Loose asbestos home insulation fears

Deadly loose asbestos present in a large number of houses in Canberra may also be in some south-west homes.

The Canberra-based Mr Fluffy company insulated about 1000 homes in the national capital with the product in the 1960s and ’70s. It was applied by blowing the loose fibres into roof and wall spaces.

Despite a removal program asbestos fibres have now been found to have infiltrated living spaces, posing a health hazard and leading to houses being abandoned.

A long-time south-west resident has recalled there was a Mr Fluffy agent operating in the Warrnambool area about the same time.

The Standard has since contacted a number of long-time residents and confirmed there was an agent operating in the area.

One recalled a door-to-door salesman calling at his parents’ Grassmere farm trying to sell the product. They didn’t, but said it was installed in at least one house in the Grassmere area.

It is unknown whether the Mr Fluffy businesses were linked or if the product was the same as that installed in Canberra houses.

Other blow-in products have been used, including shredded paper treated with a fire retardant chemical, and wool.

South-west asbestos removal professionals said they had not encountered loose-fill asbestos in the region.

Warrnambool licensed asbestos removalist Andrew Morrison said he had not come across the Mr Fluffy product in the seven years he’s been in the business, or in the couple of years he worked for another operator.

“I have seen some blow-in products but I haven’t seen asbestos,” Mr Morrison said.

“That doesn’t mean it wasn’t used in the area.”

Fourteen NSW councils are also investigating if the product was used in their areas.

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