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Safety alert - Asbestos in car gaskets

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Purpose

This safety alert aims to highlight the potential risks associated with some new vehicles imported into Australia from China by Great Wall Motors Australia and Chery Automotive Australia which contain asbestos gaskets.

Background

In 2012, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission commenced monitoring a recall of approximately 23 000 Great Wall and Chery motor vehicles with engine and exhaust gaskets containing asbestos.

The asbestos is bound into gaskets in the engine and exhaust system and does not present any risk to consumers during use of the vehicle. However, asbestos is a prohibited hazardous substance and these engines and exhaust systems should only be worked on by qualified personnel using appropriate safety procedures.

Action required

  1. If you are replacing a gasket on a new imported vehicle, contact the local dealership to find out whether the gasket contains asbestos and how to safely remove it and dispose of it.
  2. For Great Wall and Chery vehicles, check the model and part numbers on the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission's (ACCC) product recall website to see which parts may contain asbestos (unless service records or engine bay stickers verify that the gaskets have been replaced).
  3. Handle asbestos-containing materials safely to avoid exposure to self or others from asbestos fibres.
  4. Ensure that gasket replacement is recorded in the vehicle’s maintenance book.

If you import any vehicles, machinery, equipment, parts or gaskets, it is your responsibility to have gaskets or similar items tested for asbestos content so you can demonstrate that they are asbestos free. Workplace Health and Safety Queensland recommends such testing be conducted in Australia by a NATA certified laboratory.

For any vehicle manufactured before 2004, always assume that the gaskets and brake and clutch linings contain asbestos, unless testing indicates otherwise.

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