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Safety alert - Asbestos in crystals, stones and pendants

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Purpose

This safety alert highlights the asbestos exposure risks associated with raw and polished crystals, stones and pendants imported into Australia.

These crystals, stones and pendants, also referred to as 'healing stones', can be carved into heart, star and oval shaped stones, as well as being sold as larger pieces of raw rock for carving (see figures 1-5).

Background

Asbestos in raw and polished crystals, stones and pendants first arose in 2012 when asbestos was detected in stones/pendants sold by a Gold Coast retailer. At the time, the healing stones were marketed under the name 'chrysotile', and 'serpentine'.

Following intervention by Workplace Health and Safety Queensland and confirmation the stones contained asbestos, the suppliers of the stones/pendants agreed to stop supplying the contaminated products.

Crystals, stones and pendants that contain asbestos may present a health risk to anyone buying or selling them. The risk is higher for anyone carving, shaping or polishing asbestos rock as fine dust may be released in the process.

The use of all forms of asbestos has been banned in Australia since the end of 2003. This means that the import, manufacture, supply, sale and use or reuse of asbestos and asbestos-containing products is no longer permitted, except under very limited circumstances.

Action required

To reduce the risk of importing or supplying products containing asbestos, read Managing the importation of goods or materials containing asbestos into Australia (PDF, 425 kB).

Information includes:

  • how the importation of asbestos is regulated at the Australian border and the products at particular risk of containing asbestos
  • what businesses must do to ensure imported products do not contain asbestos
  • types of verifications that exist for Australian importers or consumers to show imported materials do not contain asbestos.

Photo 1: Healing stone

Photo 1: Healing stone.

Photo 2: Healing stone showing seams of chrysotile asbestos.

Photo 2: Healing stone showing seams of chrysotile asbestos.

Photo 3: Healing stone showing seams of chrysotile asbestos.

Photo 3: Healing stone showing seams of chrysotile asbestos.

Photo 4: Healing stone on sale under the name of chrysotile.

Photo 4: Healing stone on sale under the name of chrysotile.

Photo 5: Raw ore, on sale, showing white seams, plus on top  edge - white bundles of fibres (arrows) confirmed as chrysotile.

Photo 5: Raw ore, on sale, showing white seams, plus on top edge - white bundles of fibres (arrows) confirmed as chrysotile.

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