Concerning questions remain over asbestos exposure
The Council of Trade Unions says there are still concerning questions remaining about the exposure of New Zealanders to asbestos, following the Patea fire this week.
“Have we got adequate guidelines to cover situations like what occurred in Patea this week, when it is still unclear what asbestos risk remains in this community?,” CTU secretary Carol Beaumont said.
“We need to have confidence in robust guidelines, including ensuring residents and workers have sufficient advice on what protections they need to take.”
“We also want to know whether we have details of building sites in New Zealand that pose serious risk with remaining asbestos fibres, and what is being done to manage that risk.”
“There also needs to be more efforts to hold building owners accountable for their actions.”
Carol Beaumont expressed the CTU’s support for local residents.
“We acknowledge what is a terribly worrying time for the people of Patea. No one should have to be put through this situation. Workers can sympathise with this, as many New Zealand workers were unnecessarily exposed to asbestos.”
The potentially lethal nature of asbestos fibres has been known for centuries but credible international research has been available since at least the early 1960s. Yet New Zealand workers continued to be exposed to asbestos, right through the 60s, 70s and 80s, Beaumont said.
"Lets now make sure that the questions raised by this fire are adequately answered.”