Asbestos Awareness Week happened earlier this month in the U.S. We have no comparable event or effort here in Canada which is a shame and even something of a travesty because we know that awareness and knowledge are the best ways to avoid asbestos exposure.
About a century ago, asbestos was hailed as a “miracle” construction material. It was fire resistant, moisture resistant and virtually indestructible. It was only decades later that it was discovered to be a health hazard.
If intact, asbestos or asbestos containing materials (ACM) are considered to be safe. However, once the material is degraded or reduced to a breathable – or friable – dust, it can enter the lungs, where it never leaves. Asbestos works its damage over the years, resulting in a host of lung diseases including deadly mesothelioma.
Here are three top tips to help you stay clear of a known health hazard.
Unless you installed all the insulation in your home yourself, you should be extremely cautious in handling any loose insulation material.
Vermiculite is a substance that is often used in insulation and other uses because of its ability to expand when heated and its fire retardant properties. The problem is that most of the vermiculite insulation used in North America came at one time from a mine in Libby, Montana – a mine that was subsequently found to be also laced with asbestos. It was sold under various brand names until 1990.
Since the hazard from asbestos comes when it is in breathable form, loose insulation – if it is indeed laced with asbestos – is one of the most dangerous forms you will encounter.
- Please DO NOT handle it at all.
- If you can, try to contain the area where it is located and call GS quickly.
Put On the Brakes
While the dangers of asbestos have been making the news in recent years, you may be surprised to find out that many brake pads sold in Canada continue to use asbestos – and it is extremely difficult to tell which are and which aren’t by visual inspection alone.
- The safest route to go in all cases is to call a mechanic and avoid doing any brake work yourself.
- This is NOT a DIY situation!
Pipe it Up
One place you may not expect to find asbestos in your home is wrapped around your piping. Due to its moisture- and heat-resistant properties, it was once extensively used to wrap and insulate plumbing, heating and other piping that you may find in your home or any other building.
The areas where you will find them are typically enclosed and if they remain so, they pose no particular hazard. However they may be found in your basement and often around boiler piping in institutions. So, whether you’re at home or in a public building, avoiding contact with piping is your best course of action.
- Children in particular should be instructed not to mess with any pipes they may encounter at school.
- Anything that opens walls such as renovations or even installation of a home stereo or security system can also disturb or reveal asbestos pipe insulation.
You Can Trust GS
If you suspect the presence of asbestos in your home, this is one situation where you don’t want to take matters into your own hands. Call the experts at GreenStream. At GreenStream, you can be sure that our licensed and experienced asbestos removal and asbestos remediation technicians follow established procedures to keep you, your neighbours and our own workers safe.
In the Toronto area contact GreenStreamEnvironmental.ca at (416) 818-9414. Contact us for a quote today.
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.