This safety alert provides information about the potential presence of asbestos in the insulation layer of hand-held billiard table irons and associated iron stands, from the People’s Republic of China (China). Online sellers of these items exist in China, India and Taiwan. The item identified in Australia was imported from a supplier in China. A similar but not identical item, with no asbestos, is marketed from the United Kingdom.
In December 2020, the WA Department for Mining, Industry Regulation and Safety (DMIRS) were alerted to the presence of chrysotile asbestos in irons imported to Australia. The iron stand on which the iron rests, also contains an insulating layer with asbestos.
Just over 24cm in length, the hand-held iron is designed to flatten the cloth on billiard tables. A range of types and sizes are commercially available. Those manufactured in countries where asbestos is not banned are likely to contain chrysotile asbestos.
Irons imported with asbestos are prohibited imports. The irons maybe lawfully imported without the asbestos layer.
Asbestos in imported products
While asbestos has been prohibited in Australia since December 2003, in some countries it is still used in manufactured products. Certification of asbestos-free goods from some overseas manufacturers have been found not to meet Australian requirements. The importation, manufacture, supply, sale and use or reuse of asbestos and asbestos-containing products is not permitted, except under very limited circumstances. Some supplier countries may classify goods with low levels of asbestos as ‘asbestos-free’. In Australia, any level of asbestos is prohibited for import or use.
The design of the irons typically negates the need for maintenance during the life of the equipment. During normal use there should be little risk of asbestos fibre release. If the iron wears over time, however, there may be a risk of exposure. Owners or users of the identified billiard table irons are advised not to undertake any maintenance, repairs or modifications. They should contact the Australian supplier for clarification and/or seek the guidance of an asbestos professional.