Vermiculite Insulation & Asbestos: A Quick Guide

The feverish real estate market in Toronto and the GTA means that sellers aren’t as interested in fixing up the old homestead before they put it on the market. As a buyer, it means that you might well be looking at old problems that should have been dealt with years ago – like vermiculite insulation.

What’s The Problem With Vermiculite Insulation?
Vermiculite insulation was a type of blown in insulation that was commonly used for attic spaces. Vermiculite, a natural material, is not problematic by itself. The issue is that some vermiculite deposits are adjacent to, or mixed in with, asbestos – usually of the actinolite variety. That’s the case in the mines of Libby, Montana, where most of the vermiculite for insulation that was sold in Canada was mined.

Unfortunately for future generations, that combination of vermiculite – a material that expands when heated – and asbestos, which is fire resistant and nearly indestructible, seemed to make the ideal insulation. It looks silvery gold, or a grey brown colour, and it is somewhat shiny. Insulation uses its expanded form, which looks like little pebbles.

More than 680kg of contaminated vermiculite was processed in plants across Canada. According to the EPA in the United States, up to 35 million homes in North America are affected. Insulation from the Libby mine was sold from the 1940s until 1984. The mine was closed in 1990.

Most of the vermiculite insulation sold in Canada from the Libby mine fell under the brand name Zonolite® Attic Insulation. The problem is exacerbated by the fact that the Canadian government was offering homeowners grants to have attic insulation installed in their home through the late 1970s and into the 1980s.

  • The danger from exposure to asbestos through contaminated vermiculite insulation is real. The EPA has documented cases of asbestosis, a chronic breathing condition caused by the scar tissue that forms after asbestos exposure, that resulted from as few as four or five contacts with the material.
  • You can’t tell just by looking – you need to get the material tested to find out if it contains asbestos.

What Should You Do?
If the insulation is sealed, and isolated from the rest of the home, it is considered safe. But – is it?

If you are planning on any renovations, or installing an alarm or even a home entertainment system, you need to take the vermiculite insulation into account.

  • You must inform any one you hire to work on the home of its presence.
  • You will be liable for any asbestos exposure if you do not.

The only way to be absolutely sure is by professional vermiculite insulation removal.

However, while you are waiting for your asbestos removal appointment, there are precautions you should take.

  • Do not go into the attic, or use it for storage.
  • Seal any cracks or holes in any ceilings in the home, so the insulation can’t sift downwards.
  • Seal the areas around any light fixtures or ceiling fans with caulking.
  • Use caulking to also seal around windows and door frames, along baseboards, around any electrical outlets, thermostats, or any other controls or fixtures that are cut into the walls.

Don’t Take Chances
If you have asbestos-contaminated vermiculite insulation, or 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.

17K Realtor Listings Boast: No Popcorn Ceilings!

Here’s something you didn’t see years ago: realtor listings that make a point of mentioning ‘No Popcorn Ceilings!’ They’re outdated, they’re unsightly – and they might just pose an asbestos risk.

A recent tally on Realtor.com counted over 17,000 listings that touted ‘No popcorn ceilings!’ Once a fad, now a pariah, if you watch those home renovation shows on TV, you know that one of the first things people often tackle are these crumbly, bumpy popcorn ceilings that are founds in so many older homes.

Nowadays, it’s hard to understand why the irregularly textured look was ever so popular that it was virtually seen everywhere from lower end to even upscale homes.

How did they ever get to be so popular?

  • Basically, the popcorn ceiling is a mixture that is sprayed onto the ceiling.
  • It was first initiated as a cost and time saving practice in cheaper homes.
  • The sprayed compound could cover up irregularities and blemishes in the ceiling.

Because it was a shortcut, it was quickly adopted by the industry and became a widespread practice, and popcorn ceilings became extremely popular for about six decades between the 1930s and the 1990s. A popcorn ceiling is also sometimes called an acoustic ceiling. That’s because the thicker covering has some sound deadening properties.

A Dangerous Old Fashion
Nowadays, it just looks old. One problem is that all those crevices and bumps are also a great way to gather dust.

The bigger problem? That bumpy texture is often produced by mixing asbestos fibres in with the plaster.

