Almost 500 NSW police properties have asbestos and one station will be shut to remove the potentially deadly material. NSW Police have found about 460 properties that contain at least some asbestos or lead paint, or both. They include police residences, police stations and other police buildings.
“While there are tens of thousands of buildings in the general community across NSW that contain asbestos or lead paint, the age and condition of each site determines the scale of the risk,” Superintendent Darryl Tuck of the NSW Police Properties Group said in a statement late on Friday.
“NSW Police has identified approximately 460 properties that contain at least some asbestos or lead paint or both.
“The scale of risk can be affected by something as simple as a crack in a piece of fibro to lead-based paint on a wall starting to flake and peel.”
Asbestos fibres cause respiratory disease and cancer, including asbestosis and mesothelioma, but the illnesses can take decades to develop.
Lithgow Police Station, in the Blue Mountains, will be closed for one day on Wednesday, August 10 while asbestos material is removed from a heating duct.
Asbestos has already been removed from a plant room at the station.
NSW Police also said a “significant amount of remediation work” has already been undertaken at several other sites where the risk is manageable.
Work has also been completed at the Sydney Police Centre to eliminate lead residue in the firing range.
NSW Police said they had established a working party to identify, prioritise and remediate the sites.
The Asbestos Diseases Foundation of Australia president Barry Robson said the asbestos should be removed immediately.
“It’s not a surprise … but it should be removed,” he said.
“Australians, we’re world champions at a lot of things and we’re world champions at using asbestos products.”
The Police Association of NSW declined to comment, saying it would speak about the matter on the weekend or later next week.