SICKENED: 'Getting tackled, heads rubbed into the ground'
FEARS Warwick children might have been exposed to asbestos poisoning have swept through the junior rugby league community after a major playing field tested positive for the potentially deadly contaminant.
Soil tests conducted on Thursday showed traces of asbestos on the Collegians Junior Rugby League football field, on Jackie Howe Dr in Warwick.
The news has left parents and club members dumbfounded.
"I feel shocked, I guess," Collegians president Deb Scanlan said.
On Tuesday, the Collegians Junior Rugby League Club was tipped off about the possibility of contamination by a third party who had dealings with the same earthmoving contractors that supplied topsoil to Collegians in 2017.
Subsequent soil testing conducted by Asbestos Removal Queensland identified positive traces of asbestos.
A meeting at the Cowboys Rugby League clubhouse on Thursday night informed parents and members of the contamination.
But other clubs from the district have also played on the field numerous times since the season began in April.
"My daughter has played on that field," Goondiwindi Boars parent Tony Webber said.
"That just turns my stomach knowing that, not only my daughter but the boys getting tackled and their heads rubbed into the ground and all that sort of stuff.
"They get right in amongst it, pulling up roots and tearing it all up.
"And it is dry as chips at the moment."
Warwick asbestos removalist Barry Ross said asbestos could have health implications.
"But here is no need for panic until further tests are carried out," he said.
"All we know is that it has been identified and we don't yet know what risks are involved and the proper safety precautions are being put in place."
The club, which was supposed to host the junior rugby league semi-finals next Saturday, has moved training and games to the Cowboys' field.
Specialists from the Workplace Health and Safety Queensland asbestos removal team have been sent to undertake further assessment of the field.
Southern Downs Regional Council, Workplace Health and Safety Queensland Asbestos Unit and the Darling Downs Public Health Unit have also been notified.
"The council is assisting Queensland Rugby League and relevant agencies and is awaiting further advice from WHSQ," a council spokeswoman said.
"The Club took immediate steps to contact Queensland Rugby League (QRL) to minimise any potential exposure risk.
"The field will remain quarantined until further notice."
A Queensland Rugby League spokesman said the club had taken all the right steps.
"I feel sorry for them to be honest, to have to got through that situation. They are a volunteer club-based club.
"Our priority now is to ensure our participants receive the necessary support during this difficult time."
Ms Scanlan said Collegians was awaiting further advice and did not know how long the field would be closed and what actions needed to be taken to remove the asbestos.