  • If the material is left intact and is not disturbed, it is considered safe, however, the plaster portion of the mixture is now at least 25 to 30 years old – old enough to start deteriorating on its own, leaving hazardous asbestos fibres.
  • If you want to remove it, you are likewise creating dust and exposing yourself to asbestos fibres.
  • If you are fixing or removing light fixtures or ceiling fans, you can also end up creating dust that can result in asbestos exposure.

You need professional help!
If you have popcorn ceilings, or 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.

Asbestos and Plumbing Repairs

If you own a home that was built before the early 1980s, you are probably aware that it may contain asbestos in various forms. Perhaps you have had floor or ceiling tiles replaced, or the attic insulation. But, there’s an area of your home that you may not consider when you’re thinking about asbestos risk – plumbing.

Asbestos in Plumbing
Asbestos was once thought of as an ideal material for plumbing and many other construction applications. Because it is virtually indestructible, and has superior thermal transfer properties that keep temperatures constant, it was used in a wide variety of plumbing products, largely between the 1940s and 1980s. You may find it in many areas.

  • Thermal insulation used to line pipes, boilers, ducts, and tanks;
  • Joint compounds;
  • Cement/asbestos pipes;
  • Pipe blocks;
  • Laminated asbestos felt;
  • Valves and gaskets;
  • Coating for pipes;
  • Welding rods;
  • Caulking.

What are the implications? Asbestos and asbestos containing materials are considered safe as long as they are intact. However, as you work on plumbing, you may be sanding, sawing, cutting, drilling, joining pipes, and other activities that disturb or damage the material. You then create the asbestos dust that can be inhaled – and which can damage your lungs.

What Should You Do?
No amount of asbestos exposure is considered safe. The risks include lung damage that can lead to respiratory issues, up to and including lung cancers and mesothelioma.

  • If you are doing DIY repairs, you need to know whether there is asbestos present or not.
  • If you are hiring a plumber, you need to inform them of any risks – including potential asbestos exposure.
  • If you know there is asbestos containing material where you want to work, then give us a call.

We Can Help
If you have asbestos 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.

Winter Weather, Ice Dams – And Mould In Your Home

Since mould occurs wherever there is moisture, you may be under the impression that the freezing cold temperatures of winter mean you can relax about at least one common household hazard.

Unfortunately, your optimism would be misplaced.

Freeze/Thaw/Freeze
This winter, Toronto and the GTA has seen its fair share of nasty weather, including mounds of snow, followed by days of freezing and liquid rain, followed be a re-freeze.

  • As the ice melts and rain falls, it can develop into streams running around – and sometimes very close – to your home.
  • Water may drain right into your basement.

Along with what’s occurring outdoors, your home creates its own environment.

  • Where there is heavy snowfall, followed by days of cold temperatures, the warmer air in your home may leak out through the attic.
  • This causes the snow and ice on your roof to melt.
  • The melted water will drain underneath the rest of the snow, along your roof, but is likely to re-freeze as it reaches the edge, forming icicles and ice dams.
  • Ice dams can actually damage the roof, causing water to leak into your attic.

Now that moisture is in your home, mould growth becomes a distinct possibility.

  • Where there is lingering moisture, mould can develop within 48 hours.
  • Mould can develop in the walls, floors, and ceilings, where you don’t see it.
  • Mould spores can also enter your HVAC system, spreading throughout your home.

Prevention
The general rule of thumb when it comes to mould prevention is this: maintenance.

  • Keep an eye on the area around your home, and remove whatever ice you can.
  • Make sure that any snow and ice formations flow away from your home – not towards it.
  • Make sure your attic is properly insulated to prevent heat leaks.
  • Make sure there are no other pathways for warm, moist air to leak to the attic through stairways, walls, or other areas.
  • Vent your dryer and stove to the outside of the building and not into the attic.

Mould In Your Home? – We Can Help
Mould is associated with numerous health risks, including chronic problems of the nose, throat, and respiratory tract, persistent coughing, worsened allergies, and more. If you have mould in your home, a simple cleansing with bleach just won’t do the trick.

Let us help.

Our mould removal experts have years of experience, and will ensure that your environmental issue is eliminated efficiently. Mould can grow into walls, floors, and even carpets. If you smell that telltale musty odour, give us a call.

Let our technicians help keep you and your family safe. In the Toronto area call GreenStream 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.

