Mould & Humidity – Prevention and Control

Summer has finally come to Toronto and the GTA, and with high temperatures inevitably come high humidity. Humidity is simply water vapour in the air, so it’s not just the discomfort when you venture outside that you need to worry about.

The Mould-Humidity Link
Indoor humidity is directly related to air quality, and can lead to mould growth. There are two ways that humidity can lead to mould growth.

  • If you have leaks in plumbing, or any other lingering water, anywhere in your home, high humidity indoors will prevent it from fully drying out. Mould only needs 24 to 48 hours to begin to take hold.
  • High humidity, by itself, can lead to mould growth. How high is too high? About 60% humidity.
  • Ideal indoor humidity levels should range between 30% and 50% at most.

If you are concerned, you can buy an inexpensive tool called a hygrometer to measure humidity levels in your home. Mould will grow where it can find food, and it loves cellulose. It can grow on a variety of materials commonly found in the home, including:

  • Drywall and plaster;
  • Wood;
  • Paper;
  • Carpeting;
  • Insulation.

What’s the answer?
Reducing humidity and making sure there is adequate ventilation in your home will reduce the risk of mould growth.

  • Air conditioning may not be enough – a dehumidifier is a good investment in indoor air quality.
  • Be sure to keep the dehumidifier clean and disinfected so that it can operate properly.

We Can Help
If you are dealing with mould in your home, we can help. You can trust the experienced mould removal experts at Green Stream Environmental to take care of your environmental issues. In the Toronto area contact 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.

Update That (Asbestos Riddled) Popcorn Ceiling

So you’ve bought an older home in the GTA, or perhaps you already own one, and while you love a lot of things about it, there is the matter of that outdated, bumpy plaster ceiling.

It’s hard to believe now, but popcorn ceilings – those textured, by now often discoloured plaster and stucco treatments – were once all the rage. They were thought to be easy to maintain and to hide minor imperfections in the ceiling surface.

What exactly is a “popcorn ceiling”?
Popcorn ceilings and other textured wall treatments were already in use in the 1920s, but as a fad, they reached their peak between the 1960s and 1980s. Nowadays, they certainly make a room look dated. Dust and smoke over the years can make them look dirty and yellowed, and they can trap dust, spiderwebs, and other dirt.

You may also know they as an acoustic ceiling or even a cottage cheese ceiling. The treatment, which was sprayed on, was often used in bedrooms, hallways, and living rooms. For decades, the effect was produced by mixing plaster with asbestos, which was then was sprayed onto the ceiling, or plastered by hand.

Why asbestos? It was added for two reasons.

  • First, it does provide some acoustic insulation.
  • Second, it is fireproof and was thought to be a safety feature.

When should you be concerned?
The answer is a little fuzzy. Technically, manufacturing most asbestos containing materials or ACM was banned in Canada in 1979. However, existing inventories of ACM were exempt from the ban, and asbestos continued to find its way into construction projects until the early 1990s.

Not all popcorn ceilings contain asbestos. Once the existing stock ran out in the early to mid-1990s, the texture was produced with a paper-based product. Even so, the ceiling treatment ran out of favour by about the same time.

  • The important thing to remember is – you won’t be able to tell whether it contains asbestos or not just by looking at it.

Please don’t try DIY
You may be tempted to remove it yourself, but we – and any asbestos expert you will ask – strongly caution you against a DIY popcorn ceiling removal. Scraping the material off will necessarily produce the friable dust that can enter the lungs and eventually cause health problems, including deadly mesothelioma.

  • Removing a popcorn ceiling safely requires special equipment that produces minimal dust and incorporates a double filtration system to keep even that bit of dust well contained.
  • Also Note – even though, if you are working on your own home, you are not required by law to perform an asbestos or other hazardous material assessment, you ARE still required by law to properly and safely contain, transport, and dispose of any asbestos containing material waste and you are liable for anyone else’s asbestos exposure.

We Can Help
If you have a popcorn ceiling or any other 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 (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 Renovation Projects

Just west of the GTA, a public renovation project is a reminder that when you’re dealing with older buildings, you need to take asbestos into account from the beginning.

Like many homes throughout Toronto and Southern Ontario, the Dundas Museum & Archives in Hamilton, Ontario is an older structure. The 80 year-old building will be closed for about six weeks during the summer for renovations that include extensive asbestos removal as well as other infrastructure work.

A major renovation project already took place on the building about five years ago, but somehow, asbestos removal wasn’t first on the list of priorities. We’re assuming that any asbestos or asbestos containing materials (ACM) in the building were contained and/or intact. As such, they were considered safe, or not producing inhalable (friable) dust.

