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Asbestos-containing products to be banned

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 15/06/2016

Products containing asbestos are going to be banned, the government has announced.

The ban will be effective from October 1, Environment Minister Nick Smith says.

Raw asbestos is already banned.

Dr Smith says there is asbestos in some specialist products, such as gaskets, seals and brake linings.

"The government recognises there are a few specialised used for which there is no practical alternative," he said on Wednesday.

"For that reason, there is scope to be granted a permit to import - but only in very select circumstances."

He expects applications for permits will be rare, and likely to be for old machinery or vintage aircraft.

"Exposure to asbestos poses a risk of respiratory disease and is the single biggest cause of work-related fatalities, at 170 per year," he said.

The ban won't affect products already here, which are covered by other legislation.

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