Asbestos World News Roundup

In New Zealand , the Department of Labour says that building material producers are endangering construction workers by using asbestos-containing materials. The report says that building workers would not generally know asbestos was contained in materials like roofing materials, flooring, and tape. Local production of asbestos-containing materials ceased in the 1980s, but it is still legal to import asbestos-containing materials, and the customs service does not test for asbestos contamination at ports of entry. The report notes that older construction workers generally believe that the 1980s ban means there are no more asbestos-containing products, while younger workers who never worked with native asbestos materials are unaware of the issue. Most imported New Zealand building materials come from nations in southeast Asia, where the use of asbestos in building materials is still permitted. Earlier this year, a New Zealand cancer researcher said that one in ten Australian carpenters born before 1950 would likely die from mesothelioma. In Australia, construction workers are likely to return to work after staging a walkout at a large building site in Victoria.

The workers at the Westfield Doncaster Shopping Town construction site put down their tools and walked off the job after their union said the construction company was not properly following safety procedures for the removal of asbestos at the site. Union officials met with representatives of the construction company and said that talks would continue to resolve site safety issues once the workers were back on the job. In the United Kingdom, workers at the Olympic Stadium in London have discovered small amounts of asbestos-containing material on the construction site. The workers were building the permanent foundation for the stadium, and work on that section has been halted while testing is done and protective measures are put in place. In the interim workers have been moved to other sections of the site and to other building sites in the Olympic Park.