Asbestos and Renovations
The asbestos in the Dundas Museum is located in floor tiles. That’s a very common place to find them in an older home. Asbestos was mixed with vinyl, linoleum, concrete, and other substances that are used throughout homes and other buildings, literally from floor to ceiling.

What you need to know:

Anything that disturbs existing material may damage ACM and cause asbestos dust which can be inhaled. That includes,

  • Replacing floor tiles – many older DIY tiles jobs just laid new layers on top of old.
  • You don’t know what you’ll uncover;
  • Replacing roofing or siding materials;
  • Repairing or replacing a popcorn ceiling;
  • Replacing textured paints;
  • Replacing acoustic ceiling tiles;
  • Adding a home theatre or security system;
  • And much more.

If your home was built before the mid-1980s, there’s a good chance it contains asbestos in some form. Regular maintenance and inspection will help ensure that any existing material is intact, but when you begin to see deterioration, or when you renovate, you will need to budget enough money and time to include asbestos removal in your plans.

  • Remember: If you hire a contractor to work on your home, you are also liable for any of their asbestos exposure.

We Can Help
If you have asbestos 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 (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.

We’ve Been Named One Of The Top 25 Asbestos Blogs On The Internet!

We’ve been in the asbestos removal and remediation business for a long time. We set up this blog as an informational feature for our clients and others to highlight important issues, the risks, and more about this dangerous mineral.

What it Means
The list was compiled by Feedspot, a content reader. What is a content reader, you ask? It’s a website that can help you organize your reading from the web. If you’re typical, you read content from a variety of different sources. At Feedspot, you can add blogs, news and RSS feeds, YouTube channels and other social media sites, so that you can keep on top of your favourite topics all at one spot – like asbestos. It will even keep track of what you’ve read and what you have left to peruse.

You can also opt for a daily digest of your favourite topics and news delivered right to your email address.

The Feedspot blog looks at top blogs and YouTube channels, divided into categories that cover a broad range of topics. Their editorial team does extensive searches to find the best blogs on different topics, and that’s where this list comes from. It’s rated according to:

  • Blog content quality
  • Post consistency
  • Age of the blog
  • Average number of shares on social sites for blog posts
  • Traffic to the blog and more..

Many thanks to Feedspot for putting us on the list!

It’s Our Job
Asbestos removal is our job and our calling. We’re very honoured to have been selected as one of the Top 25 Asbestos Blogs On The Internet and it’s very encouraging to get this kind of recognition for our efforts to keep our customers and others up to date on asbestos news.

We appreciate all our customers and the goodwill we’ve been shown.

If you have asbestos or vermiculite insulation tainted with asbestos 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 (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.

Vermiculite – the hidden danger in your attic

If you have an older home, you may have a hidden problem in your attic—vermiculite insulation that is tainted with asbestos.

Vermiculite Insulation
Vermiculite insulation was widely used, typically in attic spaces, in North America between the 1940s and 1980s, and was used right up till the 1990s in some areas.

Vermiculite is fire-resistant, and swells up when it heats up, making it almost the ideal insulation material. By itself, it’s not problematic. The problem comes from the fact that the vast majority—about 75 percent – of vermiculite used in insulation in North America comes from a single mine in Libby, Montana.

After decades of mining, the workers, and then the townspeople themselves, began to display the symptoms of asbestos exposure, including lung ailments, cancers, and deadly mesothelioma. That’s when it was discovered that the Libby mine was naturally contaminated with asbestos.

The Libby mine was in production for 50 years between 1940 and 1990. In Canada, vermiculite insulation from Libby was marketed under the Zonolite label, and during the 1970s and early 1980s, the federal government actually offered homeowners grants to install Zonolite in their homes. It means a lot of older homes with tainted vermiculite insulation.

Vermiculite Detection
Vermiculite is a brownish colour and granular in texture. You won’t be able to tell if your vermiculite attic insulation contains asbestos just by looking at it.

  • In fact, if you suspect that you have vermiculite insulation, you should avoid all contact with it, and call in an inspector to help you determine the truth. The inspector will send a sample to a lab to figure out the exact content.

That determination has become a little easier, even for the experts, with a recent invention by the United States Geology Survey (USGS). They have developed a hand-held spectrometer that can determine whether asbestos is present. The spectrometer uses a sophisticated electron probe to perform an analysis of the material. If it becomes widely used, its instant determination would save a lot of time when it comes to vermiculite insulation removal.

In addition to specific cases where the homeowner already suspects the presence of vermiculite insulation, the tool could be used in home inspections, and before major home renovations as a preventive measure.

GS Can Help
If you have vermiculite insulation tainted with asbestos 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 (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.

Whether It’s Winter Or Spring – There’s Mould

Let’s hope that spring weather comes sometime soon to the GTA – because what we’ve had so far this April has been a nightmare. From cold and rainy, to snow, to a few sunny days with warmer weather scattered between them, there’s a lot of hazards that homeowners can face. One that you may not be aware of is mould.

