National broadcaster the CBC has begun a series of segments this week devoted to the issue of asbestos, a lingering concern in Canada decades after the problematic mineral was banned or restricted from use virtually worldwide.
One of the segments profiles an innovative program at Toronto’s Princess Margaret Hospital, a world leader in cancer treatment and research. The Mesothelioma Research Program is the only one of its kind in North America. Among other things, it looks to proactively screen people who were exposed to the dangerous material via the workplace. The hope is to catch the deadly disease early, since most of the time, by the time symptoms appear, the disease is already in an advanced state and death sometimes imminent.
Nearly a thousand such workers have been screened with CAT scans since 2005, and the Program has established a biobank of mesothelioma tumours. Physicians believe even a small amount of exposure can result in the disease, which then takes decades to develop. That’s why the incidence of mesothelioma continues to rise, even though it’s been banned from virtually every workplace since the 1970’s. In fact, there were 400 cases diagnosed last year, about double the rate of occurrence found 20 years ago.
The majority of workers came to be exposed to asbestos while employed in the construction field. Some of them described working in clouds of asbestos dust. Once seen as a near miraculous material, asbestos – fireproof and nearly indestructible – was used in virtually every part of a building, from siding to roofing to window and door sealant, ceiling panels and floor tiles. Both residential and industrial construction was affected.
In another headline, an Australian man who’d famously been given up for dead at the foot of Mount Everest in 2006 succumbed to mesothelioma and passed away this week. He too, was exposed to the material at a construction job.
Asbestos in Your Home?
If the exposure came from building homes, then what does that mean for you and your home? If your home was built before 1970, it’s almost certain there is asbestos somewhere in one of the many locations it was commonly used. But don’t panic just yet.
The danger from asbestos comes when it becomes friable, or the fibres deteriorate and become airborne – meaning you can inhale them. As long as it’s bound up in a mixed material like cement tiles or contained in walls, it’s not considered a threat.
However, age and lack of maintenance over time can potentially cause damage or deterioration to the asbestos that may exist in your home. Renovations of any kind can disturb materials and cause just the kind of damage that can lead to airborne asbestos fibres.
If your home was built before 1970, then you have to assume that it does contain asbestos. Before any renovation projects, call in the experts from GreenStream Environmental Services for an asbestos inspection. At GreenStream Environmental Services, we offer professional vermiculite and asbestos remediation services to help you contain and then rid yourself of this problem.
In the Toronto area contact GreenStreamEnvironmental.ca at (416) 818-9414.
Featured in Mike Holmes’ magazine, HGTV’s Income Properties, W Network’s Love It Or List It and chosen by Homestars.com as “Best Toronto Asbestos Removal Company” based on customer ratings and reviews, GreenStream Environmental Services are fully-certified, trusted and insured professionals in the removal and disposal of commercial, industrial, institutional and residential asbestos, vermiculite and mould (hazardous and non-hazardous). Providing emergency service 24/7/365 for all of Toronto and the GTA (North York, Mississauga, Markham, Brampton, Scarborough, Ajax, Oshawa, and beyond) GreenStream has over 40 combined years of experience serving clients such as the City of Toronto, the Toronto District School Board and many more. For a free estimate in Toronto, the GTA and Southern Ontario, call today at 416-818-9414. You’ll be glad you did.