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.

The Paradise Theatre – Asbestos & Historic Renovations

Historic building renovations run smoothly when all the complications are considered – including asbestosToronto’s historic Paradise Theatre is a beautiful example of Art Deco style architecture on Bloor Street. The building at 1006 Bloor West has housed a theatre of one kind or another from the time it was designed in 1937 until 2006. As with many other older single-screen theatres, it fell into decline by the 1990s. Its fate was in limbo for several years, with the threat of demolition considered about seven years ago.

But, the period of uncertainty is over, and the venerable site is in the process of being completely restored. The building will house a restaurant along with a theatre and event space, with a mix of some private and mostly public programming.

Out With The Old…
The project has been underway for about three years. Before the new design and features could be developed, the building first had to be rehabilitated. That included:

Asbestos removal;
• Lead paint removal;
• Fixing a leaky wall (likely causing mould);
• Among others.

That work is now done, clearing the way for a bright new future for a lovely historic building.

Your Old Home
When it comes to your home, demolition and rebuilding typically aren’t the first choice when you want to change. With so many older homes in Toronto’s market, renovations are booming.

But, for a successful renovation, just like the Paradise Theatre, you have to include dealing with asbestos and other environmental issues before you begin.

• If your home was built before the mid-1980s, it is likely to include asbestos or asbestos containing materials in one form or another.
• It can take many forms, and appear anywhere in your home from floor tiles to wall panels to ceiling tiles and even textured paints. It could be in caulking, insulation, and in your attic.
• No amount of exposure to asbestos is considered safe, and any work that disturbs or damages walls or other structures can produce deadly asbestos dust.
• A successful renovation begins with including asbestos removal, mould removal, and any other legacy issues in your renovation budget.

We can help!

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.

City of Portland New Demo Rules Target Asbestos Dust Contamination

This month, the city of Portland, Oregon, approved a new series of regulations about home demolitions that were designed to help control and minimize exposure to asbestos and lead dust.

The city took a leading role in promoting safer conditions in demolition situations. These include a number of specifications.

  • Contractors are now required to take down portions of a building by hand, if the use of heavy equipment might lead to the release of asbestos or lead dust.
  • Sites must be misted with water to prevent the spread of asbestos or lead dust.

The city’s new regulations put it at the forefront of North American communities concerned with protecting citizens from the harmful effects of exposure to lead or asbestos dust.

Ontario Regulations
The law in Ontario that governs demolitions and hazardous substances is the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) and regulations. It contains regulations for any demolition, renovations, or repairs to a building.

When it comes to demolitions, the law sets out the following:

  • Prior to the work commencing, the owner of the building must have the building examined for the presence of asbestos, whether it is likely to be disturbed by the renovation or demolition.
  • Demolitions can be done only after any asbestos or asbestos containing material (ACM) which may be disturbed has been removed from the site.
  • If demolition begins and the ACM is only found after, then the process halts until the ACM is removed.

It’s a little more complicated than that, but those are the basic rules. The City of Toronto does not require the same kind of regulations as Portland, currently.

You Can Count On GS
Here at GreenStream, we applaud the city of Portland for their diligence. The risk from the spread of asbestos dust from worksites – whether they are demolition or renovation projects, or asbestos removal jobs – is very real. Unfortunately, there have been many cases worldwide that prove the risk from asbestos dust can spread well beyond its initial source. We take every necessary precaution to ensure that any hazardous asbestos dust or other materials are contained within our worksites, and then disposed of safetly.

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.

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.

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.