Workplace Health and Safety Queensland has issued a safety alert over imported acetylene cylinders that were found to contain asbestos in their internal insulation.
The cylinders, originating in China, were marked as asbestos-free by the Australian importation company. Testing conducted in China, according to the laboratory certificate, did not contain asbestos but testing in Australia by a NATA laboratory showed the containers contained chrysolite asbestos.
Asbestos and products containing asbestos have been prohibited in Australia for 17 years, although it is still used in manufacturing processes overseas. Australian asbestos regulations are stricter than many other countries, and the certification of asbestos-free goods from some overseas suppliers have been found to fall short of those standards.
“The importation, manufacture, supply, sale and use or reuse of asbestos and asbestos-containing products is not permitted, except under very limited circumstances,” explained WHSQ.
“Some supplier countries may classify goods with low levels of asbestos as ‘asbestos-free’. In Australia, any level of asbestos is prohibited for import or use.”
Further information can be found via the Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency, and it recommends a number of risk controls. Initial information indicates that the cylinders don’t pose a measurable health risk if used as intended, and provided they are not refilled.