The New South Wales government has announced that it is offering free inspections within homes built before 1980 in 14 local government areas. The residences, located in the southwest area of the Australian state, are believed to contain "Mr. Fluffy" loose-fill asbestos insulation.
Up to 1,000 homes could be affected by the investigation, and thirteen of them have requested to be tested. Owners of the remaining homes will have twelve months to have their ceilings checked for the material. "Air monitoring and possibly [being asked] to wear monitors to test the air...as they go about day-to-day tasks in their homes," are also strategies in the investigation.
Prolonged exposure to asbestos can cause devastating diseases, like asbestosis, lung cancer, and mesothelioma. Even if residents are not aware of their asbestos exposure today, symptoms of these illnesses can take 10 to 50 years to develop and are often untreatable by the time of diagnosis.
The New South Wales government is paying for the investigation, and many hope it will lead to similar inspections in the homes of other areas of New South Wales. This investigation comes at a time when asbestos use in underdeveloped countries continues to rise.