Mr. Fluffy – The Silent Killer

During the 1960’s and 1970’s a contamination event occurred throughout the ACT and parts of NSW known as Mr. Fluffy. The term ‘Mr. Fluffy’ was coined to represent two insulation companies which imported and installed loose-fill asbestos into roof spaces within homes and buildings throughout Canberra and parts of New South Wales.

What is Mr. Fluffy?

Mr. fluffy is loose fill asbestos (raw crushed asbestos) which is not bonded or compressed with any other materials. This form of asbestos is known as ‘friable’ as opposed to the common ‘bonded’ asbestos such as asbestos cement sheeting which is non-friable. In most cases, the Mr. Fluffy insulation consists of brown asbestos (amosite), though instances of blue asbestos (crocidolite) have been identified. Loose-fill asbestos has a flossy appearance and is usually blueish grey or white in colour.

Where is it found?

Mr. Fluffy insulation was predominantly installed throughout the Canberra region; however, many cases of Mr. Fluffy have been identified throughout NSW. There are over 1022 identified Mr. Fluffy houses throughout the ACT and 151 so far identified throughout NSW. These numbers will continue to increase, especially across NSW, as the Mr. Fluffy companies are believed to have sold sacks of loose-fill asbestos directly to homeowners for DIY jobs making it difficult to pinpoint the number of homes affected. It is estimated that 30,000 people have lived in affected homes. Mr. Fluffy insulation was originally pumped into the ceiling cavities of homes though, when disturbed the asbestos fibres become airborne and can travel into other areas of the house. While fibres have been regularly found throughout the living areas, the biggest contamination is in the ceiling, walls, and subfloors.

Health Impacts

Exposure to asbestos fibres can lead to a large range of health issues which usually occur 10 to 20 years after initial exposure. The most common diseases which arise from asbestos exposure include asbestosis, lung cancer, mesothelioma, and pleural disease.

A study carried out at the ANU identified that men living in Mr Fluffy homes were two and half times more likely to be diagnosed with mesothelioma than men not living in these houses. It was also noted that there were no cases of mesothelioma among women who had lived in a Mr Fluffy house. This may be because men were entering the ceiling cavity of their homes more often than women. Living in a Mr. Fluffy house can also cause significant psychological distress. An ACT Asbestos Health Study identified that one quarter of Mr. Fluffy affected homeowners who responded to a survey reported high level of psychological distress. The thought of knowing you may have exposed your children and family to such a harmful substance can weigh very heavily on someone’s mind.

A Canberran, found out last year that he had been living in a Mr. fluffy house for 28 years, despite the fact he received a letter from the ACT Building Control confirming a negative asbestos survey result. This highlights the importance of getting your house tested as sometimes if can be found in hard to access areas of the house and is easily missed.

It is really important to get your house tested if you are unsure in anyway because it does not just affect the occupants of the house but it could be a tradesperson (electrician, plumber or builder) who may also be exposed.
If you have any concerns and want to get your house tested for asbestos, please get in touch with us and we will organise one of our expert consultants to come out and have a look around.

Crystalline Silica Fact Sheet

What is crystalline silica?

Crystalline silica is a mineral present in products including shale, sandstone, concrete, bricks and manufactured stone. When these materials are cut, sanded or drilled, silica can be released into the air.

Common work industries that generate respirable silica dust include:

  • Manufacturing of stone countertops;
  • Brick, concrete or stone cutting;
  • Abrasive blasting;
  • Clay and stone processing machine operations;
  • Paving and surfacing; and
  • Mining, quarrying and mineral ore treating processes.

What does exposure to Respirable Crystalline Silica RCS) cause?

Inhalation of Respirable Crystalline Silica (RCS) can lead to silicosis – an irreversible lung disease caused by the scarring of lung tissue resulting in a loss of lung function.

Silicosis can develop or continue to progress even after exposure to RCS has stopped.

Responsibilities of the PCBU

PCBUs must ensure that no person at the workplace is exposed to a substance above its exposure standard and must reduce exposures so far as is reasonably practicable.​

PCBUs must undertake personal exposure monitoring for substances with an exposure standard if they are not certain (on reasonable grounds) as to whether or not the exposure standard is exceeded.

​A PCBU must review any control measures implemented, if a workplace exposure standard for a substance has been exceeded.

How can ELS help?

Our trained and experienced consultants can undertake monitoring for respirable crystalline silica at your work place and provide a clear, comprehensive report identifying worker exposure and effectiveness of controls to ensure your workers are not unnecessarily exposed to silica dust.

