20+ sites in Queensland tested for asbestos

It comes after a small amount of the toxic material was found in soil at an Ipswich recycling and compost site.
asbestos queensland

Authorities have warned over 20 sites across southeast Queensland could contain traces of asbestos.

It comes after a small amount of the toxic material was found in soil at an Ipswich recycling and compost site.

Soil manufacturer NuGrow said a stockpile was found to contain an “extremely low” sample of asbestos, and that there was no evidence that those who have come into contact with it were at a health risk.

The detection of asbestos in Qld comes after asbestos-contaminated mulch was discovered at over 60 sites in Sydney.


Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral found in soil or rocks. When broken up, asbestos can release toxic particles into the air.

There are two different types of materials containing asbestos: friable and non-friable.

Non-friable materials include asbestos mixed with substances like cement, but won’t release asbestos fibres unless damaged. Friable materials can easily crumble and release asbestos.

Asbestos in Queensland

NuGrow’s soil tested positive for asbestos after a sample was sent for analysis last week. The sample was friable (more dangerous).

There’s concern that other contaminated stockpiles of NuGrow have been unknowingly shipped to other sites in southeast Qld.

It’s prompted testing at 23 other locations, including landfill operators, landscape suppliers and composters.

One soil sample has returned a positive asbestos result so far. Results are yet to be returned for many of the sites.

Queensland government

The Qld Govt issued NuGrow with a set of precautionary emergency directions to prevent any further asbestos from spreading.

The manufacturer isn’t allowed to remove any material from its site unless it’s been independently determined to be asbestos-free, or it is being lawfully disposed.

NuGrow must share information about where its materials have been shipped in the last 30 days. It’s required to investigate how asbestos was brought onto its site.

NuGrow response

NuGrow said that safety was its “utmost priority at this time”, and maintained that it followed best practices when testing products before sale.

It says it conducted several reviews of its products over recent months, with no other instances of asbestos being detected.

NuGrow is now implementing the emergency directions issued by the government. Inspections have now been expanded outside of southeast Queensland.

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