Popcorn Ceilings = Asbestos

An old home fashion trend may introduce asbestos into your life when you live in an older home in the GTA.

We’re not really sure why so-called popcorn ceilings were ever popular. They naturally gather dust, creating a dull look in no time. They’re also hard to clean, to add icing to the cake.

Popcorn or textured ceilings are also difficult to repair, often resulting in a patchwork of areas in different colour shades and with differing textures.

  • Now the kicker: They may be chock full of asbestos too.

That’s right. Asbestos is actually the textured part of the mixture, which also typically includes plaster or stucco.

Old Trends, Old Problems
For whatever reason, the popcorn ceiling was a popular trend in the 1950’s, before the health effects of asbestos were widely known and understood. Popcorn ceilings installed up to the late 1980s may contain up to 10 percent asbestos fibres.

In today’s overheated Toronto real estate market, it’s become common for buyers to compete, and to accept fixer-uppers in a state that they wouldn’t have before. That means many more unrenovated properties on the market, and a better chance you’ll encounter a popcorn ceiling or other form of asbestos containing material.

Your Popcorn Ceiling
If you have a popcorn ceiling, first, don’t panic. The stucco/asbestos material is not considered dangerous as long as it is kept intact.

  • That means being very careful about any cleaning or dusting.
  • If you disturb the material in any way – including installation of a home theatre or alarm system – then you need to consult a professional first.

If you suspect that your popcorn ceiling contains asbestos, or if it becomes damaged in any way, then you need professional help.

You Can Trust GreenStream
You can trust the experienced asbestos removal experts and asbestos remediation experts at GreenStream Environmental to take care of the issue for you. In the Toronto area contact GreenStreamEnvironmental.ca at (416) 818-9414. Contact us for a quote today.

Featured in Mike Holmes’ magazine, HGTV’s Income Properties, W Network’s Love It Or List It and chosen by Homestars.com as “Best Toronto Asbestos Removal Company” based on customer ratings and reviews, GreenStream Environmental Services are fully-certified, trusted and insured professionals in the removal and disposal of commercial, industrial, institutional and residential asbestos, vermiculite and mould (hazardous and non-hazardous). Providing emergency service 24/7/365 for all of Toronto and the GTA (North York, Mississauga, Markham, Brampton, Scarborough, Ajax, Oshawa, and beyond) GreenStream has over 40 combined years of experience serving clients such as the City of Toronto, the Toronto District School Board and many more. For a free estimate in Toronto, the GTA and Southern Ontario, call today at 416-818-9414. You’ll be glad you did.

Asbestos remediation, encapsulation and removal

Can you safely live and work with asbestos? The answer is a pretty ambivalent, “maybe, sometimes…”

Late last month, the DND (Department of National Defense) recently made headlines – but not for any military maneuvers. Media attention came from the fact that the DND moved about 500 staff members into a building that is known to contain asbestos.

In question is the National Printing Bureau Building in Gatineau and staff are expected to move in by the end of the summer. The move comes about as the result of a fire that occurred in another building, forcing the DND to find other accommodations for nearly 2,000 workers in total.

Officials rushed to announce that the workers would not be put at risk. Lt.-Cmdr. Lora Collier explained to the Ottawa Citizen. “It is contained and encapsulated and does not pose a threat to employees. There is no associated health or safety risk to employees who may be relocated to work in that building.”

But what does that mean?

Asbestos encapsulation
Asbestos is said to be fairly common in aging DND buildings. It’s certainly not uncommon for governments the world over to choose to try and contain asbestos rather than incur the often considerable expense of asbestos removal from large public buildings.

  • Important: Do NOT attempt to encapsulate asbestos yourself. Only an asbestos remediation technician can determine whether asbestos removal or encapsulation is the best course of action.

Large public buildings present their own set of issues, but in your home, the safest course of action is generally asbestos removal.

