NEARLY two square metres of broken asbestos found near Canley Vale High School and a sporting field has sparked residents' health concerns.
Cabramatta firefighters were checking hydrants last Tuesday morning when they found asbestos embedded in the ground near Sherwin Park on a privately owned site near Ada and Togil streets.
"We found the asbestos smashed up and it looked like it had been there for a long time, because there was grass growing through the area and it didn't look like it was freshly cultivated," said Cabramatta station officer John Moore.
"It's as if there was an old building which had been demolished."
Mr Moore said it was important for residents to be aware of the health risks of asbestos.
"Even two square metres of broken asbestos is harmful," he said.
Fairfield City Council officers were alerted soon after firefighters secured the area.
A council spokesman said the fibro-like material may have been dumped on the land.
"Some of the larger, obvious visual pieces were removed to safeguard the community," he said.
"Council is currently in the process of contacting the owner of the private property whom responsibility falls upon, to remove the possible asbestos dumping."
The council couldn't disclose the identity of the land owner.
The NSW Ministry of Health's website says inhaling asbestos fibres could cause asbestosis, lung cancer and mesothelioma.
"The symptoms do not usually appear until about 20 to 30 years after the first exposure," says its website. "Disturbing or removing it unsafely can create a hazard."