Hazardous Materials

Bonded asbestos contamination confirmed in ACT Mulch

20  February 2024

Bonded asbestos has been confirmed to be present in mulch samples tested by WorkSafe ACT.

Any ‘cottage mulch’ products supplied by the businesses listed below this statement, between 1 March 2023 and 19 February 2024 may be contaminated. All known purchasers of the affected products are being contacted.

WorkSafe ACT is making enquiries and issuing Prohibition notices under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 and the Dangerous Substances Act 2004; to not disturb, handle or dispose of mulch material until further notice; while further assessment and action can be arranged.

Further testing of mulch from suppliers around the ACT is underway to establish the extent of the contamination and any further action and remediation required.

Work Health and Safety Commissioner Jacqueline Agius assures the ACT community that while there is not an immediate major health risk, WorkSafe ACT is responding quickly to the situation to protect the health and safety of all Canberrans.

“While the risk of exposure to airborne asbestos fibres from bonded asbestos is low, if bonded asbestos is damaged or disturbed, it may cause the release of airborne asbestos fibres. It is very important that you do not move potentially contaminated material.

“The safety of the community is our number one priority. We are currently working with involved businesses to identify and inform anyone who may be impacted.”

If you have concerns that you may have received this mulch from an identified supplier:

This does not relate to the loose fill (friable) asbestos contained in Mr Fluffy homes, which poses a far greater health risk compared to bonded asbestos which is mixed with cement or resin to keep the fibres in place.

WorkSafe ACT will continue to keep the community updated as enquiries continue.

Statement ends.

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