  • In the case of encapsulated or otherwise contained asbestos, regular vigilance is the key to safety. In the case of the federal government, buildings are inspected on an annual basis. We’d suggest twice a year or more, along with a close examination of any encapsulated areas anytime they have ben affected by events such as flooding or inadvertent damage.
  • Remember that anything that disturbs or damages asbestos or asbestos containing materials can create deadly asbestos dust. This can include anything from fire and floods to renovations.

Let Us Help
If you suspect the presence of asbestos in your home, you can’t afford to cut corners or “save money” while you damage your health and that of your family if the material is disturbed in any way. You can trust the experienced asbestos removal experts and asbestos remediation experts at GreenStream Environmental to take care of the issue for you. In the Toronto area contact GreenStreamEnvironmental.ca at (416) 818-9414. Contact us for a quote today.

Featured in Mike Holmes’ magazine, HGTV’s Income Properties, W Network’s Love It Or List It and chosen by Homestars.com as “Best Toronto Asbestos Removal Company” based on customer ratings and reviews, GreenStream Environmental Services are fully-certified, trusted and insured professionals in the removal and disposal of commercial, industrial, institutional and residential asbestos, vermiculite and mould (hazardous and non-hazardous). Providing emergency service 24/7/365 for all of Toronto and the GTA (North York, Mississauga, Markham, Brampton, Scarborough, Ajax, Oshawa, and beyond) GreenStream has over 40 combined years of experience serving clients such as the City of Toronto, the Toronto District School Board and many more. For a free estimate in Toronto, the GTA and Southern Ontario, call today at 416-818-9414. You’ll be glad you did.

CLC President Leads Call For Outright Ban on Asbestos as Imports Continue to Rise

The federal government took a step in the right direction recently with the announcement of a ban on the use of asbestos in federal construction projects.

However, in context that measure seems like a drop in the bucket when you take into consideration the fact that overall asbestos imports into this country continue to rise. That’s something that has brought together union representatives and families of those whose health has been affected by asbestos exposure.

Canadian Labour Congress President Hassan Yussuff made the call for a total ban on asbestos in all products along with trade union representatives and family members in a media announcement last week.

The Truth About Canada and Asbestos
The fact of the matter is that millions of dollars worth of asbestos products are imported into Canada each year, including brake pads. With the collapse of the asbestos mining industry in Canada five years ago, an outright ban is the next step in protecting Canadians from the health effects of asbestos exposure.

The group’s statement called asbestos containing products the country’s biggest cause of workplace deaths. Here are the facts, according to Canadian Cancer Society research and StatsCan:

  • Over 2,000 Canadians die from causes associated with asbestos exposure every year;
  • Between 2010 and 2012, the number of new cases of mesothelioma jumped from 276 to 560;
  • Deaths from mesothelioma went from 292 to 467 during the same period.

Because many lung cancers other than mesothelioma are caused by asbestos exposure, the real toll of asbestos exposure is much higher. Here is another relevant fact:

  • Imports of asbestos containing products – including brake pads and cement-asbestos pipes – almost doubled between 2011 and 2015.

Hassam pointed out that all the asbestos containing products could easily be replaced by other, safer configurations.

Mesothelioma
When asbestos fibres are inhaled, they do not deteriorate over time. Instead, they begin to work their way into the tissue that lines the lungs and alter the cellular structure. Over time, it can cause a range of lung disorders, including cancers such as deadly mesothelioma. That’s why it takes decades after asbestos exposure for symptoms of mesothelioma and other lung diseases to manifest.

An asbestos ban would not help to cure those who have already been exposed, but it will help protect future generations.

It’s No Joke
Asbestos is a known health hazard. If you have asbestos in your home, the only way to proceed is with safety in mind. You can trust the experienced asbestos removal and asbestos remediation experts at GreenStream Environmental to take care of the issue for you. In the Toronto area contact GreenStreamEnvironmental.ca at (416) 818-9414. Contact us for a quote today.