Hot or Cold – Mould Growth
You may be assuming that, since the warmer weather hasn’t arrived yet, mould isn’t as much of an issue. That’s not correct. Fluctuations in temperature and cold spells can actually enhance the conditions where mould is likely to grow.

  • Remember that ventilation is key – when it’s cold outside, we tend to shut the windows, and our modern energy efficient homes can mean that any moisture trapped inside the house can make humidity levels rise.
  • Turning up the thermostat creates warm air, and without outside ventilate, can create condensation that cannot dry out.

Common areas
There are some areas of the home that are more prone to mould than others.

  • Drywall and sheetrock – on the exterior;
  • Look in the bends and corners of the home;
  • Check in attics and basements;
  • Corner rooms are exposed to more cold air, and have higher relative humidity levels.

There needs to be a good balance between humidity and temperature – not too cold, not too moist.

  • Humidity levels should be below 60% – ideally between 35% and 45%.
  • A dehumidifier in a problematic room is often enough to bring it down to acceptable levels;
  • Set your ceiling fans to spin in reverse to circulate air adequately;
  • Keep ducts and filters clean;
  • Drain water from any condensation pans;
  • Use exhaust fans in the kitchen and bathroom to draw humid air out;
  • Inspect the basement for any issues that can contribute to moisture and mould, including mortar leaks, drainage systems, and others;
  • Keep crawl spaces dry;
  • Keep an eye on roof and windows for leakage and make repairs as necessary.

Whether your house is new or old, you need to be vigilant, especially when the weather is as crazy as ours in the Toronto area. Remember that mould spores can begin to grow within 24 to 48 hours when moisture lingers.

We Can Help
If you are dealing with mould in your home, we can help. You can trust the experienced mould removal experts at Green Stream Environmental to take care of your environmental issues. In the Toronto area contact 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.

A Homeowner’s Quick Guide To Asbestos

If your home was built before the mid 1980s, there is a good chance is contains asbestos or asbestos containing materials (ACM). At one time, the so-called miracle material was used in a wide variety of applications, literally from floor to ceiling, attic, and roofing materials.

Asbesto – A Colossal Mistake
It’s not hard to see why asbestos quickly became popular in both residential and home construction.

  • It’s heat resistant;
  • It’s water resistant;
  • It’s virtually indestructible.

It was often mixed with other materials such as concrete or vinyl to produce tiles for roofing and flooring, pipes and pipe insulation, among many other specialized uses.

It wasn’t until decades after it first became widely used in the early 1900s that the signs of its tragic legacy would become known. The first wave of asbestos victims includes many factory, construction, and other workers who became exposed on the job. The presence of asbestos fibres in the lungs can lead to many health issues including cancers and deadly mesothelioma.

  • The problem with asbestos in the home is that, over time, even ACM can deteriorate, and release asbestos fibres into the air.

How Do You Know
Since asbestos was so widely used and ACM can contain a variety of other materials, you can’t be sure of being able to recognize it just by sight. It may be present in:

  • Ceiling tiles (often called acoustic ceiling tiles);\
  • Popcorn ceilings and textured paints;
  • Wall panels;
  • Vinyl floor tiles;
  • Older carpet adhesives;
  • Attic insulation;
  • Pipe & boiler insulation;
  • Window and door caulking;
  • Roof shingles.

What you might see:

  • The only visual clue you may sometimes see is a kind of dimpling effect, visible in things like ceiling and floor tiles.
  • Asbestos sheeting used in homes and other buildings such as sheds was often joined with metal runners if outdoors. Indoor sheets were most often joined with wood or plastic runners.
  • Around windows and doors, inside or out, be leery of any old adhesive material, such as joint cement or putty.
  • Be especially cautious of any old insulation material that becomes exposed.

What Can I Do?
No amount of asbestos exposure is considered safe according to the latest medical findings.

  • Do not attempt to remove it yourself.
  • Do not attempt to handle it in any way yourself.
  • Seal off any questionable area as best you can, and get 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 (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.

Asbestos Dangers From A Single Exposure

Asbestos exposure, and how it develops into diseases like mesothelioma and other lung cancers, is a complex phenomenon. When it occurs because there is asbestos in water, for example, the amount of damage depends on the amount consumed and the period of exposure as well. When it comes to inhaled asbestos fibres, however, that isn’t necessarily the case. A single or short-term asbestos exposure can carry a risk to your health.

Single Asbestos Exposure
Asbestos exposure can occur in one single occasion or over a short period of time. It may occur for a variety of reasons.

