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Patea Dust Samples Show No Trace of Asbestos

Media Release

February 11, 2008

Results Offer a Reassurance to Patea Residents

Results of dust samples taken from Patea show no trace of asbestos.

The results, which were due early next week, have come back earlier than expected.

Taranaki Medical Officer of Health Richard Hoskins says the lab report shows “No asbestos detected” in all 22 samples taken from Patea and outlying areas.

There are still results from air samples to come in, but he is confident there is no ongoing risk from the fire for residents. “It is highly likely that no asbestos was deposited in or on their community during the fire.”

Patea residents were evacuated on Wednesday morning as a precautionary measure when the town’s freezing works caught fire. It was thought there could have been asbestos fibres in the smoke and dust. Residents returned home when the ash and smoke had settled.

Results from the air samples should be known on Monday. Dr Hoskins expects these to also show no signs of asbestos.

Health officials say it is safe for Patea residents to remain in their homes and for businesses and schools to open. The Taranaki Civil Defence Emergency Management Group endorses this, based on the health officials’ advice.

Residents will be given updated instructions today. A public meeting is planned for 7pm on Monday at the New Nation Church, Egmont Street, Patea.

Dr Hoskins thanks Wellington-based Capital Environmental Services Ltd for providing the results so promptly. The analytical laboratory is contracted by the Ministry of Health to carry out asbestos testing.


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