The NSW government launched a fresh campaign warning of the dangers of asbestos, with a new focus on naturally occurring asbestos (NOA), which isn’t uncommon around Orange.
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While asbestos is known as a construction material used frequently before 1987, it also occurs naturally in rocks and soil.
Heads of Asbestos Co-ordination Authorities chairwoman Katheryn Heiler said NOA can constitute the same dangers as manufactured asbestos.
“It’s important to know where it is and how to manage it if it’s likely to be disturbed,” she said.
Many activities which can disturb NOA include driving vehicles, digging, ploughing and gardening, and in particular anything which can kick up dust.
Orange sits just west of one of NSW’s largest veins of NOA, which stretches from Wellington to Blayney. Similarly to asbestos in structures, NOA is not harmful until disturbed.
Ms Heiler said the launch was in Orange due to its proximity to NOA, and also due to Orange City Council’s work in the latest campaign, which included bringing groups to Orange and supplying photos and material for a booklet and online.
Actor and Asbestos Awareness ambassador John Jarratt said he got involved to honour the memory of his friend Harold Hopkins, who passed away in 2012 from mesothelioma after he knocked down an asbestos-ridden property in 1968.
“He was a fitness fanatic and he was dead in six months. He was one of my best friends and I do this in his honour so not too many more people die for no good reason,” he said.
For more information go to http://asbestosawareness.com.au/
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