Naturally Occurring Asbestos – Should You Worry?

With recurring claims and ongoing litigation involving asbestos in powder, and asbestos in cosmetics, naturally, the first question that has to come to mind is, how does asbestos come to be found in those substances?

The answer: naturally occurring asbestos.

Naturally occurring asbestos
Asbestos is itself a natural substance, and like most other minerals, it is frequently found embedded with other minerals within the earth. A fibrous mineral, asbestos is typically found as veins within certain types of “host rocks” such as limestone and peridotite, the most common rock found in the earths’ mantle. In fact, peridotite, chrysotile asbestos, and talc are often found together. That’s where the asbestos in cosmetics and powder comes from – contaminated talc.

Asbestos in Ontario
Many Canadians may assume that all of Canada’s asbestos came from Quebec, and certainly, the world’s largest asbestos mine was once found there – the last Canadian asbestos mine to close. However, it was also found – and mined – in Ontario.

In the 1950s, in fact, the asbestos industry was booming in Ontario. The value of the asbestos from just one mine – even back in 1952 – was over $9 million. Deposits were found in several places including,

  • Chrysotile asbestos in Northeastern Ontario, including areas near Algoma, Cochrane, Kenora, Sudbury, Thunder Bay, and Timiskaming;
  • Amphibole asbestos minerals, tremolite and actinolite – the most deadly varieties – in Southeastern Ontario in Lennox and Addington county, near Napanee and Renfrew.

There may be many more such deposits throughout the province. The Geological Survey in the United States is comprehensive, but there is no comparable study of Canadian mineral deposits throughout the country. In the United States, it is found through the western states, including California, among other areas.

What can you do?
While there does not seem to be any naturally occurring asbestos in the GTA, your vacation travels, family, or business may well take you to a region where it does exist within the soil. Here’s how to keep yourself safe.

Remember that, as long as it is undisturbed, asbestos is safe. It is only the airborne particles that can be inhaled that you need to worry about. Both routine human activities and natural weather and erosion can disturb the asbestos and create dust.

  • Stay on paved paths when hiking or biking;
  • Walk and let children play in areas with added ground cover such as mulch or wood chips;
  • Pre-wet any areas you might be digging into;
  • Take off your shoes when you get indoors, and use a doormat to absorb dust;
  • Keep windows and doors closed on windy days, or if you are close to any construction;
  • Use caution, and slow down on unpaved roads, especially in dry weather;
  • Use wet mops and rags to clean up, and vacuum frequently with a HEPA filter.

Asbestos in your home?
We can help. 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.