Asbestos is still a danger to the Australian population, despite its ban enforced since 2003. While the main threat of asbestos to our country now is disturbing old fibres in buildings, there is also the risk of importing products which contain the product.
Crayon asbestos risk
The latest example of this is imported crayons. A number of brands have recently caught the attention of WorkSafe authorities, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) and the Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency (ASEA).
While the crayons don't pose a massive safety risk through normal use, they do contain asbestos at trace levels. This essentially means they still have the potential to cause harm. As such, Acting Commissioner for Consumer Protection Gary Newcombe issued a warning and recall.
"We do not want to take any chances, so as a precaution we are urging consumers, especially parents and teachers, to check the brand of any crayons in their home or school and to dispose of crayons that appear on the alert list," he said.
"Alternatively, consumers can return the crayons to the store where they were purchased and receive a refund or a replacement with an asbestos-free product."
The affected crayon products include the following brands:
- Peppa Pig 8 wax crayons
- Disney "Frozen" jumbo crayons
- Disney "Mickey Mouse and Friends" crayons
- Dora the Explorer personalised 32 pack crayons
- Dora the Explorer jumbo crayons
- Arti Crafti 16 piece crayons
Building material imports
This example has a clear link to a recent safety alert issued after building materials imported from China were found to contain asbestos. The business which imported the wooden panels was unaware of the risk until testing confirmed the presence of chrysotile asbestos.
"Asbestos is a highly regulated material in Australia and it is illegal for any product containing asbestos to be imported into this country," said Mr Newcombe, commenting on the crayon recall.
"Importers are responsible for ensuring the goods they import do not contain asbestos prior to the goods arriving in Australia."
Due to the serious consequences of asbestos exposure, businesses need to ensure every product entering Australia is free of these deadly fibres. If not, they could be at the mercy of a compensation claim from a victim.
The symptoms of asbestos exposure only appear years after exposure, so it is important to start the legal process as soon as possible. For more information, contact an expert compensation lawyer today.