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.

Flooding, Mould & More

Flash flooding took GTA residents by surprise earlier this week. When about 125mm of rain fell over Burlington, west of Toronto, in a matter of hours, it caused chaos, flooding roads and even closing the QEW. As a point of comparison, that figure is typical for a month’s rainfall in this area at this time of year.

The water cascaded through streets, flooding homes and businesses alike. This comes barely a year after the great Southern Ontario flood of July 2013, which saw a large swath between Mississauga and east Toronto – clearly it’s a sign of times to come.

The Clean-Up
As home and business owners begin the clean-up from a flood, there are a few key points to keep in mind:

  • Timing is everything – quick action is needed to mitigate the damages. Don’t forget that mould can begin to grow anywhere that it is damp within only 48 hours. A sump pump and fans can help.
  • Dirty water – flood waters mix with sewer back up to create a toxic mess that is potentially filled with bacteria. Use caution and avoid getting water on bare skin – wear gloves and boots in your clean-up.
  • Asbestos – if you have an older home, flooding may damage structures that were previously intact, including asbestos-containing materials such as those found in ceiling and floor tiles, insulation, wall panels and much more. As the material dries, it will become friable (inhalable) – and deadly.
  • Be ruthless – discard any soft materials (rugs, papers, clothing, and so on) that have been contaminated with flood waters.

Don’t Take Chances
Flooding, renovations, in-home installations and more – anything that disturbs the integrity of your walls can reveal and damage asbestos containing materials. Mould is a serious health issue that can affect you and those you love.

The seasoned technicians at GreenStream can help you with 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.

Town of Grimsby Inspecting its Facilities for Asbestos

The town of Grimsby in the Niagara peninsula is joining the growing list of municipalities who are undertaking a comprehensive review of their properties for the presence of asbestos.

Last winter, the Pembroke Regional Hospital was fined $60K for failing to protect workers from asbestos exposure. The well-publicized case led the town to examine its own properties.

Town staff have identified seven buildings as possibly containing asbestos or asbestos containing materials (ACM) that will undergo professional inspection and testing and then asbestos removal.

  • It shouldn’t take the threat of a possible fine to take common sense measures against a known health hazard.

Asbestos in Your Home
We understand the risks now, but at one time asbestos was widely used in both residential and institutional construction. If your home was built before 1990, chances are good that it contains asbestos in one form or another. Asbestos may be mixed with other materials in a number of areas in your home, including:

  • Ceiling, wall and floor tiles
  • Insulation
  • Roofing
  • Wall panels
  • Textured paints
  • Textured (popcorn) ceilings

If the material is intact, then it’s not considered a hazard but at more than two decades old now, deterioration is a strong possibility.

If your home contains asbestos, we can help. At GreenStream Environmental, our seasoned team of asbestos removal experts can handle large or smaller asbestos remediation or removal jobs.

  • 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 on Mars or at Home

With all the drama of the politics and the true tragedy of its victims, it’s perhaps fitting that the penultimate chapter in Canada’s history of asbestos mining should have a surreal touch.

The giant Jeffrey Mine located in Asbestos, Quebec is set to close following the newly elected provincial government’s move to cancel the loan pledged by its precedessors. It is still open at the moment, however, as its operations wind down.

However there may be other uses for the stripped landscape the mining produced. The vast mining operation recently hosted a group of scientists for a simulated Mars mission. The exercise was set up by Canada’s space agency.

“There are definitely areas (on Mars) that are much more like what we have at Jeffrey Mine,” Ed Cloutis, a University of Winnipeg professor who participated in the project was quoted in news reports.

Fire resistant, waterproof and nearly indestructible, asbestos was once considered a miracle construction material. It wasn’t until decades later that its effects on health, particularly mesothelioma and other lung diseases, were seen and its uses in construction banned. Like the gaping mine that’s being put to sleep, however, asbestos didn’t just disappear and we’re still dealing with its after effects.

Be Aware
When it comes to the deadly results of asbestos exposure, including mesothelioma and other lung cancers, the results are already in. No amount of exposure is considered safe.

Many of the residential uses of asbestos actually involve asbestos in a mixture and is considered safe as long as that mixture is intact. The danger comes when it deteriorates and crumbles and becomes airborne – or friable.

  • Asbestos remediation is possible in many cases if removal is deemed to be too disruptive.
  • You should be aware of where asbestos is located in your home and keep an eye on it regularly for damage or deterioration.
  • It will be crucial information when you do any renovations.

Go Asbestos Free
While it’s been banned from residential uses since the 1970’s, if you have a house built before that date you should assume that it contains asbestos somewhere too. The best protection for you and your family is permanent asbestos removal or containment.

Let us Help
Get peace of mind from GreenStream Environmental – call us for an asbestos inspection or removal quote today.

If you are looking to buy or renovate an older home then do yourself a favour and include an asbestos inspection on the list of things to do.

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.

Asbestos Adds to Elliot Lake Mall Woes

The tragic collapse of the Algo Centre Mall in Elliot Lake continues to make headlines even as the collapsed building is being taken demolished. According to a 2005 report, inspectors found asbestos containing materials, including ceiling tiles and a cement mixture that was used to waterproof outer walls. The mall first opened its doors in 1980.

The presence of asbestos was also suspected in roof drains and vinyl floor tiles. The report didn’t raise the alarm since, at the time, the materials were intact and in good condition and therefore considered safe.

After the mall’s tragic collapse on June 23 of this year, however, survivors describe inhaling clouds of thick dust. The situation was exacerbated by the fact that so many onlookers came close to the collapsing structure to witness rescue efforts. No one was made aware of the asbestos risks at the time, and it’s not clear whether the rescue or demolition teams were properly outfitted with protective gear.

