People are stirring it up. You don’t have to inhale much to put a cap on your life,” said Richard Fuller, CEO of the Blacksmith Institute, a New York-based watchdog that estimates 50,000 people could be at risk.

Other, smaller asbestos mines in states including Orissa, Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh have also been left in a state of neglect similar to Roro’s, mining activists say.

Activists, medical workers and lawyers have described an almost Kafkaesque effort to hold the government and company accountable over the past decade, with both declaring the mine closed and subject settled long ago.

At the time the mines were open, Jharkhand state didn’t even exist. The land was part of a wider Bihar state, with its capital and official paperwork held in a different city. Neither state has been able to produce the 30-year-old documents pertaining to the mine’s closure.

“As far as environmental issues are concerned, we have already dealt with it,” Jharkhand state’s Mining Secretary Arun, who uses only one name, told AP.

In 2012, an activist group selected 150 Roro-area villagers for chest X-rays. The X-ray plates were examined by Dr. V. Murlidhar, an occupational health specialist, who confirmed 18 had the tell-tale honeycomb pattern of opaqueness that denotes asbestosis.

The results were neither surprising nor unique, he said. “More cases are likely” because asbestosis usually develops over decades of exposure, he said.

Across all of India, only 30 people have ever received marginal compensation — through out-of-court settlements — for asbestos-related disease out of hundreds of thousands of workers who have handled asbestos since the 1960s or lived near mines or manufacturing plants.

Lawyer Krishnendu Mukherjee, who is spearheading the case, has high hopes for a judgment that awards the plaintiffs and future claimants with generous compensation.

A strong verdict, he said, “sends a very strong message out to companies like HIL Ltd. that it’s not permissible to simply leave a mine, a factory, whatever it is, in a state of abandonment without looking at the repercussions on the local population or on the workers.”


Follow Katy Daigle on Twitter at http://twitter.com/katydaigle


Forgotten asbestos mine sickens Indian villagers

Asbestos safety advice on offer

Asbestos safety advice on offer

Asbestos waste experts wearing protective clothing start work after receiving material from a school

Asbestos waste experts wearing protective clothing start work after receiving material from a school

First published

Lancashire Telegraph: Photograph of the Author

by , Crime reporter

TEACHERS are to be given advice on how they can keep themselves and their pupils safe from asbestos in schools.

Safety-related subjects in and out of the classroom are to be discussed at a conference held by the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health in Burnley tomorrow (Nov 19).

The event, called Embracing Risk in Education – a Fresh Approach, has been organised jointly by IOSH’s education and fire risk management groups to inform those who work in schools about how they can keep safe.

They will hear about the best measures of managing asbestos in schools. These measures include having regular surveys and encapsulating or sealing the asbestos.

The latest figures, revealed in 2009, showed that 55 out of 73 schools in Blackburn and Darwen contained asbestos.

In Burnley, Pendle, Rossendale, Hyndburn and the Ribble Valley, 213 schools had the potentially deadly material.

About 13,000 of the country’s 25,000 schools were built between 1945 and 1974 when asbestos use was at a peak.

Fiona Riley, vice-chair of the IOSH education group, said: “So many school buildings have asbestos within them and whilst the school may be aware of the requirement to undertake an asbestos survey, they may not have ongoing arrangements in place to manage the presence of asbestos.

“Children should be able to experience a wide range of activities during their time at school and proportionate health and safety measures should help, rather than hinder.”

Dave Harling, executive member for schools and education at Blackburn with Darwen Council, said: “There is always a concern about asbestos because of the dangers.

“However, a lot of asbestos in schools is not a danger and it is not likely there is a pile of asbestos sitting in a classroom.

“We have health and safety measures in place to deal with it.”

Also on the agenda at the meeting will be a talk from CLEAPPS, which supports the teaching of science and technology safely in schools.

Representatives will be delivering a training session at the event at the football ground to show how to effectively manage the risks associated with teaching the subjects.

Delegates will also hear about dangers posed to people in the leisure industry.

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Asbestos safety advice on offer

Research and Markets: Worldwide Asbestos Market Review 2014


Research and Markets (http://www.researchandmarkets.com/research/qfw6vg/asbestos_market) has announced the addition of the “Asbestos Market Review” report to their offering.

The report presents a thorough study of asbestos, covering both global and regional markets.

It aims to give a proper picture of the market, as well as its trends, perspectives and opportunities.

Comprehensive data showing asbestos production, consumption, trade statistics and prices are provided (both nationwide and worldwide).

Each country’s market overview covers the following: asbestos production in the country, major producers, asbestos consumption in the country market, asbestos trade in the country, asbestos prices.

The report offers a 5-year outlook on the reviewed market, including asbestos market volume predictions and price trends.

