Environmental protection and public safety of your home

| September 2, 2016

We all want to live in a home that is safe for ourselves and our families. Safronia Benasic says the Government, in particular the ACT Government, could do more to ensure the health and safety of the community.

The fundamental right of every Australian is to live in a house and know that where you’re living is safe.

There is little known about what the effects to humans are long term being exposed to Synthetic Mineral Fibres (SMF) – in particular loose fill insulation – however there is sufficient evidence to suggest it is not a healthy product and is non-bio-degradable, the same as asbestos.

The problems for health issues arise when there appears to be discrepancy’s from State to Territory in Australian laws when it comes to SMF safe handling and practices.

For example, responsibilities and duties of manufacturers in The National Occupational Health and Safety Commission state that “The manufacturing process should be so designed that the lowest workable amount of fibres become airborne. Appropriate professional advice from, for example, an industrial ventilation engineer” may be needed.

However in Canberra there seems to be no legislation enforcing the above recommended practices. Stopping registered professionals walking through your property with this insulation as you hired them to remove it. NSW Work Safe does have legislation regarding this matter, but ACT does not adhere to this practice.

Creating awareness on safe insulation and how to protect yourself and your family is the main objective of creating this blog by providing people with knowledge to ask questions and enforce measures to prevent professionals that might want to remove it and choose to walk through your house with it, which is classified as an unsafe practice. Training and instruction of operators of roof insulation removal need to be scrutinized in Canberra when it comes to the handle of hazardous material such as SMF. Safety information on dust, fumes and air quality are areas that are to be addressed when it comes to people’s safety, and it certainly is not recommended to have it walked through your house.

We can try our best, but the Government should be doing more, in particular the ACT Government, on any matter that may affect the health and safety of the community, considering there is very little understanding of what synthetic mineral fibres are.

In NSW you can incur heavy fines and possibly face criminal charges for illegal disposal, as SMF is to be treated like asbestos. In Canberra though, there seems to be no legislation to enforce this. This could lead to contaminated sites that have not been registered as “contaminated” due to illegal disposal of SMF.

Everyone deserves the highest level of health and safety protection when you have SMF insulation in your house. It should also be a fundamental right to be provided with a conclusive and accurate report when it comes to loose fill insulation material identification tests being carried out by professionals.

The World Health Organization has listed SMF to be a toxic and hazardous material, and NSW Work Safe also acknowledges this; however, ACT Government seems to be resilient to these practices.

The following resources assist in classifying synthetic mineral fibre hazards (classification: possibly carcinogenic to humans).