GreenStream Environmental Asbestos Services Save the Day on Love It Or List It

Greenstream Environmental was in the media spotlight on Love It Or List It, a popular program on the W Network. On the recent episode, an older home was undergoing demolition procedures during a renovation, and asbestos was discovered in the plaster walls.

The owners did what so many others have done – they called GreenStream Environmental Inc. for asbestos abatement and removal services.

The homeowners on Love It Or List It certainly aren’t alone. Asbestos was a widely used construction material for most of the 20th century and shows up in a variety of residential and commercial applications, including decorative plasterwork, so-called “popcorn” or textured ceilings, acoustic ceiling tiles and outside too in siding and roofing shingles. With its fire resistant and very durable properties, asbestos was considered a kind of “miracle” construction material. Any home built before the early 1970’s may contain asbestos in the building materials.

By the 1960’s the first generation of asbestos workers had begun to show the symptoms of lung disease, and a link was found between the inhaling of asbestos fibres and a form of lung cancer. While the hazards of asbestos may be minimized in something like interior plaster as long as it’s maintained in an entirely intact state, once the walls come down and dust is released into the air, as it was during this renovation, the threat of inhalation is very real.

Today, stringent laws in the province of Ontario dictate asbestos removal and abatement prior to any home or commercial renovation project, and that’s where we come in at GreenStream Environmental Inc. The Love It Or List It appearance wasn’t our first time in the spotlight – we’ve been featured on HGTV’s Income Properties and in Mike Holmes’ magazine – and while we appreciate the exposure, we care just as much about your asbestos or other environmental issues like mould. We’ve serviced over 500 clients with over 40 years combined experience, using proven and environmentally friendly methods.

If you suspect the presence of asbestos in your home, and before any renovation projects, let GreenStream Environmental Inc. be your choice for asbestos and mould remediation in the Toronto area – contact GreenStreamEnvironmental.ca – Toronto’s asbestos removal specialists – 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, mould (hazardous and non-hazardous). Providing emergency service 24/7/365 for all of Toronto and the GTA, 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.

Cape Breton housing worker fined for not warning tenants about asbestos

The federal government may still support asbestos exportation but at least some provincial Canadian governments seem to understand the threat it poses and how important asbestos remediation and removal are.

The Nova Scotia government has fined James Della Valle, an employee with the Cape Breton Island Housing Authority, $1,000 for failing to warn tenants about asbestos present in the Whitney Pier apartments.

Della Valle was the health and safety co-ordinator for the Cape Breton Island Housing Authority in 2005. At the time a worker found what looked like asbestos in some ceiling insulation in a Sydney housing unit. Della Valle took the sample for testing and the suspicion was confirmed: the material was asbestos.

The problem wasn’t that Della Valle took no action: he did tell two maintenance supervisors that asbestos removal had to happen. The problem is that he didn’t inform the building’s tenants, nor did he tell the head of the housing authority.

The Tenants and housing authority head, Joan McKeough, didn’t find out about the asbestos until six months later, when an outside asbestos removal company reached out to provincial environmental officials with the news. The good news is that the housing authority took action after that and removed asbestos from as many as 80 units.

The bad news – and the lesson we can learn from Della Valle’s story – is that six months is far too long to live with asbestos. We’ve explained on the GreenStream Environmental blog before that asbestos fibres can start damaging your cells in your lungs and surrounding tissues within days, not months. The tenants living with the asbestos deserved to know about it right away.

Kudos to the Nova Scotia government. It clearly recognizes how crucial it is for asbestos to be dealt with immediately and for anyone living with it to be properly informed.

Should you suspect the presence of asbestos in your home or business, Contact GreenStreamEnvironmental.ca – Toronto’s asbestos removal specialists – 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, mould (hazardous and non-hazardous). Providing emergency service 24/7/365 for all of Toronto and the GTA, 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.

Attack of the VATs: Removing vinyl asbestos tiles

When we think of the dangers asbestos poses, we often associate the tiny, carcinogenic fibres with easily visible structures, like roofing, ceilings, wall insulation and so on. One major asbestos threat often gets forgotten simply because it’s under our feet and not the first place we look. I’m talking about vinyl asbestos titles, or VATs.

Vinyl asbestos tiles are particularly dangerous because they’re easily mishandled. If the threat they pose isn’t respected during asbestos removal, they can release deadly fibres into the air.