Asbestos Lessons To Be Learned From Social Housing Woes West of GTA

A social housing situation just west of the GTA puts the spotlight on maintenance when it comes to avoiding problems with asbestos and other potential hazards in your home.

The Situation
Residents of a public housing development in Hamilton have to relocate for periods of weeks to months as the building undergoes asbestos removal procedures. It will affect hundreds of people.

The building was constructed in the 1970s, when asbestos was commonly used in a variety of areas in residential and industrial construction.

  • Annual inspections found that leaky plumbing had caused the situation to occur on several floors of the building.
  • The asbestos became a problem when water damage issues caused ceilings to peel.
  • The building, like many of its era, featured popcorn – or textured – ceilings, where the texture was provided by none other than asbestos fibres.

The Work
Naturally, the project will be disruptive, but a city official quoted in a newspaper article said, “It’s a health and safety issue, not discretionary spending.” Air quality experts have gone through the building to determine asbestos levels for the safety of residents. Continuous monitoring will be crucial throughout the process.

  • It’s a 10-story apartment building, and the work will be done on one floor at a time.
  • Residents will be moved around to empty unit on other floors in the interim.
  • Vents and negative air pressure flows will be sealed off to prevent asbestos fibres from spreading as the work is ocmpleted.

What About Your Home?
There are a few key take-aways from this situation, whether you live in an apartment or condo, or own your own home.

  • Maintenance is key – asbestos and asbestos containing materials that are intact are not considered a risk.
  • The risk comes from dust or inhalable fibres, which can be caused by water damage, along with wear and tear over the years.
  • Great care must be taken in protecting you, your family, your neighbours, and even contractors working on your home from asbestos exposure.
  • Regular maintenance and inspection of your home’s major structures can find potential problems before they become a widespread and disruptive issue.

We Can Help
If you have asbestos 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.

Old Home? – An Asbestos Horror Story

Just before the end of 2018, a homeowner in Winnipeg got a nasty surprise for the holidays – asbestos in the walls.

It was a water leak in an upstairs bathroom that led to a cascading series of woes. Unfortunately, the leak on a connector to the toilet tank began overnight, and by morning, had flooded the entire second story of the home, leaked into some of the first floor, and into the forced air vents of the HVAC system. A nightmare under any circumstances, to be sure.

The damage was so extensive, the family called in their insurance company, and the clean-up crew found something they weren’t expecting: asbestos. What they found specifically was asbestos within the drywall compound that had been in their walls.

Asbestos in Older Homes
The home was built in 1970, and was occupied by the same couple and their family since then. Like many people, they had a “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it” mentality, and so the home went with only a few necessary upgrades through the decades. It was a wake-up call the family won’t forget.

While the family may have been taken aback, the restoration crew was already on the alert.

  • Any homes built before 1990 have the potential for asbestos and asbestos containing materials (ACM) literally from floor to ceiling;
  • Asbestos or ACM may be found in floor and ceiling tiles, insulation, wall panels, even window caulking, textured paints, and carpet glue;
  • If the materials are intact and undisturbed, they are not considered a threat to health, but once major renovations or – as in this case – damage has occurred, it can cause the asbestos dust which can be inhaled.

That’s when the problem occurs.

Before You Renovate…
The lesson here is clear: if you own a older home, or if you are buying an older fixer upper, you need to find out what and where the asbestos may be located. Once you open walls and begin working – even if it’s something like a home theatre or alarm system installation – you are potentially creating inhalable asbestos dust.

  • If you are using contractors, you may be liable for their health and safety, including possible asbestos exposure;
  • If you are doing the work yourself, you are putting you, your family, and your neighbours at risk.

If you have asbestos 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.

Asbestos: Can You Shrinkwrap Your Way To Safety?

The recent headline from upstate New York was nothing short of comical:

Ithaca woman wraps houses in plastic, fears asbestos from former library

The idea behind it, though, wasn’t a joke at all.

A Dangerous Demolition?
Scratch behind the surface of most headlines and you’ll find a more complicated version of the truth. Here’s the scoop: a woman in Ithaca, NY, did indeed seal up several properties she rents out with plastic because she was afraid of the risk of asbestos exposure and other harmful substances emanating from the demolition of an old library across the street.

The woman wrapped entrances and doors in thick plastic to protect the residents from friable asbestos dust and hazardous chemicals from the demolition project.