Reasons to Buy

  • The report provides unique analysis of internal and external factors that affect the market
  • Company’s business and sales activities will be boosted by gaining an insight into the asbestos market in EU peculiarities
  • The report will help you to find prospective partners and suppliers
  • Detailed analysis provided in the report will assist and strengthen your company’s decision-making processes

Key Topics Covered:


1.1. Asbestos in global industry

1.2. Asbestos market overview

1.3. Asbestos prices







For more information visit http://www.researchandmarkets.com/research/qfw6vg/asbestos_market


Research and Markets

Laura Wood, Senior Manager


For E.S.T Office Hours Call 1-917-300-0470

For U.S./CAN Toll Free Call 1-800-526-8630

For GMT Office Hours Call +353-1-416-8900

U.S. Fax: 646-607-1907

Fax (outside U.S.): +353-1-481-1716



Taken from:

Research and Markets: Worldwide Asbestos Market Review 2014

Locomotives return after asbestos scare

Locomotives return after asbestos scare

Published: 8:24PM Monday March 17, 2014 Source: ONE News

  • KiwiRail locomotives. (Source: ONE News)

    KiwiRail locomotives. – Source: ONE News

KiwiRail is reassuring staff that the level of asbestos in its Chinese-built freight trains is minimal.

Forty new DL locomotives have been tested for asbestos after toxic fibres were found inside one last month.

The tests have found the potentially deadly material is only present in five trains in its fleet.

KiwiRail maintains the risk of exposure to any airborne fibres is low so it will bring the trains back into service soon.

It says it is in the process of removing the packing material where the asbestos was found in all of the locomotives before they are returned to service.

The scare saw freight movement around the country limited as the locomotives underwent testing.

Chief executive Peter Reidy says the lack of capacity is still causing supply chain issues for many industries and businesses.

“The DL locomotives are the workhorse of our fleet and without their pulling power all customers are feeling the lack of capacity,” he said.

    Copyright © 2014, Television New Zealand Limited. Breaking and Daily News, Sport & Weather | TV ONE, TV2 | Ondemand

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    Locomotives return after asbestos scare

    Baucus took 'vow' to help Libby residents harmed by asbestos

    For residents of Libby ravaged by asbestos-related diseases, U.S. Sen. Max Baucus has delivered on health care – including special government coverage like nowhere else in America.

    “Just about every step of the way, Max has been there,” says Gayla Benefield, a Libby resident and activist who helped expose the asbestos pollution in Libby. “All we’ve had to do is ask, and he’s been right on it.”

    Libby’s infamous asbestos problem stems from a now-defunct vermiculite mine last operated by W.R. Grace and Co. on the edge of town. Generations of workers at the mine breathed asbestos fibers from the vermiculite and brought the deadly fibers home on their clothes, infecting their families with lung disease as well.

    Grace also left piles of low-grade vermiculite near the mine, for anyone to take. It was used in gardens, baseball fields, track fields and for home insulation throughout Libby, exposing hundreds more to its asbestos fibers.

    More than 3,000 people from Libby have been diagnosed with asbestos-related lung disease, some 400 have died and the numbers continue to grow.

    Libby residents diagnosed with the disease, however, have a unique benefit, thanks to Baucus: They are covered by Medicare, regardless of their age.

    Medicare, usually reserved for Americans 65 or older, provides free hospital care, insurance for non-hospital care for about $105 a month and prescription drug coverage.

    Tanis Hernandez, administrative director of the Center for Asbestos Related Disease in Libby, says ever-younger residents are coming to the clinic to get screened for asbestos lung diseases. If they screen positive, they get Medicare coverage.

    Baucus, D-Mont., chief architect of the 2010 Affordable Care Act – “Obamacare” – wrote the Medicare provision into the bill, for citizens affected by contamination at Superfund sites declared a “public health emergency.” Libby is the only such site in the country.

    Last week, Baucus also announced expansion to several counties near Libby of a pilot program covering some additional services not usually covered by Medicare, like home health assistance.

    This special Medicare coverage isn’t the only help Baucus has helped arrange for Libby’s asbestos victims.

    He helped get seed money and grants for the clinic, which provides free screening for Libby residents, secured funding to help pay for its expansion, pushed for the 2009 public health emergency declaration, and supported a $10 million grant in 2011 to cover future screening costs.

    “We wouldn’t be where we are today without his support,” Hernandez says. “He’s always been there to hear the latest concerns and struggles, and to try to find a solution.”

    Baucus visited Libby last summer, and brought along the head of the U.S. Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services with him. He said Libby had been a top priority for him, since meeting victims and activists 14 years earlier.

    “I made a vow to myself,” he said, “(that) I would do whatever it took to help the people of Libby.”


