Debbie Padroth and her partner, Pete Richer, bravely faced the firestorm to save their home at Balmoral, South-west of Sydney, but now they are concerned about the safety of their drinking water from asbestos contamination.
The couples home was in the pathway of the massive fire at Green Wattle Creek as it tore through the area on December 19th, 2019. Three of their neighbours who were evacuated lost their homes in the fire, those homes lost in the fire contained asbestos. Where contamination has been fund, the government has closed off the properties affected and promised a PVC bider spray will be used to further minimize the risk of asbestos particles spreading.
The couple are also concerned that the debris, dust and asbestos fibres, being blown around from the fire damaged properties, has contaminated their water supply. However the President of the Australian Institute of Occupational Hygienists, Andrew Orfanos, said there is no risk of water being contaminated.
“There is no scientific evidence suggesting ingesting asbestos fibres in water can cause harm, many day to day things have asbestos fibres in them, it is quite and ubiquitous throughout our environment.” he said.
Mr Ofanos also said there is no need to discard water because of an asbestos risk, but said tanks should be checked for ash or dust that has settles as a result of the fires.
“But even in that case, most of those particles would be insoluble and likely to sit at the top of the tank of rest on the bottom, Asbestos needs to be small enough to get into the deep crevasses of your lungs, which are called the Alveoli, and to generate fibres that small you actually have to drill or sank asbestos containing materials to generate those fibres” he said.
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