The key with handling VATs is understanding their friability, or how easily they’re crumbled or broken into powder. If a given tile is non-friable – solid and not easily broken or crumbled – it’s far less dangerous, as VATs cause the most trouble when crumbled into dust. Friable VATs, be they poorly constructed or just old, are quite dangerous. One reason to have a trained asbestos removal company dispose of VATs for you is that the experts have a better idea of which tiles are friable and which aren’t.

Removing VATs is thus highly focused on keeping the tiles as non-friable as possible. Asbestos removal workers must assume every tile is a threat and treat it delicately. That means drills, saws, hammers or any equipment used to pulverize are absolute no-nos. It’s almost like we have to treat VATs like priceless glass.

One we have control of vinyl asbestos tiles, we follow a special procedure to transport them out of a given building. That may include wrapping them in plastic to ensure no loose fibres escape and taking them to EPA-approved landfill facilities where they are buried in a safe place.

As you can probably guess by now, VATs are not child’s play. Homeowners should not handle them at all. In fact, some regions prohibit homeowners from handling vinyl asbestos tiles without professional help.

As long as you respect VATs as the dangerous things they are and understand their delicacy and the expertise required to remove them, you’ll be safe.

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, 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.

The Daily Show slams Quebec town of Asbestos

Just a couple of weeks after Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper found himself in hot water because of the Conservative’s Party’s support of asbestos exports, the issue has been exposed on major American television.

The comedy news program The Daily Show, featuring Jon Stewart, ambushed asbestos mining officials in the Quebec town of Asbestos. Despite the fact that asbestos removal sampling has clearly revealed that the fibres are carcinogenic and responsible for 100,000 deaths a year, Quebec continues to export it to countries like India. Even though the government doesn’t let Quebec – and mining towns like Asbestos – distribute asbestos within Canada, Harper still supports the exports. The Daily Show had heard enough and went on the attack during an episode last week.

Daily Show Reporter Aasif Mandvi was born in India, which receives many of Quebec’s asbestos exports; he interviewed asbestos executive Bernard Coulombe. He started with a tongue-and-cheek tone, asking, “Does Asbestos mean something different in French than it does in English? Because in English it means slow, hacking, death.”

But Mandvi didn’t let Coulombe off for long. After the segment explained to viewers that there’s little evidence to suggest asbestos is handled safely in India, Mandvi asked Coulombe, “Have you ever been to India? Do you think in India people are following the regulations?”

Coulombe gave an answer that would infuriate any asbestos removal company: “Maybe [Indian workers] are used to the pollution. It’s like antibiotics. They have natural antibodies.”

Mandvi snapped at that point, and deservedly so, responding: “That’s really [expletive] up, man. I mean, selling them things that are going to kill them. I mean, that’s my family over there.”

Kudos to The Daily Show for using humor – and its audience of a million-plus viewers per night – to get the message out about the dangers of asbestos. From another country’s perspective, it’s absurd to see that parts of Canada aren’t committing to asbestos remediation and removal.

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, mould (hazardous and non-hazardous). Providing emergency service 24/7/365 for all of Toronto and the GTA, 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 416-818-9314.

Tornadoes bring out the worst in asbestos

The damage inflicted by a natural disaster like a tornado is, for the most part, easy to see: buildings, trees and vehicles are ripped apart and pose very obvious threats to us.

However, there’s another serious environmental threat that accompanies tornadoes: asbestos exposure. Kudos to government agencies in the currently tornado-torn Southern states such as Alabama for recognizing the dangers and recently speaking out about them.

Older buildings that haven’t undergone proper asbestos removal are always health hazards; they can affect our breathing and exposure to asbestos fibres that can lead to serious long-term illnesses, including lung cancer.

But natural disasters such as tornados make the threat infinitely scarier. If you dilly-dally about getting an asbestos inspection and removal company to your building before tornado strikes, the consequences can be grave.

As Craig Tucker of the Jefferson County Department of Public Health recently explained, the destruction caused by tornadoes kicks debris all over the place and often crushes various components of a building’s foundation.

“When the material becomes crushed, more of a powdered state, that’s when you’ve got the potential for the asbestos fibres to become airborne and then cause the greatest damage to the public’s health,” Tucker said.

Health officials in the South have also smartly insisted that traditional dust masks aren’t enough to keep any disaster relief crews safe. Half-face masks with double HEPA filters are recommended.

While Ontario and the Greater Toronto Area aren’t part of Tornado Alley by any means, the disaster in the American South is an important lesson about the threat when a force of nature combines with asbestos, mould and other dangerous agents. It could be a tornado but it could also be an earthquake or a major storm.

The lesson is to make sure you keep up with your asbestos and mould removal so your risks are minimized in the event of a disaster.

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, 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 416-818-9314.