Ceiling Tiles
One of the places asbestos contaminated materials were found is in ceiling tiles. Prior to its ban in 1990, that was a very common use for asbestos due to its fire resistant qualities. Asbestos also has soundproofing qualities, which resulted in its use in so-called acoustical ceiling tiles.

Other ceiling treatments may include asbestos:

  • “Popcorn” ceilings, also known as vermiculite, along with textured paints
  • Pure tremolite asbestos blocks were used as fireproofing, most often in industrial buildings
  • It may also appear as a fireproof spray-on coating

Maybe even in your home!
If your home was built before the 1970’s, you should assume it contains asbestos in one form or another. If you are looking to buy or renovate an older home then do yourself a favour and include an asbestos inspection on the list of things to do.

The material is very durable and likely to last for many years in bound form or if it’s contained, but it’s also true that many of the asbestos containing elements that you’ll find nowadays have already been in place for a long time. The material does eventually become brittle and break apart, capable of producing the friable – or inhalable – fibres that have been shown to cause lung disease, including mesothelioma.

Please don’t try to handle it yourself!
Get peace of mind from GreenStream Environmental – call us for an asbestos inspection or removal quote today.

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.

Stephen Harper defends asbestos exports despite cancer risks

Interestingly enough, as Election Day approaches in Canada, asbestos is at the center of a debate surrounding Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

Asbestos removal has become a vital process for curing “sick” public buildings in Canada. The fibres in the fire-resistant material have been directly linked to cancer – even afflicting Transport Minister Chuck Strahl, who has lung cancer as the result of exposure.

On Tuesday in Quebec, Harper said that he has “no plans” to expand the use of asbestos in Canada. However, he supports the sale of asbestos abroad. Harper claimed that “Chrysotile [or white asbestos, the most commonly encountered form of it] is permitted internationally under conditions of safe and controlled use.

Harper said that Canada is one of many countries continuing to export asbestos to the countries in which it is legal. The claim comes despite the fact that asbestos is being removed from Canadian schools, the House of Commons and 24 Sussex Dr., the Prime Minister’s home.

It’s arguably a risky stance for Harper to take so close to election time. The Ontario government regulates commercial asbestos and mould removal and environmental safety companies carry out the process for the Toronto and the GTA. The direct result of failure to remove asbestos is right under Harper’s nose with Strahl suffering.

“Typically, 20 to 25 years later, the asbestos works its ugly magic,” Strahl said this week. Unfortunately, I’m right on time.”

Canada’s health professionals are speaking out against the Harper government’s stance on asbestos. Dr. Kapil Khatter of the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment called for Harper to “put people’s lives ahead of politics” and called the export of asbestos “medically and morally indefensible.”

About Greenstream Environmental Inc.

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.

Asbestos one of the more common hazards found in Toronto homes

A number of heritage buildings in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), including a lake front cottage in Etobicoke that was built in 1899, are facing demolition because of the presence of asbestos and other heritage materials. Even if the heritage buildings were built before asbestos was widely used (although asbestos has been used since at least 1 A.D.), many were extensively renovated throughout the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s with asbestos materials.

These heritage buildings are difficult to tear down because of red tape, but eventually many of them are successfully demolished. These demolitions present a serious public health risk if an asbestos abatement is not conducted before the actual demolishing of the building takes place.

Older homes in Toronto can also face the same asbestos problems. They too, may have been built with asbestos materials or renovated within the past few decades with asbestos-containing materials. Because of this, 100-year-old or more homes can have costly insurance policies attached. In the past decades, the local Toronto media has reported on several people who had their existing home insurance policies cancelled or were otherwise told they’d have to undergo extensive renovations to remove the asbestos threat.

The majority of homes sold in Toronto are older homes. They certainly have their own unique character and charms, but in many cases insurers will place higher demands on homeowners to make changes to their home, such as undergoing an asbestos inspection and professional asbestos abatement if necessary.   You may want to get an asbestos inspection done on a home before making an offer, to see how difficult it might be to get insurance – without it, you can’t get a mortgage.

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

Asbestos Removal Services in Toronto, GTA, Ajax, Brampton, Etobicoke, Markham, Mississauga, North York, Oshawa, Peel Region, Pickering,  Richmond Hill, Scarborough, Woodbridge ,Vaughan and York, Ontario.

Summer construction at school buildings may lead to asbestos and lead hazards

It’s not uncommon for school buildings in the Greater Toronto Area to be 50 years of age or more, and some of Toronto’s schools make their home in heritage buildings such as certain parts of the University of Toronto.  

Over the course of the summer when school’s out, many school boards take the opportunity to complete extensive renovations, maintenance or other construction that normally can’t be done when school is in session. As a result, building materials originally used in the construction of these buildings – some containing lead, mould and asbestos – can be disturbed and negatively impact the building’s indoor air quality.  

These aging buildings often contain such materials, which can cause lung cancer and respiratory problems in the case of asbestos and impede brain development in the very young, as in the case of lead.

Asbestos has been found in schools across the United States leading to widely publicized asbestos remediation measures, and even more recently the beginning steps of asbestos removal operations have been established in Ontario – as nearby as Hamilton – and at Quebec Schools.

In one Australian case, asbestos was found buried all over their school’s playing fields and a painstaking remediation is currently underway.   An indoor air quality (IAQ) test can help school property managers and school boards determine if the building’s occupants will be exposed to various illness-causing contaminants or healthy, clean air when school starts up again in the fall.

Teachers should also be aware of signs the school air might not be healthy, such as a musty odour or dust on the floors and desks, leading to an unsafe working environment.  

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

Asbestos Removal in Toronto, Ajax, Brampton, Etobicoke, Markham, Mississauga, North York, Oshawa, Peel Region, Pickering,  Richmond Hill, Scarborough, Woodbridge ,Vaughan and York Region Ontario.