You will be surprised – These 5 things contained asbestos

It was before World War II when asbestos was imported to NZ in building material like cladding, pipes and cement. In the year 1974, annual asbestos importation peaked more than 12,000 tons, however, it declined rapidly soon after (PMCSA, 2015). Chrysotile, one of the asbestos types was mainly used in buildings in industrialized economies including New Zealand, from around 1960. Although the building material is not the only product that contains asbestos, it can possibly be found in small amounts in other products.
We help you in identifying the things that could possibly contain asbestos and a few tips which might help you when you consider purchasing these products.
1. Talcum Powder, 2018 says “in nature, talc deposits occur together with asbestos, and mined talc can easily become contaminated with asbestos.” Many renowned companies like Johnson & Johnson, Claire’s and Justice are under the radar for selling asbestos-contaminated talc. In California, Judith Winkel, Clark Whittaker and Daniels won a $13 million, $7 million and $18 million respectively, in a lawsuit against Colgate-Palmolive in 2015 and 2016, providing evidence that routine use one of their brands led to the diagnosis of their asbestos-related disease.
The most significant verdict, of more than $117 million was made in 2018 against Johnson & Johnson as the brand was charged guilty. The claim was brought by Stephen Lanzo who developed mesothelioma after regularly using J& J talc since 1970.
Tip: The American Cancer Society suggested: “people may want to avoid or limit the use of products that contain talc”.
2. Cosmetics
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) confirmed the presence of asbestos in cosmetic brands Beauty Plus Global Inc. A large scale cosmetic firm with manufacturing factories in China and other countries. Their distribution network spreads across 100 countries with major retailers like Target, Walmart, Amazon and more. In Dec 2017, a children’s makeup brand Claire’s had to recall its products after 17 samples tested from 9 different states found tremolite asbestos in all the products (US Today, 2018).
Claire’s makeup recalled for asbestos contamination
Tip: Consumers buying cosmetics which says “all-natural” is certainly not enough since the asbestos-contaminated talc used in cosmetics is an all-natural substance. It’s safer to check the ingredients on the label and avoid anything which says: talc, talcum, talcum powder, cosmetic talc and magnesium silicate on it, they are the just different terms used for the mineral, talc. Websites like Skin Deep and Made Safe can also be used to find talc-free cosmetics.
3. Cigarettes
Almost 6 decades ago Lorillard Tobacco marketed Kent cigarettes with “Micronite” filters as a high-tech safety feature contained compressed crocidolite fibres also known as “blue asbestos”. Ultimately turned out to be the most dangerous type of cigarette ever manufactured, sold 13 billion in quantity between March 1952 to May 1956.
Well, good news they don’t sell them any more!
However, we have a bigger problem to deal with, which is counterfeit cigarettes. Yes! these fake fags impose even greater health risks with a high level of tars, toxic chemicals, mould, sawdust, asbestos and in some cases human feces too (, 2017). An article published in Birmingham Mail in Oct 2017 says, “there is often no control whatsoever on the content or quality of illicit smoking material,” which gives the counterfeiters leverage to use whatever they can find to create fake fags.
Death rate when asbestos exposure was combined with smoking Source: American Thoracic Society
Tip: Although, serious health effects of smoking is not unheard of. But people who do purchase cigarettes legally, there are few ways you can identify these fake fags. Look out for spelling mistakes, wrong logos and typefaces, foreign or no health warnings at all, loose tobacco and nasty taste.
4. School Supplies
US Public Interest Research Group Education Funds conducted a test on 27 back to school supplies in 2018. The lab results found traces of asbestos (type tremolite in Playskool crayons), lead and other toxic substances in 4 out of 27 products which included Playskool crayons, The Board Dudes dry erase markers and Jot three-ring binder. The products were purchased from across the country from various bookstores, dollar stores, pharmacies, amazon and art and craft stores. (US PIRG, 2018).
Tip: Parents can look at some of these online resources, so they don’t end up buying toxic school supplies: Made Safe, Centre for Health Environment & Justice and Mamavation.
5. Bowling Balls
Historically, asbestos and fiberglass were used to make bowling balls. Asbestos was used as a filler in plastic Ebonite bowling balls. Donald Vanni, owner of Arcata Bowl in LA was an active retiree and operated the bowling alley between 1957- 1986. One of his services was to drill custom fit finger holes in the balls. Although holes were cleaned there were no special measures taken to stop it from spreading in the environment or onto the fingers of the bowlers. His routine work led to his diagnosis in 2012 and subsequent death in 2013 from mesothelioma, which normally develops after 10-15 years of regular exposure.
Don and Fred Vanni on the night of Arcata Bowl’s closure in 2001. Source: Arcata Eye
Honeywell International Inc. was sued to supply him the filler, which was the discarded brake dust from their Bendix brake manufacturing plant in New York. Instead of safely disposing of the asbestos material Honeywell chose to sell it for as a filler in commercial products. On April 19, 2019, Vanni family was awarded $4, 397, 716 as compensation for Honeywell’s 40% liability towards Donald’s death.
Tip: Although bowling balls now are made of plastic or polyurethane it’s not unusual to encounter bowling balls that have been used for decades and might still contain traces of asbestos. You should be aware of how asbestos is commonly identified.
The infamous asbestos or ACM is commonly thought in relation to construction and industries. But it’s astonishing to know that asbestos might be in our day-to-day items. However, as long as asbestos is not floating in the air we can co-exits, all we need to do is be aware and cautious of the surroundings.
Found Asbestos in your property? Contact

Understanding water damage restoration and secondary damage

Understanding water damage restoration and secondary damage

Water loss events can be from many sources and the goal of this informative blog is to help you the reader understand why the source and category of water is important and understanding the potential damage and corrective actions required.

