July 24, 2017

Mr Fluffy is the name of a Canberra-based company who sold loose-filled asbestos as ceiling insulation in the 1960s and 1970s.

Though much was known about the dangers of asbestos and its effects on the respiratory system, a total ban on the use and sale of asbestos was not implemented in Australia until 2003.

Asbestos was widely used in the building industry between 1930 and 1980, though most of it is contained within wall sheeting, tiles and putty and is generally considered safe (unless disturbed and the asbestos particles become air-borne).

However, Mr Fluffy used loose filled asbestos as ceiling insulation, blowing it into roof cavities across Canberra and NSW for almost two decades.

From 1998-1993 the ACT government tried to do a clean-up program, but after an audit many years later proved that it had been unsuccessful, they created a buy-back scheme to purchase and demolish any houses proven to have been affected by Mr Fluffy insulation.

In NSW, the Department of Fair Trading have carried out a number of initiatives to identify homes containing loose-filled asbestos. Most recently, they offered free testing for homes considered high risk, which included:

If the homes contained the asbestos, the owners were then eligible for the Voluntary Purchase and Demolition Program.

This initiative has since closed, with 45,361 homes tested and 139 confirmed to contain Mr Fluffy insulation. The majority of these are now in discussions for voluntary purchase/demolition.

Though both the NSW and ACT governments have done extensive research in identifying which homes have been affected by Mr Fluffy and other companies participating in loose filled asbestos insulation at the time, there is no definite way to know except via official testing.

If your home was built before 1980 and you are concerned about the possible presence of loose-filled asbestos, please do not take samples on your own as this could present a health risk. Asbestos sample collection should only be done by a licensed and experienced professional.

WHSE Consulting provides simple testing for asbestos that can give you peace of mind about the presence of asbestos in your home, or at least help you be informed so you can consider your options. We have conducted thousands of asbestos inspections over the years, including 650 as part of the NSW government’s program.

Our process includes:

  • Visiting your home
  • Inspecting the area
  • Taking 3 samples
  • Sending it to a NATA (National Association of Testing Authorities) accredited laboratory for testing
  • Issuing you with a report on whether any of the samples contained asbestos (and what type of asbestos was found)

If your sample tests positive, we can then advise you on your options, such as contacting NSW Fair Trading or the ACT Government Asbestos Response Taskforce to discuss your options.

For more information on asbestos inspections and testing, please call Steven at WHSE Consulting on 0438 932 115 or contact us.