One Canberra family has been dealt heartbreaking news, after they purchased what they hoped would be their “forever home”, only to discover the home was part of the Mr Fluffy insulation scheme and was filled with potentially asbestos-filled batts.
The discovery came during the installation of a bathroom fan by an electrician who had entered the ceiling cavity and uncovered the find. The family had committed to significant renovations on the home, which was built in 1927. The concern is now that the family themselves may have been exposed, with homeowner Dean Papas explaining that they “replaced a number of downlights and all the fibres, I still remember, were falling in my hair and in my face.”
“I know my trades have been exposed and I think that’s the hardest part,” he said.
Mr Fluffy was the name given to a business in Canberra in the 60s and 70s which used loose-fill asbestos fibres for insulation in homes, and no records were ever kept of the number of homes affected.
According to the ACT Asbestos Response Taskforce, the property was included when more than 65,000 homes were inspected as part of a removal program between 1989 and 1993. It’s estimated that close to 1,000 homes may not have been remediated entirely, and some were missed.
The head of the Asbestos Response Taskforce, Lea Durie, acknowledged the likely presence of more affected properties in Canberra, and encouraged all buyers to ensure thorough checks of properties.
“What we would do is encourage anybody who thinks that they may have loose-fill asbestos in their property or are considering buying a property that they are concerned about that they engage an asbestos assessor to investigate,” she said.
Mr Papas’ home will be demolished per the taskforce recommendation, and the cleared block will be permitted to be built upon.