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Media Release 9th July 1999 - Non English Media Alert

Government Policy Vital For Removal Of
Hazardous Lead Containing Ceiling Dust In "Tarptown"

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The LEAD Group is concerned that non-English speaking people may not be aware of the problem of hazardous dust from roof cavities, that is currently being spread around many homes in the hail-damaged area, as ceilings are being knocked down for replacement.

Residents and contractors in Sydney’s hail damaged area are being exposed to hazardous dust built up from decades of air pollution fallout and other contamination. The ceiling dust is being released from ceiling voids and falling into homes during demolition of water damaged ceilings.

With the toxic cocktail of fine particulates, lead, cadmium, arsenic, asbestos and more, Elizabeth O’Brien of The LEAD Group, says "I challenge anyone to substantiate the claim that there is no health risk from exposure to the dust. Residents have reported that this is what their insurance company is saying to them in order to justify not paying for the cost of ceiling dust removal. Some insurance companies are even claiming that there is no lead in the dust yet every reported result of lead testing in over 200 Sydney homes has found lead in the dust. All competent lead assessors in Sydney recommend removal of the ceiling dust prior to taking down the ceilings. Testing the lead content is regarded as a waste of time and money – the ceiling dust is guaranteed to contain lead and a host of other heavy metals and allergens such as fine dust, animal dander, fungal spores and pollens. Yet the unprecedented exposure of residents of the 20,000 homes and the workers repairing the damage is raising the question – what is the full range of health effects from the dust? – there’s more to it than just the lead."

The LEAD Group is calling on the government to set a policy of removing the ceiling dust from the ceiling cavity prior to demolition of the damaged ceilings, so that the bulk of the ceiling dust can be disposed of or recycled for its lead content at the Australian Refined Alloys plant in Alexandria.

"Having spoken to hundreds of people struggling to contend with this issue, I know that non-English speaking people are not phoning the Translator Interpreter Service (131450) to get help with the problem, and this worries me. There are thousands of people, most of whom are unaware of the hazards, who are just about to have their homes contaminated by ceiling dust" said O'Brien.

Contact: Elizabeth O’Brien ph 9716 0014 ##

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Last Updated 09 March 2012
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PO Box 161 Summer Hill NSW 2130 Australia
Phone: +61 2 9716 0014