Is she right?

The project, involving the former Tompkins County Public Library, is a complicated one. The roof of the building is compromised, as verified by a structural engineer. Therefore, the city decided to do the asbestos remediation procedures and demolition at the same time – rather than removing the asbestos first.

  • Because of the simultaneous demolition/asbestos removal, all of the material from the demolition will be considered contaminated debris, and will be disposed of accordingly.
  • The demolition will be a controlled one. It means the building will go down one small area at a time to control debris, which should not disperse throughout the neighbourhood.
  • The area will be sprayed throughout the process to control dust.
  • Debris will be sprayed and covered nightly.
  • The water used for spraying will be filtered to prevent spreading asbestos and other substances.

In fact, the entire process resembles an asbestos removal procedure, with the added bonus of taking down the entire building as you do it. Controlling the dust and debris is the key component of safe asbestos removal and demolition work involving any hazardous substances. As long as those procedures are followed, we think the woman should feel secure that the risk of asbestos exposure has been minimized.

It’s an interesting look at a complicated case.

Asbestos in Your Home?
If you have asbestos or asbestos containing materials in your home, we can help. 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 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.

Marijuana, Mould & You

Mould – it’s not really what comes to mind first when you think about the legalization of marijuana. It was the top story throughout the country in fall 2018, and this in a year you wouldn’t describe as uneventful. But, the focus of attention has been on the buying and consuming end. The legislation, however, allows for Canadians to grow up to four marijuana plants themselves for personal use, and that’s where a little information on mould prevention comes in handy.

The Marijuana-Mould Connection
Marijuana can, in theory, be grown indoors or outdoors. The connection between marijuana cultivation and mould is all about humidity. Marijuana plants require high levels of humidity to thrive and grow.

  • Marijuana cultivation requires, at different stages of growth, humidity levels between 40 and 70 percent.
  • Humidity levels above 55 percent are associated with mould growth, particularly at 70 percent or above.

Here’s what you need to keep in mind.

  • First & foremost: if you can possibly grow it outside – including on a balcony – then that is the way to go, avoiding any increased risk of mould in your home. An online search will find you a reliable guide to its cultivation outdoors.

If you don’t have that option, then here is food for thought.

  • Marijuana grow-op operations have destroyed many homes. In a bid to prevent any of that due to legalization, Manitoba and Quebec have already banned any home growing operations.
  • In addition to high humidity levels, powerful grow lights may present a hazard.
  • Whether the humidity levels required for just four plants is enough to cause permanent damage may be arguable, depending on the size of the room, ventilation, and other factors.
  • If you do make the decision to go ahead, constant monitoring is essential.

The risk of mould is always present where there is increased humidity.

What About Insurance?

Most real estate and insurance experts advise against in-home marijuana cultivation because of the potential for mould and other damage. You may know there is a big difference between the four small plants in your back room and a huge commercial operation, but will future buyers of your home make that distinction – or will they pass you by just to be sure?

  • Most home insurance companies have already included a clause in their policies that specifically voids coverage on any property that is used for marijuana cultivation.
  • Companies may choose to make exceptions for the much smaller four-plant grows allowed under the new law, but that step has yet to be taken.

Insurance lawyer Jennifer Huneault (Hughes Amys LLP) was quoted in Gobalnews.ca on the subject.

“Insurance companies don’t tend to do home inspections before issuing policies, so that’s where we run into stigma,” she said. “Everyone has this idea of a grow-op, so it’ll be an uphill battle.”

Mould In Your Home? – We Can Help
Mould is associated with numerous health risks, including chronic problems of the nose, throat, and respiratory tract, persistent coughing, worsened allergies, and more. If you have mould in your home, a simple cleansing with bleach just won’t do the trick.

Let us help.

Our mould removal experts have years of experience, and will ensure that your environmental issue is eliminated efficiently. Mould can grow into walls, floors, and even carpets. If you smell that telltale musty odour, give us a call.

Let our technicians help keep you and your family safe. In the Toronto area call GreenStream 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.

Asbestos And Mesothelioma: New Research

It has been known for decades that asbsestos causes mesothelioma, a deadly type of lung cancer. The first wave of mesothelioma victims were largely workers who had come into direct contact with the mineral. The number of cases and similarities pointed to the culprit.