Featured in Mike Holmes’ magazine, HGTV’s Income Properties, W Network’s Love It Or List It and chosen by Homestars.com as “Best Toronto Asbestos Removal Company” based on customer ratings and reviews, GreenStream Environmental Services are fully-certified, trusted and insured professionals in the removal and disposal of commercial, industrial, institutional and residential asbestos, vermiculite and mould (hazardous and non-hazardous). Providing emergency service 24/7/365 for all of Toronto and the GTA (North York, Mississauga, Markham, Brampton, Scarborough, Ajax, Oshawa, and beyond) GreenStream has over 40 combined years of experience serving clients such as the City of Toronto, the Toronto District School Board and many more. For a free estimate in Toronto, the GTA and Southern Ontario, call today at 416-818-9414. You’ll be glad you did.

Keeping Track of Deadly Asbestos

The province of Saskatchewan launched Canada’s first online asbestos registry recently – a long overdue development we believe best serves the interests of all Canadians.

What the registry does is keep track of the presence of asbestos or asbestos containing materials in public buildings. The database notes which buildings contain asbestos as well as the location and type of asbestos in question. It’s also a mobile-friendly app and building owners can update the information at any time.

Seems simple, right? Seems like the obvious thing to do… however recent news headlines about workers in federal buildings who only found out about the presence of asbestos years after they’d been working there remind us that sometimes the obvious needs to be put into black and white.

In addition, the province has established a special advisory commmittee specifically for asbestos-related health issues. With the toll of illness and deaths due to asbestos exposure still rising, we believe this is a necessary proactive measure that all Canadian provinces should adopt.

Asbestos in Your Home?
It was hailed at one time as a miracle material and no wonder – asbestos is fire retardant, moisture resistant and virtually indestructible. In the first half of the 20th century, extending to the mid-1980’s, it was widely used in all areas of construction, both residential and commercial and literally from floor to ceiling. It was only decades later that the effects on health came to be known, including several forms of lung disease and deadly mesothelioma.

If your home was built before the mid-1980’s it almost certainly contains asbestos in one form or another. If the material is intact, it is considered safe. The danger comes when the material is crumbling and creates inhalable dust that can enter the lungs.

Like the Saskatchewan initiative, it’s crucial to know where it is. While it’s safe as long as it’s intact, any activities or events that can damage those materials – which may be found anywhere from floor tiles to pipe insulation to ceiling tiles, roofing and more – can create dangerously inhalable (or friable) asbestos dust. This can include,

  • Installation of home theater and home alarm systems
  • Plumbing work
  • Renovations
  • Decorating work such as removing or repairing popcorn ceilings
  • Flood or fire damage
  • Anything that can disturb the integrity of walls and other structures

Safe – Not Sorry
Vigilance can help but the safest route is complete asbestos removal or asbestos remediation. If you suspect the presence of asbestos in your home, this is one situation where you don’t want to take matters into your own hands. Call the experts at GreenStream.

In the Toronto area contact GreenStreamEnvironmental.ca at (416) 818-9414. Contact us for a quote today.

Featured in Mike Holmes’ magazine, HGTV’s Income Properties, W Network’s Love It Or List It and chosen by Homestars.com as “Best Toronto Asbestos Removal Company” based on customer ratings and reviews, GreenStream Environmental Services are fully-certified, trusted and insured professionals in the removal and disposal of commercial, industrial, institutional and residential asbestos, vermiculite and mould (hazardous and non-hazardous). Providing emergency service 24/7/365 for all of Toronto and the GTA (North York, Mississauga, Markham, Brampton, Scarborough, Ajax, Oshawa, and beyond) GreenStream has over 40 combined years of experience serving clients such as the City of Toronto, the Toronto District School Board and many more. For a free estimate in Toronto, the GTA and Southern Ontario, call today at 416-818-9414. You’ll be glad you did.

Insulation: Time for an Upgrade?

Adding or installing new insulation can help with a host of environmental issues such as mould growth and noise pollution. But there’s also a caution to throw in where it comes to older homes – vermiculite insulation which can be contaminated with asbestos. Let’s look at what it entails.

Thinking About Insulation?
With the new year, winter has settled in with cold weather and some bitterly cold winds lately in the GTA. If it’s feeling drafty in your home it’s probably a good idea to some thought to your insulation – particularly if it’s been a while since you have.

