Beyond the Asbestos Ban

In late 2018, the Canadian federal government finally did the right thing, and put the asbestos ban into effect. For most of the 20th century, and now into the 21st, asbestos continues to be a public health hazard, and a leading cause of workplace deaths.

Beyond the ban: Prevention
Many health and safety experts are now calling on the federal government for a comprehensive prevention strategy to deal with the legacy of asbestos in both public and private buildings.

Some measures have been taken on the provincial level, including Saskatchewan, which has taken a leading role in this field. However, Canadian workers across the board need protection from this threat that takes decades to develop.

  • Construction and renovation workers are now one of the prime candidates for asbestos exposure when they work on older buildings;
  • With the rise of DIY renos, it means that anyone taking on a renovation project, or installation of a home security system or other work that involves moving into walls, is also at risk;
  • According to experts, upwards of 150,000 Canadians still come into contact with asbestos in the workplace every year;
  • Over 500 new cases of mesothelioma are diagnosed in Canada – 85 percent of them workplace related – each year, with the numbers rising.

Paul Demers, an epidemiologist and director of the Occupational Cancer Research Centre in Ontario, spoke to reporters about the risk that still lingers.

“You can’t see asbestos in the air. You’ve got to know whether it’s there or not.”

Concrete measures are needed across the board.

  • A registry of public buildings in every province that contain asbestos (so far, only Saskatchewan and the federal government have done this);
  • A record of who is exposed to asbestos, and where;
  • A patient registry to track new cases, and determine if measures are working to reduce the number;
  • A firm plan for asbestos removal, rather than waiting for problems to happen.

Asbestos in your home?
Let us 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.

Asbestos Removal Province-wide: Can Quebec Handle Its Asbestos Legacy?

It’s been an eventful few years when it comes to the situation with asbestos, and asbestos legislation, in Canada. It was about a year ago that the national asbestos ban was finalized.

In Quebec, “eventful” might translate to “a roller coaster ride”. Once one of the world’s leading suppliers of asbestos, the province is now dealing with the aftermath of that industry.

Asbestos waste
Recently, the Quebec government asked BAPE, the Bureau d’audiences publiques sur l’environnement, (an environmental watchdog, ) to investigate the current situation. That investigation will focus on scientific studies. It’s something of a turnaround for a provincial government that was, until a few short years ago, together with the federal government, trying to downplay the risks of asbestos, particularly the chrysotile variety that is mined in Quebec.

The request came from Quebec health minister Danielle McCann.

  • The report will detail the state of asbestos in Quebec;
  • It will focus on the health impacts of asbestos and its waste residue;
  • It will recommend ways to safely dispose of any asbestos present in the province.

The goal
The purpose of the report, which is due July 24, 2020, is to allow the provincial government to make informed decisions.

  • Asbestos has a long history in Quebec, where Canada’s first asbestos mine was opened in 1879.
  • The last two asbestos mines in operation were in Asbestos and Thetford Mines.

At the same time, of course, companies like Alliance Magnesium have been given the okay to explore ways to transform the residue from Quebec’s closed asbestos mines into magnesium ingots and silica. Will the report look at those processes? It’s not clear. Asbestos mining residue has been used for purposes such as landfill, industrial abrasives, and also in road and rail construction.

Asbestos in your home?
Let us 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.

Asbestos Removal On The Sly

Normally, a company that is responsibly dealing with asbestos removal issues would be something to applaud. But, when the existence of that asbestos has been shrouded in secrecy, you can see where problems come into the picture.

Asbestos removal kept quiet
Just last month, the news broke about yet another situation developing from the fallout from the former GE plant in Peterborough, Ontario. For about 125 years, the site handled a variety of toxic substances, including more than 3,000 toxic chemicals that were in use at the plant between 1945 and 2000. One of them was asbestos.

Recently, a Toronto Star/CBC report exposed the fact that, at one time, the company sold excess asbestos to its workers, to use in insulating their homes. The program was not made public for years, but it turns out that GE had been paying for asbestos removal in many cases that came forward for over 15 years.

  • The company said it had performed 54 asbestos inspections, and 24 asbestos removals since 2003.

The plan, however, has been criticized for its secrecy. Despite company claims that they had made public statements about the program, the media investigation found no record of any public outreach. In fact, as late as 2004, GE denied that the practice of selling its excess asbestos to workers had ever been in place.

The risk
In a news story, some homeowners said they had opted to leave the asbestos in place, even after testing confirmed its presence. What’s the risk?

  • Asbestos is considered safe as long as it is intact and undisturbed;
  • If any renovations are planned, there is a risk of creating dangerous and inhalable asbestos dust;
  • The materials that asbestos was often mixed with deteriorate over time, even if the asbestos fibres per se do not, which eventually causes a crumbling material, and exposed asbestos dust.

Reports indicate there has been a significant uptick in requests for asbestos testing and asbestos removal since the story first broke.

Asbestos in your home?
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.

BC Company Nets $18K Fine For Asbestos Violations

With Toronto and the GTA’s old stock of housing, you’d think there would be more stories about asbestos violations in our area in Southern Ontario. But, there’s yet another story of asbestos mishandling from BC making the media rounds.

Asbestos violations
Specifically, the list of charges included:

  • One company was charged with two counts of failing to ensure that employees used personal protective gear while performing asbestos abatement, and fined $5,000 and $2,500 respectively;
  • Two companies were charged with performing an incomplete asbestos removal.

One environmental company operating out of Surrey, British Columbia received fines totaling $17,787. According to WorkSafeBC, the company had filed a letter indicating that asbestos removal was complete, but when the agency inspected the site, the inspector found drywall debris that contained asbestos.

The WorkSafeBC website indicates, “The firm failed to ensure that identified hazardous materials were safely contained or removed, a repeated violation.”

Another company received a $2,500 fine for the same offense.

The real problem
WorkSafeBC indicated in their online documentation that all three companies fined were repeat violators, with two of the violations were considered high-risk. Those elements increase the size of the fine.

With GS, you can be sure of the highest levels of professionalism. We know that care – and the proper procedures – have to be followed at every step to ensure that asbestos removal work is done safely, with any debris contained and disposed of properly. Certainly – the first rule of the job is, get the job done!

  • A company that doesn’t care about its employees, also doesn’t care about its clients;
  • Asbestos can be a deadly risk, and it’s nothing to toy with.

We Can Help
Let us 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.

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.