Loose-fill Asbestos

North Sydney is one of 28 local government areas in NSW where loose-fill asbestos may have been used as insulation in ceilings.

Loose fill asbestos is a problem that should not be ignored because, over time, airborne asbestos can move from the ceiling space to living areas.

The NSW Government is now offers free sample testing and/or assistance under the Government's Voluntary Purchase and Demolition program.

For more information about the program, including details of the voluntary purchase program, click here.

Home owners should not undertake refurbishment work on walls, ceilings, wall sockets, cornices or sub-floor areas without assessment and advice. Remember, accessing the area may release airborne fibres into your living areas.

If asbestos is found, removal can only be undertaken by a Class A licensed removalist. If the asbestos remains in a sealed area, warning stickers should be placed on the electrical metre box and ceiling manhole to alert tradespeople to the presence of the asbestos.

 

Background

The Heads of Asbestos Coordinating Authorities (HACA) has advised Council that some houses in the North Sydney local government area may have loose-fill asbestos insulation installed by a supplier called Mr Fluffy between 1968 and 1979.

Loose-fill (friable) asbestos is a material which can be easily crumbled, pulverised or reduced to powder by hand pressure. Friable asbestos is dangerous because the fibres easily enter the air and can be inhaled by people living or working in the vicinity. Inhaling asbestos fibre may lead to asbestos-related disease such as mesothelioma.

Not all loose-fill material is asbestos. Other insulation materials, such as rockwool, fibreglass, cellulous and decayed synthetic material may look like asbestos. It is important that any loose-fill insulation is correctly identified and handled appropriately.

Previous testing of homes with loose-fill asbestos insulation indicates the risk of exposure is low if the asbestos is undisturbed and is sealed off from living areas. However, in older homes, fibres may travel down wall cavities to sub-floor areas or escape through cracks around cornices or ceiling manholes.

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