Drafts aren’t the only sign of inefficient insulation. There are many others.

  • Cold floors and walls in the winter
  • Airs heats up rapidly indoors in the summer
  • Excessive condensation around windows – which can lead to mold growth
  • High energy bills
  • Uneven heating and/or cooling

The best places to start adding insulation are any unused basement or attic spaces. Damp, cold air from the basement can lead to mould. Heat rises and will simply leak out of a drafty attic space and lead to waste and a chilly upper level.

Safety First
Once you’ve decided to add or replace insulation, there is one important question you need to consider first:

  • What’s in those walls?

Many people buy an older home and never give the insulation another thought. But, when it comes to attics in particular, it was once popular to use vermiculite insulation. Vermiculite was often used in attics and around structures like chimneys because it can be poured in from above and nearly levels itself.

Now, vermiculite itself isn’t problematic. However, much of the vermiculite insulation used in North America for decades came from the mine in Libby, Montana – a mine it was later discovered was tainted with asbestos. The mine was shut down in the 1990’s but not before thousands of houses were contaminated.

  • Vermiculite insulation has a pebble-like appearance and is shiny and grey/brown in colour.
  • And – if your home was built before the mid-1980’s or so it may contain asbestos or asbestos containing materials just about anywhere.

We Can Help
The best course is always to deal with existing environmental issues before undertaking new work – especially when it comes to something like insulation that necessitates opening up walls. Asbestos and mold are both serious threats to human health.

Our experienced technicians offer professional, certified services to help you deal with these environmental issues, including

In the Toronto area contact GreenStreamEnvironmental.ca at (416) 818-9414. Contact us for a quote today.

Featured in Mike Holmes’ magazine, HGTV’s Income Properties, W Network’s Love It Or List It and chosen by Homestars.com as “Best Toronto Asbestos Removal Company” based on customer ratings and reviews, GreenStream Environmental Services are fully-certified, trusted and insured professionals in the removal and disposal of commercial, industrial, institutional and residential asbestos, vermiculite and mould (hazardous and non-hazardous). Providing emergency service 24/7/365 for all of Toronto and the GTA (North York, Mississauga, Markham, Brampton, Scarborough, Ajax, Oshawa, and beyond) GreenStream has over 40 combined years of experience serving clients such as the City of Toronto, the Toronto District School Board and many more. For a free estimate in Toronto, the GTA and Southern Ontario, call today at 416-818-9414. You’ll be glad you did.

Court Proceedings Remind of Lingering Asbestos Threat

The court proceedings into the infamous Sunrise Propane explosion of 2008 in north Toronto continues to wind its way through the system. Its current phase involves the issue of responsibility; officials are blaming a procedure that they say the Environment Ministry had informed the company to stop – i.e. truck to truck transfer of the propane, which they see as the cause of the accident which left one dead and a Toronto neighbourhood showered with asbestos.

Asbestos is Still a Threat
Whatever may have caused the explosion, other measures could have mitigated the damage, namely removal of the asbestos in question.  The incident, albeit an extreme example, underscores the danger inherent to the presence of the substance once thought of as a “miracle” construction material.

Certainly, with its fire resistant and nearly indestructible properties, it would have been considered the ideal material for many uses in an industrial building that was destined to house flammable materials. Asbestos may be considered “safe” in bound form, i.e. where it is combined with cement and used to make formed elements like tiles, shingles, pipe chasing and more. It was widely used in both residential and industrial construction for most of the 20th century.

In an industrial area, the risks of something like this are higher, to be sure, but even in your own home, a crumbling ceiling or deteriorating paint could expose you to friable – or breathable – asbestos fibres.

Did you know?
Asbestos fibres may even be present in your:

  • Popcorn ceilings?
  • Textured paints?

No level of exposure is considered safe, and ignorance is definitely not bliss where this dangerous material is concerned.

Don’t Try This At Home
Get expert help. The fact of the matter is that if your home was built before 1970, you have to assume that it contains asbestos, and it may appear in a wide variety of places.

