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.

Air Ducts, Asbestos, and the Air We Breathe

Air ducts and asbestos may not seem like they are related elements of a home or building construction. With the hot housing market in Toronto and the GTA, many older homes are going on the market unrenovated, in an as-is condition. It’s also more attractive to many homeowners to renovate than buy.

That means you should be aware of asbestos and all the places it may show up in your home – including seemingly out of the way locations such as the HVAC system.

Asbestos and HVAC
Here are some of the ways that asbestos and asbestos containing materials (ACM) might have found a way into your air and heating duct work.

  • Before the 1980s, the heating ducts in many homes were installed with insulation that contained asbestos. Most of the ACM insulation was installed with sheet metal duct work, and fabricated between 1950 and 1975.
  • Some duct work itself was made with ACM in a sheet material that resembles the insulating material. That means it can be difficult to tell just by looking whether the duct is wrapped in ACM insulation, or made of ACM itself.
  • A type of duct tape was once also made with ACM and used extensively in construction for decades. It is thicker than modern duct tape, and white or grey in colour.
  • Other sealants, such as putty, may also contain ACM, and be used in and around duct work.
  • The asbestos paper that was used in HVAC systems to wrap around air ducts, or as sealant, typically contains about 15% chrysotile asbestos.

The danger
Asbestos and asbestos containing materials are considered safe as long as they are intact. However, once, the material begins to deteriorate – and, while asbestos itself is very durable, in ACM, the other materials will certainly begin to deteriorate over time – they can create the friable dust. Once inhaled into the lungs, asbestos never goes away, and over time, can cause respiratory and other problems, including lung cancers, and deadly mesothelioma.

  • Just peeling off deteriorating ACM duct tape can release breathable asbestos fibres;
  • Deteriorating ACM ducts can release asbestos fibres into the whole HVAC system, dispersing it throughout your home;
  • Even though insulation is wrapped around ducts, if the duct becomes punctured or damaged, asbestos dust from ACM insulation can also enter your HVAC system.

Certainly, if you are upgrading your HVAC system, or doing any work that involves cutting into walls, you need to be aware of the presence of asbestos.

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.

Asbestos Removal – A Growing Industry

Asbestos removal and remediation are a growing industry across the globe. One survey, using data from all over the world, found that asbestos removal was growing at an average rate of about 24 percent overall.

Asbestos Bans—And Asbestos Awareness
Canada joined with more than 50 other countries in introducing a complete ban on asbestos. Colombia has since joined that club, with many calling for a similar ban in the United States.

Even before the asbestos ban, the naturally occurring and yet potentially deadly substance was making headlines across the country and around the world.

While it has not been used in construction purposes since about the mid-1980s in Canada, there are factors that make it a present threat rather than ancient history.

  • There are many homes that still contain asbestos or asbestos containing materials (ACM);
  • Even where some asbestos removal or remediation was done, it can still show up in many areas of your home literally from floor to ceiling;
  • The health effects of asbestos exposure take decades to manifest themselves;
  • If the first wave of asbestos victims were manufacturing and other workers of the early 20th century, the second wave are home repairs, renovations, and demolitions workers who are exposed from existing materials as they work.

The Facts
The numbers worldwide—and here at home—are sobering.

  • The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that globally 125 million people are exposed to asbestos every year.
  • According to the International Labour Organization, over 107,000 die every year from asbestos related diseases, including deadly mesothelioma.
  • It is estimated that more than 152,000 Canadians have been exposed to asbestos at work.

Because it was, until very recently, one of the world’s major sources of asbestos through mining, Canada has one of the highest rates of asbestos disease in the world. Asbestos was once used in over 3,000 different building materials.

It’s No Joke
While the growing numbers seem alarming, there is a flip side to the situation. Maybe, in the near future, we can look forward to a truly asbestos-free environment both for working and living.

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.

Does Your Home Or Workplace Contain Asbestos?

Asbestos exposure and the illnesses associated with it – including deadly mesothelioma – are the biggest cause of workplace deaths in Canada today. But, how do you know if that danger is present in your home or place of work?

Here’s a handy checklist of some of the main issues that should prompt you to take the next step to get help with asbestos testing or asbestos removal.

  • Was your home/workplace built before the mid-1980s? If so, it almost certainly contains – or contained – asbestos in one form or another. Previous renovations may have involved asbestos abatement, but you won’t necessarily know just because it looks new.
  • Check the sealant around any pipes, ducts, and windows in your home. If it is crumbling or otherwise deteriorating, it may be ACM or an asbestos containing material. Even if asbestos removal procedures have been performed elsewhere in the building, sealant is one area that is often overlooked.
  • Do you have a popcorn ceiling? Aside from being dated and a magnet for dust, it may just contain asbestos. That’s right – at one time, the texture was created with asbestos.
  • Do you have what was once called “drop ceiling tiles”? Ceiling tiles, often called acoustic tiles, were very widely used between the 1940s and 1990s, and they often contained asbestos, as it does have noise dampening properties. Ceiling tiles containing asbestos were largely 6” x 6”, 9” x 9” or 12” x 12” in size.
  • Is there loose fill insulation in the attic? There are a few different possibilities, but one of them is vermiculite insulation that comes from a mine contaminated with asbestos.

You can tell if there is asbestos in your home just by looking, especially when it has been mixed with another material. Asbestos testing is the first step, and then, while the material may be considered safe as long as it is intact, the only way to be sure is to have it removed. That’s where we come into the picture.

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.

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.

Toronto School Fire Raises Asbestos Concerns

A recent six-alarm blaze in a school shocked Toronto and made headlines across the GTA recently, and it looks like the damage may not be over – with asbestos now a potential risk.