Exposure Standard

As of the July 1st 2020 Safe Work Australia has set a workplace exposure standard of:

  • 0.05mg/m3 over an 8-hour eight-hour time weighted average.

Exposure Monitoring

Exposure monitoring is carried out by sampling the air a worker is breathing as they conduct a typical work shift. ELS use air battery operated air monitoring pumps with connected tube and dust sampling device called a cyclone, which is attached to the shirt on the shoulder, so that the cyclone sits within the workers breathing zone. The monitor collects air for a work shift, typically 6 – 8 hours, and the filter is then analysed at a NATA accredited lab for respirable dust.

How to reduce Silica Dust:

A combination of controls is usually necessary to control exposure. Wet processes and water suppression systems should be used to prevent dust generation and disbursement. Ventilation and good house-keeping can help to reduce exposure.

Put Safety First with Asbestos Sample Testing in Sydney

Put Safety First with Asbestos Sample Testing in Sydney

Environmental & Laboratory Solutions is proud to offer comprehensive asbestos sample testing in Sydney. We have a state-of-the-art laboratory staffed with experienced and professional technicians. Our team dedicates themselves to confirming the safety of working environments by testing for a variety of contaminants.

Environmental & Laboratory Solutions’ new location can access all points of Sydney to provide prompt and thorough service for your business. Our team’s experience is extensive, and with our new lab, we guarantee a comprehensive examination with our asbestos sample testing in Sydney. Once we examine your workplace, you’ll either know what to fix or know that your team is safe from the dangers of asbestos filaments.

Asbestos sample testing in Sydney will contribute towards your asbestos survey / register which a mandatory requirement for commercial buildings built before 2003. The Work Health and Safety Act of 2011 establishes that all businesses must ensure that workers and other persons are not at risk from regular operation of the business and work conducted therein. The Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011 and the “How to manage and control asbestos in the workplace” Code of Practice 2011 also specifically require attentive asbestos sample testing in Sydney.

These are essential regulatory codes and touch on a critical workplace consideration – long-term safety and well-being. Fortunately, when you have a broad view of the future for your employees and clients, that shows in many ways and provides comfort and satisfaction, resulting in employees that remain with you and customers that trust you. If you have any questions, contact us today to get answers or to get started.

Operate heavy machinery safely with Our Workplace Noise Assessment

Operate heavy machinery safely with Our Workplace Noise Assessment

Often overlooked, noise pollution is a significant problem that impacts worker efficiency in a variety of workplaces. While some amount of noise is inevitable whenever you have people working in a space together, there are several innovating solutions to manage the noise in an environment.

Environmental & Laboratory Solutions provides an effective and comprehensive workplace noise assessment. We bring scientific accuracy to a problem that would ordinarily only be stated in vague terms, if noticed at all. Our team has years of experience thinking through this kind of issue and developing solutions to the problem.

There are many ways to address a noise issue. Depending on the results of our workplace noise assessment, we may suggest some modifications to your work area layout or even installing certain materials that are designed to counteract noise exposure. Very often, when there are distractions, the costs to your business and employees accrue without notice through distractions and difficulties focusing.

With a comprehensive workplace noise assessment, you can provide a healthy environment for your employees. Environmental & Laboratory Solutions has experience with providing the key advice and answers to get your workplace as efficient and worker-friendly as possible. We strive to keep our pricing competitive and will do everything we can to make sure that our assessment is budget-friendly for you. Contact us today to learn more or schedule a workplace noise assessment.

Get Tested in an Asbestos Laboratory with ELS

Get Tested in an Asbestos Laboratory with Environmental & Laboratory Solutions

The knowledge that asbestos is a serious and dangerous consideration for buildings built before a certain time is commonplace now. If you’re seeking an asbestos laboratory to conduct air and environmental testing in your building, you’re making the right move. Environmental & Laboratory Solutions is a professional business that conducts a variety of tests and services to ensure that you and your workers are safe.

Allow us to assist you with cost-effective testing for asbestos in our laboratory, which will help you to reduce the risks of mesothelioma, asbestosis, and other conditions that can afflict your workers and the public due to long-term, chronic exposure. Our techniques will reveal if there are other risk factors, or simply give you the peace of mind needed to confirm that your people are safe.

We have been in business for nearly a decade and have worked with a variety of high-profile clients. Some of these clients include Queensland Health, Queensland Rail, The University of Queensland & JLL. Our work for them has ranged from pre-demolition consultation to conducting airborne asbestos fibre monitoring and asbestos ID analysis in our asbestos laboratory.

