Plasterboard manufacturer issues asbestos warning
Plasterboard manufacturer USG Boral has issued a warning to customers that some of its fire-rated plasterboard products may be contaminated with asbestos-containing vermiculite. Although not all vermiculite contains asbestos, some products were made with vermiculite that contained asbestos until the early 1990s. Vermiculite mines throughout the world are now regularly tested for asbestos and are not supposed to sell products that contain asbestos, although some countries still manufacture asbestos. USG Boral managing director Tony Charnock said it was “likely that this contamination occurred at the source of mining the vermiculite”, and “prior to delivery” at their sites.
USG Boral has reported that the contamination affects fire-rated plasterboards containing vermiculite imported from China and was discovered in routine testing. The company has told builders to quarantine any USG Boral fire-rated plasterboard products pending further advice. USG Boral is advising customers to quarantine the following fire-rated plasterboard products and refrain from installing, distributing or supplying them to customers:
- MultistopTM Plasterboard range (3/3HI, 4/4HI, 5/5HI)
- Firestop® Plasterboard
- ShaftlinerTM Mould Stop Plasterboard
- Fire WetstopTM Plasterboard.
USG Boral says it has stopped using the Chinese-sourced vermiculite and will switch to another source. USG Boral is arranging for the safe removal of all unused Chinese-sourced vermiculite from its facilities at Camellia, Port Melbourne, and Pinkenba. It is also testing all finished products made using vermiculite as an ingredient.
The incident serves as a timely reminder for the risks associated with imported building products, particularly those from China. The Australian Border Force website provides detailed information on the risks, typical products that have been found to be imported with asbestos and how to help mitigate this risk in your supply chain.
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