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/Factsheet_print/Tenants_and_home_owners/Loose_fill_asbestos_insulation/Information_for_residents_of_affected_properties/_Living_in_an_affected_home.pdf
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Standard fact sheet.

Living in an affected home 

With loose-fill asbestos insulation 

We understand that those living in a home with loose-fill asbestos will naturally have questions about how to keep themselves and their families safe.

Key facts

  • Asbestos fibres that are breathed in pose health risks
  • The risk of developing an asbestos-related disease depends mainly on how many fibres have been breathed in and for how long
  • There are steps you can take to prevent exposure to asbestos from loose-fill asbestos insulation

Loose-fill asbestos insulation
What can I do to control exposure in my home?
Renting
What should I tell tradespeople working on my property?

Loose-fill asbestos insulation 

What is loose-fill asbestos insulation? 

Asbestos is the name given to a group of naturally occurring mineral fibres that were used in a wide range of industrial and domestic products due to their strength, insulating features and resistance to fire.

Loose-fill asbestos insulation is raw asbestos that has been crushed into a fine state and installed in ceiling spaces. During the 1960s and 1970s loose-fill asbestos insulation was installed in some residential and commercial premises in Australia.

One company, which traded in the Australian Capital Territory as Mr Fluffy, was the main installer of loose-fill asbestos for insulating homes. While most properties that are affected are located in the ACT, a small number of properties in New South Wales have been identified as containing loose-fill asbestos insulation.

What is the risk of developing an asbestos-related disease? 

For information, visit the Who is at risk of developing asbestos-related diseases page on The Department of Health website.

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What can I do to control exposure in my home? 

The most common place to find loose-fill asbestos insulation is in the ceiling space. While originally placed only in the ceiling space, it may have moved into the wall cavities and into subfloors areas. There are things you can do to avoid breathing in these fibres and to minimise the chance that they enter living spaces.

Maintain the home in good condition 

Arrange for a Class A Licensed Asbestos Removalist to seal up any gaps, cracks or holes between living spaces and areas where there may be loose-fill asbestos. For example, fix any gaps around cornices and skirtings, doors and window frames, vents and exhaust fans, light fittings and manholes.

It is important to regularly check and maintain the condition of your home to minimise the chance of fibres entering the living areas. Tenants can request these actions from landlords. Prevent access to all areas that may contain fibres

Any work that involves removing the loose-fill asbestos or removing dust or dirt known to contain asbestos must be done by a Class A Licensed Asbestos Removalist.

Any sealing of areas which may have contained loose-fill asbestos must be done by a competent person who is trained in the identification and safe handling of, and suitable control measures for, asbestos and asbestos containing material.

Any specific trades required to make areas safe (plumbers, electricians) must be trained in the identification, safe handling, and the use of suitable control measures for asbestos and asbestos containing material.

These trades should work with a Class A removalist to ensure that appropriate work practices, correct use of PPE and appropriate decontamination of tools, persons and property occurs.

For areas that do not contain loose fill asbestos, sealing must be done by a competent person who is trained in the identification and safe handling of, and suitable control measures for, asbestos and asbestos containing material.

Take care when making alterations or renovating 

Avoid making holes that might allow the asbestos fibres to enter living spaces or spread outside.

Seek the advice of a competent person (such as a licensed asbestos assessor) before any home renovation or building work is undertaken. This includes:

  • alteration to any walls, ceilings, or wall- or ceiling-mounted electrical switches and sockets
  • removal of cornices
  • new cabling or electrical switches or outlets recessed in walls
  • accessing subfloor areas.

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Renting 

What should I do if someone is renting my property? 

You or your agent must tell a prospective tenant before they sign a tenancy agreement if you know that the property has significant health or safety risks, such as loose-fill asbestos.

Landlords must ensure the home is well maintained and the occupants should be made aware that they should not disturb the loose-fill asbestos. It is recommended that any current and future tenants are provided with details specific to the property, such as how the manholes have been sealed.

What should I do if I am renting a property with loose-fill asbestos? 

If it is confirmed that there is loose-fill asbestos insulation in the property that you are renting, you should speak to your landlord or agent about what management steps are in place to ensure the property is habitable.

What should I tell tradespeople working on my property? 

Tradespeople working on your property should be advised of the presence of loose-fill asbestos insulation and be appropriately trained, according to the Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011 asbestos training requirements.

Even if the asbestos insulation has been removed in the past, you should advise tradespeople of this so that they are aware of the need to take precautions to avoid exposure to any residual asbestos fibres.

Any work that involves removing the loose-fill asbestos or removing dust or dirt known to contain asbestos must be done by a Class A Licensed Asbestos Removalist.

Any sealing of areas which may have contained loose-fill asbestos must be done by a competent person who is trained in the identification and safe handling of, and suitable control measures for, asbestos and asbestos containing material.

For more information, call Service NSW on 13 77 88.

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