Firstly “Restoration” at its root meaning it is described as: “To return something to its nearly original state or form” or often “return to a pre-loss condition”. To provide some clarity behind the meaning of industry jargon this is simply to return the property or possession back to the owner in the same condition or better than prior to any damage occurring.

The industry classifies restoration into 3 phases, mitigation, restoration and reconstruction. Here we will look at mitigation as this is where the focus should primarily be.


• the action of reducing the severity, seriousness, or painfulness of something.

This is simple, the quicker action is taken the better chance the restorer has of reducing the severity or seriousness and preventing secondary damage, it is worth noting with water loss this is to be decided in minutes and hours not days and the category of water needs to be taken into account and the materials affected.


Category 1 Water – Refers to a source of water that does not pose substantial threat to humans and classified as “clean water”. Examples are broken water supply lines, tub or sink overflows or appliance malfunctions that involves water supply lines.

Category 2 Water – Refers to a source of water that contains a significant degree of chemical, biological or physical contaminants and causes discomfort or sickness when consumed or even exposed to. Known as “grey water”. This type carries micro organisms and nutrients of micro organisms. Examples are toilet bowls with urine (no feces), and water discharge from dishwashers or washing machines.

Category 3 Water – Known as “black water” and is grossly unsanitary. This water contains unsanitary agents, harmful bacteria and fungi, causing severe discomfort or sickness. Type 3 category are contaminated water sources that affects the indoor environment. This category includes water sources from sewage, seawater, rising water from rivers or streams, ground surface water or standing water. Category 2 Water or Grey Water that is not promptly removed from the structure and or have remained stagnant may be re classified as Category 3 Water. Toilet back flows that originates from beyond the toilet trap is considered black water contamination regardless of visible content or colour.

The category water can increase every 24 hours if left and no control measures put in place like air movement, heat and dehumidification. Dehumidification by itself does not dry properties but is very useful in slowing down damage and preventing secondary damage from high humidity. Air movement is key across a surface to cause evaporation and speed drying.
You will see the longer water is left in or on a material the higher the Category it becomes, this time is subject to varying conditions in the environment such as temperature but more often ignored is the age and condition of the property. Future blogs will go deeper into drying goals and standards but to summarise quickly a moisture content of 16 % is desired in water loss events. If you have built your own home or have building experience you may know that 18% is the maximum and in some cases 20% is permitted in durable materials such as H1.2 treated timber, so why the difference. The IICRC standard S500 for water damage restoration states 16% as the focus is on preventing secondary damage such as mould growth, NZS3602:2003 for pre line inspections by the local council requires 18% – 20% as this mainly refers to new builds or new building materials being installed with limited microbial of fungal conditions when compared to a property that has been standing for several years.

With all this in mind a simple leak from plumbing or a broken washing machine or dishwasher can escalate easily into a category equivalent to a sewerage leak. Mitigation is key, a certified restorer such as NZRS can apply mitigation procedures within hours of the water loss event preventing secondary damage and mitigating the loss.

Building Code of practice
How often do we hear the building has been built to code, in short this is built to the minimum standard, wouldn’t it be nice to hear only part of the property was built to code the remainder was built to exceed code and all the warranties of the installed materials are complete. How many building materials retain there warrantee if affected by water for prolonged periods? Gib recommends 18% moisture content but Winstone Wallboards recommends a lower moisture content of 12% or less at installation so these materials cant stand extended periods of moisture damage, 5% raise in moisture change can result in a 1mm dimensional movement in timber, this can damage materials past the point of warrantee cover.

The time between the water loss event and mitigation is crucial to returning the property or possession to a pre loss condition without the replacement of materials. Secondary damage due moisture and mould can be reduced or even eliminated if the environment is controlled and the materials dried in the shortest time practicable. Some materials cannot be restored.
NZRS can evaluate the costs of restoration compared to replacement of the material or possession if mitigation procedures are swift.

References: –
ANSI/IICRC S520 – Mould Remediation
ANSI/IICRC S500 Water Damage Restoration
GIB – Best Practice Guidelines
NZS 3602:2003 – Timber and wood-based products for use in building

Excellent Carpet Cleaning from NZRS

“Darrell and the team cleaned the carpets at the school this year, 2018, and we have never seen the carpets look this good. The feedback from the teachers has been great so we’re over the moon and consequently have booked NZRS to come back at the end of the year to clean them again.  From a property managers point of view things went smoothly, they arrived on time, finished the job to schedule and were good to deal with.”

Mike Prictor

Property Manager

Freyberg School

Wed 1st February we launch the Meth Awareness Series #1

We invite you to join us for the first in a 12 part series of Meth Awareness. Independent companies from within the industry have formed a panel of experts, to answer some of the tough questions that face us in 2017.

With the new draft standards that are up for comment, we will explore how this is affecting properties throughout New Zealand. From a Testing, Decon and Insurance perspective.

The Meth Awareness series #1 is available to you from 1st Feb – 1st April 2017. After this time you can access the Q&A via LinkedIn page.