Fire at York Memorial C.I.
Like many schools in the Toronto District and other area school boards, York Memorial C.I. was an old building – about 90 years old to be exact. Given the fact it was built, and spent the first several decades of its existence, during a period when asbestos was considerd a miracle construction material, it’s no surprise that it did contain the dangerous mineral.

Fire crews had already visited the building once on the evening of May 7 to tackle a three-alarm fire, only to be called back a few hours later when the blaze returned with a vengeance. About 150 firefighters were involved at the fire’s peak, with heavy black smoke engulfing the neighbourhood along Eglinton between Tretheway and Bicknell in the city’s west end. Many people were evacuated until the fire was brought under control.

While the asbestos and any asbestos containing materials are intact, they are considered safe. However, the huge fire that damaged large portions of the building has disturbed asbestos, which complicates the clean up and rehabilitation process. Asbetsos is fire resistant, however the fire would have destroyed any other materials or structures around it, creating asbestos dust which can be breathed into the lungs.

After a fire in a public building like a school, officials look at whether the structure should be repaired or razed and built again. So far, Toronto fire department officials are optimistic that much of the building can be saved, and are trying to determine the cause.

Ontario Fire Marshal investigator Bryan Fischer commented to CTV reporters.

“The building was built in the 1920s. Asbestos was used in all sorts of building materials. Now it’s been disturbed. It’s in a dust form and it becomes friable and it’s a huge risk to anyone working inside.” He said the rest of the neighbourhood does not have to worry about contamination spreading, however. “Nothing was blown into the atmosphere,” he said.

Old, Intact, Safe – or Not?
It’s true that older homes and buildings containing asbestos are considered safe for habitation as long as the materials in question are intact and undisturbed. However, fires are not the only way that damage – and friable asbestos – may be produced.

  • Renovations that cut into the walls;
  • Renovating popcorn ceilings;
  • Changing old pipe or attic insulation;
  • Installing home security or home theatre systems;
  • Damage from flooding.

The only way to be truly safe is to have the asbestos removed.

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.

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 Removal – In BC, The Punishment Fits The Crime

An asbestos removal contractor has been barred from the industry by the B.C. Supreme Court after being issued literally hundreds of orders for breaking the rules.

The Story
Seattle Environmental and related companies owned by Mike Singh have operated in the Lower Mainland area of greater Vancouver for several years. The court found the company had breached workplace safety laws more than 20 times, at 11 different work sites, between 2013 and 2017.
Among the specific details:

  • The company did not make sure that workers wore full-face respirators when working with asbestos.
  • The company did not test for airborne asbestos while crucial work was being completed.
  • The company failed to seal the containers that held asbestos waste.

In at least two cases, the court found reasonable grounds that Singh had fraudulently issued documents known as “clearance letters”. These should be issued when an area has been verifiably cleared of asbestos. By issuing them before the asbestos was gone, it meant unprotected workers were being let back onto the site.

The Road to Justice
WorkSafe B.C. has been on the case for almost 10 years, writing more than 230 orders against Singh and his companies. It took until 2012 for the agency to get an order from the B.C. Supreme court ordering Singh to comply with the regulation. Previous charges include contempt of court when Singh simply ignored previous court orders. In total, Singh and his firms have been fined nearly $635,000 since 2010.

Singh and his lawyers argued that his companies were being unfairly targeted, but the judge wasn’t having any of it. The ruling means that Singh cannot carry out any asbestos removal work as of April 15, 2019 for an indefinite term. The judge was clear on the issues in her 177-page ruling.

“Seattle is responsible for repeated and egregious breaches of the (Workers Compensation) Act and regulation, including significant failures to properly dispose of asbestos waste, to ensure adequate containment during high-risk work and to provide safe supervision of workers.”

Choose Wisely – Choose GS
At GreenStream, we welcome any efforts by regulators to weed out the bad apples in the industry. A cavalier attitude towards health and safety regulations hurts not just your employees, but neighbours and anyone else in the area where an unsafe job site exists.

Asbestos dust can travel with the wind, and once it is inhaled, it never leaves your lungs. Decades later, it can result in a host of respiratory issues, including cancers and deadly mesothelioma.

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 Dumping

Slowly but surely, environmental regulations as it relates to asbestos is tightening up across the country. That means that both workers and the public will be better protected against asbestos exposure.

There is a flip side to the story, unfortunately – asbestos dumping.

A Case in Burnaby, BC
A recent case in British Columbia, illustrates the problem. The residents of a neighbourhood in Burnaby, a suburb of Vancouver, were furious to discover that someone had dumped several bags of asbestos contaminated waste in an alley way near Eton and Cambridge Streets.

The area’s residents contacted the city of Burnaby right away, and a hazardous materials team, along with the RCMP, came to the scene. Most of the bags were sealed, but one was open, and the contents were visible. The bags were blocking the alley in question.

Naturally, residents were concerned about kids inadvertently exposing themselves to asbestos. The problem goes beyond just that.

  • Winds can make the asbestos particles airborne;
  • From the alley, they could spread all over the neighbourhood.

In Metro Vancouver, any vermiculite insulation, blown-in insulation, and any acoustic ceiling tiles installed before 1990 must automatically go to the Vancouver Landfill, where it is assumed they contain asbestos waste. The only exception occurs when there is a certificate of analysis confirming that no asbestos is present in the material being dumped.

The RCMP are investigating the incident.

Know Your Contractor
When asbestos regulations are tightened, it is typically more expensive to process waste. That’s why unscrupulous and unlicensed operators take the cheap – and illegal – route of dumping.

  • An experienced and licensed contractor is your assurance that asbestos containing waste will be contained and disposed of properly and legally.
  • It protects employees, you and your family, and even your neighbours.

That’s Where GS Comes In
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 (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.