The combination of service quality, technical experience, industry knowledge, and reasonable cost have helped retain these clients as we conduct large-scale projects for them. We are happy to work with businesses and organisations in a long-term capacity and build a relationship with you that will last. Contact us today to find out more or to schedule an initial assessment.

Turn To An Asbestos Lab For Reliable Sample Testing

Turn to an Asbestos Lab for Reliable Sample Testing to Ensure Worker Safety

For decades, asbestos was among the most common building materials in use across Australia. Its versatility, however, is matched only by the potential health risks it poses. Though asbestos usage fell out of favour early in the 1980s and it ultimately received a total ban, there are many structures around the country which still contain asbestos in some form. If disturbed or improperly handled, it could still pose a risk to you and your other employees working on the job site. However, it is not necessarily easy to visually identify asbestos. Lab analysis is the only way to be sure.

At Environmental & Laboratory Solutions, we have provided access to our fast and reliable asbestos lab services for nearly a decade. When you require a quick identification so you can proceed with planning for mitigation and the continuation of work, we deliver a dependably high-value service. To ensure accurate results, it’s essential to follow proper sample acquisition procedures, including taking precautions to avoid any airborne asbestos fibres, such as wearing a P2-rated dust mask. Complete sampling guidelines can be found here, although you do not have to do so yourself. For maximum convenience, we can arrange for sampling to be taken by our trained consultants.

We make reports available promptly and include detailed results, including the type of asbestos identified if any was present. Armed with this information, you can make smart choices about how to proceed with creating a safer, healthier work environment. To take advantage of our asbestos lab testing, please contact us to make arrangements at your convenience.

Choosing an Asbestos Building Inspector

Choosing an Asbestos Building Inspector in Brisbane Made Simple

How much asbestos is in your building? For many, this can be a difficult question to answer, especially if you operate your business out of an older structure. Knowing where it is — and taking steps to minimise any risk it may pose, if necessary — is of vital importance. How can you determine whether there is any risk to consider, especially if you plan to undertake renovations at some point in the future? While the age of the building is one factor to consider, asbestos can easily lurk just out of sight. A licensed and experienced asbestos building inspector in Brisbane can uncover these potentially dangerous secrets.

At Environmental & Laboratory Solutions, we proudly provide a straightforward way to fulfil your WHS obligations with reliable, accurate data about the potential risks inside your building. With more than half a dozen very experienced and fully licensed asbestos assessors on our team, we’re well-positioned to dispatch an asbestos building inspector to your Brisbane location whenever required. We structure our reports to make your job easier and your employees safer.

How do we accomplish this? By creating a detailed register of any asbestos found within your building, and by using strict criteria to classify the risks posed by each. Alongside operating as your asbestos building inspector in Brisbane, we can also build off this report to create a complete Asbestos management plan for your firm. By placing your trust in our experience, dedication, and proven track record, you can achieve compliance and safety together. For more information, contact us by phone or via email.

Breathe Easier With Reliable Asbestos Air Testing On Your Work Site

Breathe Easier With Reliable Asbestos Air Testing On Your Work Site

The material that the asbestos is found in makes it non-friable or friable, i.e. asbestos in fibre cement is classed as non-friable as the asbestos fibres are held together tightly and less likely to be release from the material they are found in. Asbestos in ‘low density board’ or vermiculate is classed as friable as this material is softer and easier to break meaning the asbestos fibres are easily released, constituting a serious airborne health hazard.

In the wake of a removal job, or in an environment where removal work is ongoing, asbestos air testing is essential. Primarily of use to determine that no airborne fibres remain, or to ensure that staff working on a site where asbestos is present are not accidentally exposed, ongoing testing is a necessity and may be a WHS requirement. At Environmental & Laboratory Services, we provide easy access to this vital service. With the ability to generate data-driven reports on air quality and asbestos concentrations on-site and without delay, our team can be a critical force in ensuring that all employees remain safe. At the same time, you can trust that you’ve met your compliance requirements.

Learn more about our asbestos air testing services or start planning for the deployment of monitoring equipment on site as soon as possible. At Environmental & Laboratory Solutions, our primary purpose is to protect you, your health, and the environment — get in touch to find out how we can achieve those goals together.

Asbestos Soil Sampling

Using Asbestos Soil Sample Testing in Queensland to Determine How to Proceed With a Project

The easiest safety threats to nullify are the ones that are easy to identify. Unfortunately, when it comes to asbestos, it is often not as easy to determine whether this dangerous material is present without testing a sample. You may already know that some old building materials are on site and are likely to contain asbestos, but a positive confirmation is necessary before you can make proper arrangements for removal. That’s simple enough — but what about when there are concerns asbestos may lurk elsewhere, like in the soil? Improper disposal or demolition in the past, or incidental contamination from work with asbestos that took place nearby, can trap fibres in the ground.

