My concern on the risk to Australian businesses on the import of asbestos products grows
Following my post last week, I had several people write to me and I conducted my own additional research. Thanks to Brokers Ron and Gary and Gary’s client for their contribution.
It appears that the governments in both India and China do not recognise chrysotile (white asbestos) as being harmful, so in those countries only products containing amosite (brown asbestos) or crocidolite (blue asbestos) are classified as asbestos bearing materials.
It seems that among the many chrysotile containing materials being imported from those countries automobiles pose one of the greatest problems with their asbestos brake shoes and gaskets.
In the past, motor mechanics formed a large proportion of employees contracting asbestos related diseases as a result of “blowing out” with compressed air brake drums & discs. Equally distressing was the fact that many wives of mechanics also contracted, and in some cases died, from asbestos related diseases simply by washing their husband’s contaminated overalls/clothing.
The concept that I put forward in my earlier blog that 5% asbestos content was considered as “asbestos free” dates back a lot further than I first appreciated and I know believe it goes back to the mid to late 1970’s when I understand that Japanese Industrial Standards (JIS) allowed this.
Many companies including some government departments were said to have been caught with parts they could not use due to this problem.
The penalties for a company and/or an individual that imports products containing asbestos are quite severe. If you add this to the fact the importer will not have cover for any claims for injury caused by asbestos creates an enormous risk for the directors of any company that is involved in the importation of such products.
I end with a link to a brochure from the Australian Border Force on the issue. Please share it with any of your clients that could be involved in the importation of any product that may contain asbestos. This includes building materials, crayons, and mechanical / automobile parts. asbestos-australian-border-control-managing-the-risk-of-asbestos-at-the-border