  • Renovations, especially DIY projects, that disturb or damage existing materials – even a small area of damage can send hundreds of asbestos fibres into the air;
  • Damage from floods or fire;
  • Installation of home theatre or alarm systems.

What Happens During Asbestos Removal Procedures?
The news is peppered with stories, both local and from far flung locations, of people concerned when they are required to work, attend school or live in a building while asbestos removal or asbestos remediation procedures are taking place.

What should you be concerned with?

  • Primarily, that you have contracted a reputable and certified asbestos removal company!

Concern is justified if the right procedures aren’t being followed to the letter, and that’s where a reputable company like GreenStream Environmental comes into the picture. The possibility for asbestos exposure during a removal job does exist. It depends on the circumstances, and how they are handled.

  • The issue is, can the area be completely contained? Or, will there be some leakage into the surrounding area – and how far and how much?
  • It gets complicated, clearly, and that’s why, if people are to remain, periodic air quality testing is often called for to ensure public safety.

An area may appear to be completely contained and removed from the area that is in use, however, HVAC systems can potentially send airborne asbestos fibres into any corner of a building.

You Can Count On GreenStream
When our certified and experienced asbestos removal and asbestos remediation technicians go to work, we make sure that the area is safe. We will take the time to explain any precautions and procedures that need to happen to ensure your safety, and that of our employees – not to say your neighbours, who can also be affected once asbestos dust from renovations and debris is in the air.

Let our experience help keep your family safe. In the Toronto area contact 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, The Law, And You

This blog has covered many cases in Toronto, the GTA and beyond involving incompetent and unethical asbestos removal companies and operations, and the dangers they pose. But, what happens when you are the property owner? What are your obligations when it comes to asbestos in construction and renovation projects?

Ontario law specifies several designated substances along with asbestos, including acrylonitrile, arsenic, benzene, coke oven emissions, ethylene oxide, isocyanates, lead, mercury, silica, and vinyl chloride.

In the province of Ontario, the law regulating asbestos is called O.Reg. 278/05—Asbestos on Construction Projects and in Buildings and Repair Operations. Unlike some other provinces, the Ontario asbestos law makes a distinction between homeowners and landlords.

If you own a property,

  • Of more than four units;
  • Where you and your family members do not live.

Here, the law it clearly spelled out.

• Before beginning a project, the owner shall determine whether any designated substances are present at the project site and shall prepare a list of all designated substances at the site.
• The owner shall ensure that a prospective constructor of a project on the owner’s property has received a copy of the designated substance assessment.
• The owner who fails to comply with Section 30 is liable to the constructor and every contractor who suffers any loss or damages as the result of the subsequent discovery on the project of a designated substance that the owner ought reasonably to have known of but that not listed in the designated substance report.

However, if you own the property you live in, you are excluded from that obligation. The law specifically excludes the following:

(4) This Regulation does not apply to an owner of a private residence occupied by the owner or the owner’s family or to an owner of a residential building that contains not more than four dwelling units, one of which is occupied by the registered owner or family of the registered owner. O. Reg. 278/05, s. 2 (4).

Homeowners Beware
Exclusion from that specific part of the law doesn’t mean you’re off the hook, however. If you are plannning on renovations or any installation that will involve cutting into walls, ceilings or floors, you should be aware of possible legal liability.

Make no mistake – the exclusion does not remove legal liability you may incur as a home or property owner if someone is exposed to asbestos on your premises.

So, you’ve got contractors at your home and they discover asbestos in your attic. They sue. You’ve got homeowner’s liability insurance to take care of that, right?

Wrong again. Let’s talk about the Asbestos Exclusion.

The “Asbestos Exclusion”
Since the 1970s, when the threat of asbestos finally came to be widely known, property insurance companies have included a standard Asbestos Exclusion in their policies as a matter of routine. In short, it means they refuse liability for any damages caused by asbestos in your home.

The clause has been tested by court law, notably a case called 1604945 Ontario Inc. v. Lloyd’s Underwriters, [2010] where two landlords were sued by tenants for asbestos exposure that resulted from renovations. The respondents tried to involve their insurance coverage, and the insurance company successfully defended the exclusion. That means, when it comes to asbestos, you are on your own.

What Can You Do?
As a homeowner, if you plan on renovations, there are several steps you can take to protect yourself.

  • Review your insurance policy, and if necessary, discuss it with your agent or broker.
  • If you are a landlord, you should get legal advice from your lawyer.
  • Find out whether you have asbestos (or any other hazardous substances) on your property with a certified inspection.
  • An asbestos removal procedure provides true peace of mind.

That’s Where We Come In
If your home contains asbestos or ACM, we can help. You can trust the experienced asbestos removal experts and asbestos remediation experts at Green Stream Environmental to take care of your environmental issues. In the Toronto area contact 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.