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Sunshine North asbestos


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The Department of Health & Human Services (DHHS), Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA) and Brimbank City Council have been working with the local community to address concerns about asbestos.

They relate both to the past asbestos production at the Wunderlich factory in McIntyre Road, Sunshine North (which closed in 1982) and the current reports of asbestos materials found in the area.

An asbestos sampling program was recently completed by EPA on behalf of DHHS in response to community concerns in Sunshine North.

The sampling program included 56 homes within three kilometres of the former site. These were selected based on their age, roof type and location. Samples of settled roof-space dust, soil and air from indoor spaces were collected from each home and analysed for asbestos. We took outdoor air samples from the nearby area at the same time. The methods used to conduct these tests are based on national and international standards.

DHHS’s investigation report

DHHS has prepared Investigation report into asbestos-related disease in Sunshine North June 2015, which is available on the Asbestos concerns in Sunshine North page of Brimbank City Council’s website.

The report covers:

  • the actions undertaken by the EPA to ensure the safety of the former Wunderlich site
  • the results and findings of the environmental testing program
  • the review into asbestos-related disease in the area around the former factory site.

All residents of homes that participated in the testing program have been personally provided with their results – this report summarises these results.

The report shows that homes in the vicinity of the former Wunderlich site are safe to occupy and there is no current risk to residents.

It does touch on epidemiological data regarding the incidence of mesothelioma and lung cancer in the area and the Acting Chief Health Officer is currently reviewing this data. While the historical legacy of this site means that some people may have been exposed to asbestos while the factory was operating, there is no current risk to residents – our test results of homes in the area show this.

It is important, however, that all homeowners – whether they live in Sunshine North or anywhere else in the state – seek expert advice before undertaking home renovations, particularly in homes built between the 1940s and 1980s when asbestos was commonly used in building materials.

Background

The former Wunderlich asbestos factory in Sunshine North closed in 1983 and was capped in 1985. It’s now listed on EPA’s Priority Sites Register and underwent an environmental audit in 1998 when it changed its land use. It has been managed under a strict regime since then.

The current operators are managing the site and are required to address the risks and comply with the conditions imposed by EPA. These conditions are on the notice listed in the Priority Sites Register.

EPA received reports of asbestos behind the former Wunderlich factory at 47 McIntyre Road, Sunshine North in early October 2014. The area of concern was a live rail reserve, although public access was prohibited.

Investigations confirmed the presence of asbestos in samples from illegally dumped waste along the rail reserve. Smaller residual asbestos fibres were confirmed in material taken from the eastern side of the rail corridor, a site directly behind the Westend Markets.

EPA issued a notice requiring VicTrack to clean up the illegally dumped waste. VicTrack immediately fixed the issue and is providing ongoing management of the site. EPA also issued notices on the Fuchs Lubricants factory to provide EPA with information on their site works over the past two years. Air monitoring showed no evidence of airborne asbestos fibres. 

More information

If you have any concerns about the asbestos in Sunshine North please call 1300 761 874, or to receive updates send an email to asbestosinfo@brimbank.vic.gov.au.

For more information please the Asbestos concerns in Sunshine North page of Brimbank City Council’s website. This has the most up-to-date information, including community newsletters, frequently asked questions and health information from the Victorian Government.

Page last updated on 13 Sep 2017