Before any renovation projects, call in the experts from GreenStream Environmental Services for an asbestos inspection. At GreenStream Environmental Services, we offer professional vermiculite and asbestos remediation services to help you contain and then rid yourself of this problem.

Certainly, if you’re planning on buying an older home, it should be an essential part of your pre-purchase checklist.

In the Toronto area contact GreenStreamEnvironmental.ca at (416) 818-9414.

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

Ontario Town Receives Aid for Asbestos Removal

Recently, the town of Goderich, Ontario, got word that the Ontario Disaster Relief Fund would provide the $850,000 to compensate for asbestos removal in the town’s court house. The fund was designed for this kind of situation where other funding isn’t available – since the insurance available does not cover this expense.

Tornado Damage

On August 21, 2011, a violent tornado ripped through the picturesque town on the shores of Lake Huron. With winds estimated at 250 to 300 kph, the damage to many of the town’s buildings was extensive. The pretty town has roots that go back generations, and much of the downtown retained the charm of times past in historic storefronts. What goes along with older buildings much of the time, however, is the risk of asbestos contamination.

One of the damaged buildings was the town’s court house, an iconic cement structure at the centre of the town square. After the storm, testing ordered by the Ministry of Labour and Environment Ministry discovered asbestos, necessitating professional removal procedures.

Renovations

The danger from asbestos comes when it becomes friable, or the fibres deteriorate and become airborne. As long as it’s bound up in a mixed material like cement tiles or contained in walls, it’s not considered a threat.

However, it doesn’t take a tornado to disturb or potentially cause damage or deterioration to the asbestos that may exist in your home. Renovations of any kind can disturb materials and cause just the kind of damage that can lead to airborne asbestos fibres.

If your home was built before 1970, then you have to assume that it does contain asbestos. Before any renovation projects, call in the experts from GreenStream Environmental Services for an asbestos inspection. At GreenStream Environmental Services, we offer professional vermiculite and asbestos remediation services to help you contain and then rid yourself of this problem.

In the Toronto area contact GreenStreamEnvironmental.ca at (416) 818-9414.

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.

Residents ordered to vacate condo for months after asbestos is found

After a massive fire that caused an estimated $2.6 million in damage, almost 300 residents living in an Edmonton condominium building have been ordered to leave for at least six months because investigators discovered asbestos in the drywall and ceilings.   A worker soldering a pipe accidentally started the fire, which only damaged two top-floor condominium units. However, the 14 floors below the fire experienced significant water damage because of the firefighting efforts.  

When insurance adjusters began to investigate the damage, they had found that asbestos contained within the building had been disturbed and it would take anywhere from four to six months before the building would be safe to live in again.   Several local community organizations along with the Red Cross have stepped in to help the residents stay warm over the holidays – some of which took to social media to demand more technical information on why they had to be removed from the building instead of the asbestos abatement being done in phases to be less disruptive.

One resident is an architect and says she has experience with asbestos and the problem isn’t a big deal, but the insurance company told the Edmonton Journal that if it were possible to avoid such a disruption they would have gone that route and that the asbestos dangers are real – and serious.

In addition, their work my end up blocking stairwells and creating evacuation issues if there were a fire, which is a major safety hazard.   Asbestos is sometimes called a “land mine” – it poses little danger when left undisturbed and unnoticed in areas of a building or a home where it can’t be touched or accessed. However, as evidenced by the Edmonton condominium fire, accidents can happen that bring the asbestos dangers to the surface.

Home and building owners can save themselves a lot of hassle, headaches and fatal physical health problems – like mesothelioma – by having the asbestos removed by a certified asbestos removal company before it becomes an even bigger problem.

Should you suspect the presence of vermiculite or asbestos in your home or building, Contact GreenStreamEnvironmental.ca – Toronto’s asbestos removal company – at (416) 818-9414.

Vermiculite and Asbestos Removal Company serving  Toronto, Ajax, Brampton, Etobicoke, Markham, Mississauga, North York, Oshawa, Peel Region, Pickering,  Richmond Hill, Scarborough, Woodbridge ,Vaughan and York