    Baucus took 'vow' to help Libby residents harmed by asbestos

    Asbestos found at Telstra work site north of Brisbane, union raises concerns

    A union says it has grave concerns about work done by a Telstra contractor to the north of Brisbane, after finding asbestos near a recently replaced telecommunications pit.Telstra’s infrastructure is being used to roll out the National Broadband Network (NBN), including old pits containing asbestos.Coutts Contracting, which is under investigation, was responsible for replacing dozens of pits in Caboolture and Morayfield between August 2011 and October 2012.A piece of asbestos was found near a replaced pit in the front yard of a house in Caboolture River Road at Morayfield.Phil Hughes from the Communication Workers Union says nobody knows how long it has been there.”It’s very dangerous because it’s dry and the sun breaks it down,” he said.”If you look really closely, you can actually see the fibres.”He says dangerous pieces of asbestos were left in the ground and covered with a thin layer of land fill.”The contaminated soil would actually be under probably an inch or so of crusher dust; decomposed granite,” he said.”So underneath that would be all your contaminated soil from the old asbestos pit with chunks…

    that would eventually work their way to the surface of the ground.”How many school kids walk past here every day; walking right past that lethal piece of asbestos?”Families live in street where asbestos was foundResident Alex Chivers says he is shocked at the discovery.”There’s a family over the road with three kids and there’s a whole group of kids moved into the units over the back there, plus my grandchildren turn up here all the time so I wouldn’t be real happy about them running around knowing there’s asbestos in the air,” he said.A Telstra spokesman says the company is awaiting the outcome of an investigation by Queensland’s Department of Environment and Heritage Protection.”If there is any indication that contractors have failed to use appropriate procedures for the safe handling and disposal of potentially asbestos-containing material then we will take immediate action,” he said.Coutts Contracting denies the claims and has refused to comment.Comcare, the federal department responsible for investigating such claims, released a statement after sending workers to investigate.”In its investigations, Comcare has not uncovered evidence of exposure to workers or the community, or breaches of the WHS Act.”Comcare has received another 66 different complaints from around the country this year but, after investigations, found no breaches at any of those sites.

    Link to article – 

    Asbestos found at Telstra work site north of Brisbane, union raises concerns

    Imported asbestos getting past Australian customs

    Imported asbestos getting past Australian customs
    Imported asbestos getting past Australian customs

    Large shipments of products containing asbestos are entering Australia undetected by customs officials and it has some groups worried about worker safety.

    Fibres were recently found in almost a dozen train engines and it is feared many more dangerous imports are slipping through.

    While the manufacture of asbestos has been banned in Australia for more than quarter of a century, it is still rife in China, Russia and Brazil.

    “It’s cheap to produce a product for housing and things like that, but it’s also killing people,” Terry Miller from the Asbestos Victims Association said.

    Products containing the deadly fibres are then exported around the globe, including to Australia.

    Last month, asbestos was found in the engines of ten trains during routine testing, sparking fears for worker safety.

    “Our security system in Australia is so lax and through customs, if it looked like asbestos, these guys picked it, they should’ve done an analysis themselves,” Ian Sheppard from the Asbestos Diseases Society said.

    It follows the recall of more than 20,000 Great Wall and Chery vehicles with asbestos gaskets last year.

    In June, customs officials in Adelaide intercepted and destroyed a shipment of motorcycles containing asbestos.

    Mechanics admit they do not expect to find asbestos in motorbikes and therefore do not undertake precautionary measures, but they fear cheap imported parts could be putting them at risk.

    Those caught trying to bring asbestos merchandise into the country face fines of up to $850,000.


    Imported asbestos getting past Australian customs

    Renovators playing Russian roulette with asbestos

    Renovators playing Russian roulette with asbestos
    Renovators playing Russian roulette with asbestos

    Experts have warned that home renovators are not undertaking proper precautions with asbestos and are not only putting themselves at risk, but their families as well.

    While it is no longer manufactured in Australia, asbestos remains a sleeping giant in a third of the nation’s homes.

    There are fears a new generation of ‘do-it-yourself’ renovators has no idea what they are disturbing.

    “A lot of young people are doing this and they need to know what they are dealing with,” asbestos removalist Wendy Tredinnick said.

    Terry Miller from the Asbestos Victims Association was diagnosed with asbestosis almost a decade ago after working at James Hardie’s factory in Adelaide’s northern suburbs for 20 years.

    His wife died 15 years ago from an asbestos-related lung disease.

    She had never worked with the material, but was regularly washing fibres out of her husband’s clothes.

    “You don’t need much exposure,” Mr Miller said.

    “It’s not just the person doing the job, it could be one of their kids crawling on the floor, could be the wife breathing it in.”

    A survey of 1500 home renovators in New South Wales found only 12 per cent regularly wore respiratory devices – a trend experts say reflects the country.

    “Hardly a week goes by here that we don’t get a phone call from someone saying ‘we just started doing this and pulled a sheet off the bathroom wall and there’s asbestos stickers on the back’,” Ms Tredinnick said.

    Asbestos can be found under floor coverings, particularly on the back of lino, behind walls and even as insulation in ceilings.

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    Renovators playing Russian roulette with asbestos