City officials in Regina are in the hot seat as they try to quell fears of unsafe drinking water. At issue is the fact that the city’s pipes contain asbestos. The City’s position is that the asbestos is bound on a cement mixture, and therefore not unsafe.
Asbestos in Water – the Truth
Contrary to their assurances, the EPA in the U.S. does consider asbestos in water to be a health hazard. It may be present in surface and ground water and is not thought to transfer to marine animals – and therefore seafood consumed by human beings. However, if it’s consumed at levels over the recommended guidelines and that exposure occurs over a period of several years, there are indications of a higher than average risk of developing benign intestinal polyps.
Asbestos in Cement – the Truth
Asbestos/cement mixtures were very commonly used for a variety of construction applications over decades. The mixture typically contains 12-20% asbestos and can be formed into various shapes; commonly sheets that are often corrugated for roofing or siding, also piping for drains, flues, and other forms such as soffits and wall boards. It’s found in both industrial and residential buildings.
While it’s true that the resulting composite material is very durable and likely to last for many years, it’s also true that many of the asbestos containing elements that you’ll find nowadays have already been in place for a long time. The material does eventually become brittle and break apart, capable of producing the friable – or inhalable – fibres that have been shown to cause lung disease, including mesothelioma.
Maybe even in your home!
If your home was built before the 1970’s, you should assume it contains asbestos in one form or another. If you are looking to buy or renovate an older home then do yourself a favour and include an asbestos inspection on the list of things to do.
Composite asbestos/cement material is considered safe as long as it’s intact, but damage or deterioration can produce friable asbestos, or particles that can be inhaled – with deadly potential. Please don’t try to handle it yourself.
Get peace of mind from GreenStream Environmental – call us for a quote today.
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.