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Sydney: Hundreds of asbestos contaminated sites in the city

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Multiple locations in Sydney are found to be contaminated by asbestos including; Parks, infrastructure project sites, various rail corridors, a school, and a hospital.

NSW Premier Chris Minns says that there could potentially be hundreds of asbestos contamination sites throughout Sydney and that the number of properties would be very large right across the city.

“The government doesn’t have the resources to preventatively type off all potential contamination sites throughout the city while testing is underway.” Mr. Minns said.

Minister for the Environment Penny Sharpe has said that 200 sites across Sydney had been tested by the Environment Protection Authority (EPA), 20 sites tested positive for asbestos.

In the beginning, NSW Health said that the detected asbestos had low risk to people’s health as they were non-friable or bonded.

The situation has changed as the detected asbestos is friable and can easily crushed into a powder by hand and were discovered in mulch used at an off-leash dog area Harmony Park in Surry Hills.

Ms. Sharpe confirmed the NSW government had set up a taskforce to give more resources and support to the EPA’s investigation into asbestos in mulch. According to ABC News.

The taskforce will help co-ordinate government agencies and assist in prioritizing sites considered of highest risk to the public, to ensure all resources are available to secure and remediate sites.

The investigation has started with 130 people but more other people will be added this week.

After much more mulch potentially contaminated with asbestos was discovered has led to closure of Liverpool West Public School for two weeks.

How dangerous is asbestos?

When asbestos is actually bonded in another material and the fibres are not released in the air, there won’t be a risk associated with it but if it’s broken up and drilled into when there is any damage done when weathered and deteriorating, those fibres will have much higher risk of being released into the air.

The danger lies to when asbestos fibres are inhaled. It may cause asbestosis, mesothelioma and lung cancer. Exposure of asbestos may also increase the risk for cancers of the digestive system.

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