Australian agency claims illegal asbestos imports pose national health risk

25 Jan 2017 by under News

AustralianCoatofArms 100x100 Australian agency claims illegal asbestos imports pose national health riskThe Australian Safety and Eradication Agency is continuing its quest to reduce the number of illegal asbestos-containing products being brought into the country. Earlier this week the agency filed another submission to the Australian Senate’s inquiry on the illegal importations after a Senate committee vote reopened submissions.

Australia’s OHS News reports the agency’s submission states the risk of people being exposed to asbestos-contaminated imports has risen with the use of online platforms to source overseas building materials from countries that do not regulate asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) as Australia does. The submission cites five major instances in the last two years, ranging from contaminated equipment to roof panels, as evidence of its stance.

Asbestos is a known human carcinogen linked to the development of , a deadly cancer that affects the lining of the lungs, heart or abdomen.

“ASEA believes that Australia is lacking a holistic approach to supply chain management, and a change is required to address the problems regulators are currently facing with regards to imported products containing asbestos (ACMs),” the submission states. “ASEA understands that there is no one-size-fits-all approach; however the fact is that Australia is now and will be for many years to come managing legacy issues relating to the wide use of asbestos. Australia has the highest reported per capita incidence of asbestos-related disease in the world, including the highest incidence of mesothelioma.”

In addition to revamping supply chain management, the agency suggests more visible enforcement and consequences, including punitive measures, as possible improvements to help protect the country from asbestos.

Australia banned the importation of ACMs in 1956 through a customs act. Like Australia, all of the more than 30 member countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), except for Canada, Mexico and the United States, have banned asbestos, though Canada plans to do so by 2018.



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