However, until recently, it has not been known exactly how asbestos exposure can result in the onset of mesothelioma in the body. A very recent study by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) finally outlines the mechanism that produces chronic inflammation and mesothelioma.

Their hope is that the knowledge will give us the tools to help prevent tissue damage, and offer an effective treatment to victims of the disease.

The Study
The research paper was published in the journal Oncogene, and came about as a result of a collaboration between the University Hospitals of Zurich, Geneva, and Toronto as well as the University of Fribourg and ETH Zurich.

  • Asbestos becomes a danger to human health when it breaks down into friable (inhalable) dust.
  • That dust consists of individual asbestos fibres, which are long and pointed.

Once they enter the lungs, they pass into the mesothelium, a membrane that covers the internal organs, including the lungs. The asbestos fibres don’t break down, and they can’t be flushed out by the body’s own lymphatic system.

The asbestos fibres produce a continuous string of what are called micro-injuries to the lung tissue from inside the mesothelium. The body attempts to repair those constant micro-injuries, sending white blood cells and initiating other processes that the body uses to repair itself. The problem is, the injuries never stop.

The paper quotes Emanuela Felley-Bosco, who led the study. “Chronic exposure to asbestos triggers a type of tissue repair,” he says. “The immune system goes out of balance and is no longer strong enough to combat tumour formation.”

The researchers found that there were changes in the RNA, which is essentially a copy of the DNA. While it is yet a hypothesis, they theorized that the body eventually attempts to stop the ongoing inflammatory response sparked by the presence of asbestos fibres, and that is what weakens the immune system and leads to the development of tumours.

Hope for the Future
The hope is that knowing the exact mechanism will lead to immune therapies that can be used to slow down or halt the process. “A therapy against immune system inhibitors is a promising approach,” says Felley-Bosco.

Their research may also help in the understanding of other cancers and conditions which are known to be caused by chronic inflammation. These include:

  • ulcerative colitis,
  • Crohn’s disease,
  • Helicobacter pylori infections.

Be Safe, Not Sorry
Asbestos, mesothelioma, and the many other health issues it can cause, are no joke. It’s wonderful that progress is being made, but prevention beats a cure.

If your home was built before the 1980s, there’s a good chance it contains asbestos in some for. Let our experienced asbestos removal and asbestos remediation technicians help keep 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.

Mould & Asbestos at TTC HQ

Like most municipalities in the industrialized world, the city of Toronto and the GTA in general are dealing with infrastructure that was built during boom years decades ago. You could probably make a chart that correlated a declining public economy and the erosion of maintenance in public buildings. Unfortunately for all of us, old buildings + neglect is a recipe for a host of ills, including mould and possible asbestos exposure.

The TTC’s headquarters over the Davisville subway station is the latest high profile case in point. Some 400 people work in the building described by TTC chair Josh Colle as overcrowded and “deplorable”.

Renovate or tear down?
Politics being what it is, renovations that were planned years ago were turned down and labeled as extravagant. Now the only viable solution is to abandon the facility and move elsewhere. The reality is more straightforward. The facility was built in 1958. Cuts to maintenance meant that leaks went unnoticed and unrepaired and issues simply spread to the point of being out of control. Among the long list of issues:

  • Water stains on many walls and ceilings;
  • Ceiling tiles missing in a washroom due to mould;
  • Sections of carpet that have been torn out due to mould growing underneath;
  • Vinyl tiles underneath the carpet contain asbestos.

The mould is so pervasive that that it stains the ceiling in some areas and there are places where the floor itself has been weakened.

Your older home
You value the grace and beauty of an older home, but you also know that it takes vigilance and diligence when it comes to staying on top of repairs. Even a pinhole leak in plumbing can cause moisture behind walls that isn’t detected. All mould needs to grow is moisture and time.

If your home was built before the mid-1980’s then you can assume that it contains asbestos in one form or another. It may be considered safe as long as the material is intact but decade’s old tiles, insulation and all the many other places that can involve asbestos are reaching the end of their useful lifespan and deterioration is often the result. In addition, any repairs or renovations can disturb the material and produce breathable asbestos fibres – the cause of many respiratory issues including deadly cancers and mesothelioma.

We can help. If you have mould or asbestos your home, our experienced asbestos removal, asbestos remediation and mould removal technicians can help you with your environmental issues. 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.