Health and Wellbeing

For nearly 50 years, houses affected by loose fill asbestos insulation or Mr Fluffy have been part of the Canberra community.

Over time many people have lived in, worked on or in, provided services to, or routinely visited affected houses and are interested to understand any health risks.

There can be a range of reactions to learning you have lived in, worked on or in or even visited a property affected by loose fill asbestos insulation or Mr Fluffy. Understanding any risk is the key to establishing the potential for health effects both physical and emotional.

It is important to know that just because a person has been exposed to loose fill asbestos does not mean they will develop an asbestos related medical condition.

Visitors, Neighbours, Care and Service Providers

Short periods of exposure to low-levels of asbestos like what might occur in visiting a house with Mr Fluffy insulation, carries an extremely low risk of developing asbestos related illness.

The risk to care workers and service providers visiting affected homes is no different to the risk to private visitors; short periods of exposure to low-levels of asbestos carries an extremely low risk of developing asbestos related illness.

Those who continue to visit Mr Fluffy houses should refer to their employer's occupational health and safety guidelines, which may require risk minimisation obligations such as the use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

Former Residents

Provided that the Mr Fluffy property was maintained in good condition, the residual loose fill asbestos was left undisturbed and residents did not have direct contact with the fibres through inhalation or ingestion, the risks of residing in a Mr Fluffy home are low.

Even where residents have undertaken renovations that may have breached the ceiling or wall cavities or the underfloor spaces, the risk remains low. Short periods of exposure to loose fill asbestos, as might occur during renovations, carries a low risk of developing asbestos related illness. The risk  is even lower if Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) was used.

You may be concerned about friends, family, service providers and tradespeople who visited or worked on or in your affected property. Remember that just because a person has been exposed to loose fill asbestos does not mean they will develop any asbestos related medical conditions.

You can encourage your family and friends to understand the risk and and record their details with the Taskforce.

Tradespeople

Most people who develop an asbestos related medical condition have been exposed to high concentrations of fibres, or exposed over many years, in occupational settings like mining, construction and machinery shops.

Short periods of exposure to loose fill asbestos, as might occur when working on a house with Mr Fluffy insulation, carries a low risk of developing asbestos related illness. If you used Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) as prescribed by occupational health and safety guidelines, then the risk is  even lower.

KEY DETAILS

  • Just because a person has been exposed to loose fill asbestos does not mean they will develop an asbestos related medical condition.
  • The chance of developing an asbestos related disease increases with the cumulative exposure to asbestos fibres a person breathes in during their life time.
  • Asbestos is naturally occurring mineral fibres which were used extensively in products due to their strength, insulating features and resistance to fire.
  • To date, most people who have developed asbestos-related diseases have been exposed to a relatively large number of fibres throughout their work (e.g miners, builders).
  • People who are concerned about their health should seek advice from a qualified medical practitioner who can provide an assessment of individual circumstance and exposure risks.
  • If you feel anxious or concerned access support through your doctor, ACT Medicare Local on 6287 8066, Lifeline on 13 11 14 and Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636.

For Further Information

  1. Check the list.
  2. Access supporting information.
  3. Consider recording your details with the Taskforce.
  4. If needed, seek support and advice from a health professional.
  5. Find out more about Taskforce engagement events.
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