Asbestos alert: Homeowners warned not to take samples

Loose-fill asbestos insulation as shown on WorkCover website.

Loose-fill asbestos insulation as shown on WorkCover website.

BOMBALA Shire Council has issued a warning that some homes in the area may have ceiling insulation containing potentially deadly asbestos.

Council general manager Ngaire McCrindle said from the late 1960s to the end of the 1970s a Canberra-based 

contractor installed loose-fill ceiling insulation containing asbestos into homes around the Canberra region.

Ms McCrindle said some homes in Queanbeyan and a number on the NSW South Coast also had the same insulation material installed.

The material was sometimes referred to as “Mr Fluffy” insulation, she said.

In Canberra, a large-scale removal program was initiated from approximately the late 1980s and early 1990s. 

It now appears that some of these homes require additional work.

Loose-fill insulation products were usually supplied in bags and were either sprinkled by hand in ceilings spaces or blown in using a hopper system with air blowers.

The material differs from fibreglass batts in that it is not formed into sheets.

Mr McCrindle said at this time Bombala council has had no reports of “Mr Fluffy” homes in our area.

“That said residents are advised to exercise caution when dealing with any loose-fill ceiling insulation products,” Ms McCrindle said.

“It is possible that there are ‘Mr Fluffy’ homes in our area that have not been identified. 

“It is also possible that loose-fill insulation products of a different name may contain asbestos,” she said.

If anyone has concerns about the nature of insulation material in their home, they are advised to seek urgent advice from a registered and accredited asbestos specialist. 

Ms McCrindle stressed that homeowners should not take samples themselves.

“Home owners should not disturb, or attempt to take samples of any material that is suspected of containing asbestos,” she said.

Any sampling should be conducted by an appropriately qualified asbestos specialist only.

Visit WorkCover’s website at http://www.workcover.nsw.gov.au/online-searches/Pages/adl-search.aspx for more information.

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