Home Renovations: Don’t Forget The Asbestos Risk

Almost half of all Canadian homeowners plan on spending some money on home renovations. When you add in the hot GTA real estate scene, which has seen many fixer uppers flood the markets as desperate buyers compete for homes at seemingly any price, and you’ve got the current reno boom.

The Asbestos Risk
Resistant to water and heat, and virtually indestructible, asbestos was once considered a miracle construction material. It was decades before the devastating consequences to human health would be revealed, first in the many labourers who had worked directly with the naturally occurring substance. You might be under the impression that it’s ancient history, but unfortunately we are still living with its legacy today.

  • If your home was built before the 1990s, you can assume that it contains asbestos in one form or another.
  • It was used in more than 3,000 different building materials, literally from floor to ceiling.
  • Some examples of where it can be found include vinyl and linoleum flooring, loose insulation, (especially in the attic,) roof shingles, mixed with stucco, pipe insulation, gypsum-board filling compound, and deck under-sheeting

If asbestos and asbestos containing materials are intact, they are considered safe. However, any action that produced dust which can be inhaled is unsafe, and can eventually cause lung diseases, including cancer and mesothelioma. That can include:

  • Sanding or scraping walls;
  • Wallpaper removal;
  • Cutting into walls;
  • Removing walls;
  • Cutting into or replacing ceiling tiles or plaster;
  • And more.

Professional contractors are required by law to educate their employees and provide the appropriate equipment and gear to work in asbestos removal. But, do you need to follow the precautions listed in Ontario asbestos legislation when it comes to renovations on your own home?

  • If you are doing your own work, then any precautions you take are up to yo.
  • However, you would still be liable if any asbestos or asbestos-containing debris, is released into the neighbourhood.
  • If you hire a contractor, then you are responsible for letting them know about asbestos and any other hazardous materials that might be present in your home.

The Risk Is Real
The risk is not exaggerated. A recent survey by the Center for Construction Research and Training found that Canadian workers in the construction industries were subject to an increased risk for a number of disorders related to the lungs.

  • Twice as likely to suffer from COPD (chronic obstructive lung disease);
  • Five times more at risk from lung cancer;
  • Thirty-three times more likely to have asbestosis;
  • With a 50 percent increased risk of death from lung cancer.

Safe, not sorry
If you have asbestos anywhere in your home, let us help with the next step: asbestos removal. Our experienced and certified asbestos removal and asbestos remediation technicians can help keep you and your family safe. In the Toronto area call Environmental 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.