Left undisturbed, they don’t pose a risk — but kicked up into clouds of dust and dirty by heavy equipment, or when disturbed due to excavation, they pose serious health threats. Asbestos exposure can have long-term ramifications and lead to the development of chronic diseases, such as mesothelioma. For that reason, whenever you suspect that there may be deeper contamination of a work site, enlisting the help of asbestos soil testing services should be a top priority. At Environmental & Laboratory Services, we provide a range of testing and sampling options that can help equip you with the information necessary for creating a safer workplace.

How to Safely Prepare for Asbestos Sample Testing

Whether you require assistance with developing a broader asbestos management plan, or you just need to confirm the presence of asbestos through sample testing in Queensland, our state of the art facilities and friendly professionals are poised to help. When dealing with potentially contaminated land, it is important to avoid disturbing any of the fibres that may be embedded within the soil. To that end, the ideal way to prepare for sample taking is to schedule a professional site visit.

By visiting the site in person, a licensed individual can undertake careful sampling using the correct protective equipment, which will not only ensure that you and others working on the site remain safe, but also that we have access to representative samples. Afterwards, we conduct a thorough analysis and present you with a report as soon as possible. Because Environmental & Laboratory Services is an independent provider of soil testing, you can trust that our sole motivation is aiding you in determining the best way to proceed.

Take Advantage of Our Experience and Rapid Turnaround Times

Remember that asbestos is rarely visible to the naked eye; you will not be able to spot it in the soil by visual inspection alone. Before breaking ground on a new project in an area where contamination is possible, ensure that you’ve planned for a thorough asbestos survey as needed. We invite you also to learn more about our sample testing procedures along with the next steps you should take. To arrange for the collection of a sample, or answers to all your asbestos-related questions, please call us today

Choosing A Lab Queensland

Choosing a Lab for Asbestos Testing in Queensland: What Should a Laboratory Do For You?

How safe is your workplace? No matter the specific industry in which your business operates, safety is of paramount importance. It is even likely there are specific workplace health and safety rules that apply to your type of business. What about the safety risks that you can’t easily see, though — like environmental hazards that might be lurking in and around the workplace? We’re talking about ACM, of course, or asbestos-containing material. With its once widespread popularity as a building material, it is still possible to encounter asbestos in older structures and installations. Current WHS rules stipulate that businesses must take appropriate steps to identify any of the potential risks associated with asbestos-containing materials.

At Environmental & Laboratory Services, our professional team of asbestos assessors is ideally positioned to assist your business in identifying potential hazards present on around the work site. Our fully equipped asbestos testing laboratory allows us to pursue positive identifications, including not only the presence of asbestos but also the specific type and class (e.g., Class A friable or Class B non-friable) of fibres. With the understanding that time is of the essence when dealing with potential ACM and the need to formulate a plan for mitigation, we can complete testing within one working day — or even faster as necessary. How can you determine if you will need our asbestos testing laboratory services?

A Dependable Option for Asbestos Testing in Queensland

One of the challenges inherent in trying to determine what to submit for testing is the wide variety of places that asbestos can appear in an older structure. If you have not already considered one, a full asbestos site survey and register can streamline the process by helping to identify areas of concern. Older materials that commonly contain some form of asbestos include:

  • Certain styles of vinyl sheet flooring and vinyl flooring tiles
  • Insulating material, especially around pipes and hoses
  • Old electrical insulation, wiring covers, and switchboard backings
  • External cladding such as imitation brick, certain types of wall sheeting
  • Older roofing

Some of these materials are easier to sample than others which can pose more significant challenges. While only a small piece is necessary to make an identification, be aware that even gathering a sample can be a hazardous endeavour. If you do not have the required protective gear, please ask Environmental & Laboratory Services to assist you in planning for safe collection.

Keep Yourself and Your Staff Safe On-Site

In the fight against asbestos and the dangers it can pose, knowing is half the battle. Our team is here to help you gain that knowledge and, if necessary, to help make plans for how you will handle ACM mitigation in the future. Please note that we only offer testing, management, and ongoing monitoring services; other third-party professionals will be required to carry out licensed removal work in accordance with your plan. To find out more or to arrange for submission of a sample, contact Environmental & Laboratory Services now.

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