MEDIA RELEASES

Independent investigation confirms presence of asbestos at Ngawha

An investigation of Ginns Ngawha Spa site by independent consultants, commissioned by the site’s owner Top Energy, is now complete and has confirmed preliminary findings that asbestos was present in samples taken from buildings and soil.

However, Northland DHB Medical Officer of Health Dr Clair Mills says while there is no absolutely safe level of asbestos exposure, the risk to members of the public who have visited the site in the past is very low, and well below workplace regulatory levels.

Dr Mills says anyone who has visited the site in the past and has concerns can contact Northland DHB Public Health on 09-430 4100 and ask for the Medical Officer of Health or Health Protection Officer on-call.

Asbestos-containing products were widely used in New Zealand buildings from the 1940s until the 1980s. Dr Mills says generally these products do not create a health risk when maintained in good condition; however, the uncontrolled removal or repair of these materials can cause the release of fibres which are hazardous if inhaled. Extensive deterioration of material may also cause release of fibres into the environment.

“This is a timely reminder that people should be very cautious when carrying out renovations or repairs in houses built before 1980 where asbestos is likely to be present in cladding products, roofing, flooring materials, insulation and lagging,” says Dr Mills. This type of work should be carried out in in a controlled manner and/or with suitably qualified and registered asbestos removal specialists.



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