Asbestos Testing & Abatement

Asbestos Testing

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Exposure to asbestos can increase the risk of developing:

  • Asbestosis; is a scarring of the lungs, which makes it difficult to breathe
  • Mesothelioma; a rare cancer of the lining of the chest or abdominal cavity
  • Lung cancer; smoking can greatly increase this risk
    (Source: Health Canada)

Our company can help you with the testing of suspicious material so that you know where in your house there may be asbestos containing building material. 

Any home built before the 1990s may have building products that contain asbestos fibers

It is extremely important to conduct some tests prior to renovations, if your house was built before the 1990s. Asbestos was heavily used in Canada until 1980. Starting in 1981, the Canadian government introduced a number of regulations and measures to reduce the use of asbestos. These measures caused a sharp drop in the number of asbestos containing materials produced after 1981. It is still quite common to find asbestos in houses built after 1981. The use of asbestos in construction materials was not banned in Canada until 2018.

Asbestos fibers are not harmful unless they are released into the air. When they are released, the fibers break down into tiny particles. The particles become airborne, and we inhale them. Then they collect in the lungs, causing scarring and inflammation. Several health organizations have classified asbestos as a carcinogen, a cancer-causing substance.

These fibers can be found in thousands of products some of which are still manufactured today. Asbestos has been banned in the residential construction industry but before the 1990s it was found in building products such as:

  1. Heating duct and pipes insulation
  2. Attic insulation (Vermiculite)
  3. Plaster walls and ceilings
  4. Old drywall
  5. Popcorn ceiling
  6. Vinyl tiles
  7. Acoustic ceiling tiles
  8. Drywall joint compounds, adhesives etc.
home diagram - potential sources of asbestos in the home

Asbestos Abatement

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When is asbestos hazardous?

Asbestos is a hazard when the fibers are disturbed and become airborne. This means that it poses health risks when fibres are present in the air and then people breathe them into the lungs. This release can happen through deterioration or when the material is cut or disturbed.

Is asbestos always a hazard?

Not always. If the suspected area/product is not deteriorating it may not be releasing fibres. If however, it is showing signs of damage, cracks or water damage you should speak with a professional.

Can I remove it from my home myself?

No. Asbestos fibres easily become airborne which leads to serious risks of illness if proper precautions are not taken. There are strict Ontario regulations that define the procedures that must be used when working with different types of asbestos.

What should I do if I think my home has asbestos?

You should hire a professional to test prior to any renovations, demolitions or additions to your home. If found you should hire a professional asbestos removal specialist before beginning any work.

The Occupational Health and Safety Act regulates 3 types of Asbestos Remediation operations:

Type 1 Abatement Operations

  • Removing asbestos-containing ceiling tiles, vinyl floor tiles, etc.
  • Removing non-friable asbestos-containing materials, other than ceilings.
  • Breaking, cutting, drilling, abrading, grinding, sanding or vibrating non-friable asbestos-containing materials.
  • Containment is not required during Type 1 Operations and the use of power tools is not allowed.

Type 2 Abatement Operations

  • Small areas or amounts of friable asbestos-containing materials (i.e. pipe insulation, floor duct, paper wrap insulation, sheet flooring, etc.)
  • Removing all or part of a false ceiling to obtain access to a work area, if asbestos-containing material is likely to be lying on the surface of the false ceiling.
  • Enclosing friable asbestos-containing material.
  • Breaking, cutting, drilling, abrading, grinding, sanding or vibrating non-friable asbestos-containing materials.
  • Containment is required during Type 2 Operations, as is the use of Negative Air HEPA Filtration and Personal Protective Equipment.

Type 3 Abatement Operations

  • Repairing, altering or demolishing all or part of any building in which asbestos is or was used in the manufacture of products, unless the asbestos was cleaned up and removed before March 16, 1986.
  • Large areas or amounts of friable asbestos-containing material (greater than 1 square metre) including all of the above materials, and more...
  • In addition to Type 2 Requirements, containment with a portable shower is also required.