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Soil Tests Reveal No Safety Issues

Soil Tests Reveal No Safety Issues

Wellington Kindergartens says recent soil tests at Pukerua Bay Kindergarten show there are no safety concerns after the removal of a small amount of asbestos from the grounds last month.

A parent found fragments of asbestos in the playground, and the area was immediately cordoned off and the substance removed.

Since then, the soil was tested at six places in the kindergarten. Samples were taken by All Asbestos and Insulation, an experienced asbestos removal company, and sent to Capital Environmental Services, an internationally accredited laboratory, for analysis.

At five of the six sites no asbestos was detected. At one of the sites one fibre bundle was detected, but All Asbestos and Insulation managing director Mike Chesterfield says that is no cause for concern.

Health authorities are not normally notified unless there are ten fibres found in a soil sample. Two or three asbestos fibres can be expected in any random soil sample in New Zealand.

A Wellington medical officer of health, Dr Stephen Palmer says Wellington Kindergartens is handling this matter appropriately and parents can be reassured their children are safe. “Asbestos fibres are always present at low levels in the atmosphere and the positive result is likely to be deposition from this background level.”

Mike Chesterfield says finding small asbestos particles in the soil is common
because of the widespread use of the product in building in the 1960s, 70s and 80s, and because of runoff from roofing and drainage.

“For example, after removing asbestos when testing for air clearance, you would
need to pick up 13 [fibre bundles] to fail.”

Wellington Kindergartens general manager Amanda Coulston says a meeting is planned for the kindergarten community so the results can be explained to any
families with concerns or questions.

“Safety of children is our number one priority” she says. “We have been communicating with our families throughout this process, and we are grateful that public health authorities have made themselves available to answer any further questions.”

All parents will be notified when the meeting has been scheduled.


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