Impact Story - The Risks of 'Mr Fluffy' Insulation

Impact Story - The Risks of 'Mr Fluffy' Insulation

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

The risk of ‘Mr Fluffy’ insulation

When Australian National University epidemiologist Associate Professor Rosemary Korda first started holding public forums for Canberra residents affected by ‘Mr Fluffy’ insulation, people were very distressed.

Some residents were very concerned about future health effects of the asbestos insulation.

Others feared having to move out of their neighbourhood, losing their gardens, lower property prices and being stigmatised.

Associate Professor Korda and her colleagues set about designing a study that could give the community and the ACT Government some answers.

The researchers found about 17,000 people had lived in a Mr Fluffy house in Canberra between 1983 and 2013.

They then linked this group to the national cancer database and death records.

The study found men who lived in houses with loose-fill asbestos insulation were two and half times as likely to develop mesothelioma than those who did not live in these houses.

After the findings were released, the researchers held another public forum.

For some, the research was validation that giving up their home was justified. For others, the low absolute risk helped to allay their fears.

“We had people stand up publicly and said ‘thank you for doing this study’,” Associate Professor Korda says.

Read the full impact story here

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