KiwiRail, New Zealand’s national railway, has withdrawn and is testing all its DL class locos supplied from China to ensure that staff are not exposed to asbestos risks. Recently, the presence of asbestos was discovered in a soundproofing compound used in the locomotives. The compound – a solid resin – contains 5% Chrysotile (White Asbestos). It is either coated with paint or sealed beneath panelling, thus would seem to pose no immediate health risk. However, New Zealand law is strict on the subject of asbestos and the loco specification explicitly said there was to be none. The matter is under discussion with the manufacturers.
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