Quebec Looks to Revive Canadian Asbestos Exportation

The Quebec government has stunned international markets with the news – announced over Canada day weekend – that it was following through with a whopping $58 million loan to Balcorp Ltd., the company which wants to reopen the giant Jeffrey Mine in Quebec’s Eastern Townships.

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Prime Minister Steven Harper has stayed silent on the issue for political reasons. With the scientific community united in its opinion that there is no safe level of exposure to any kind of asbestos, even the Chrysotile Institute, which long lobbied for the “safe” extraction and use of chrysotile asbestos over other types, recently announced its disbanding.

Still, Balcorp. and the Quebec-based industry insist that the substance, also called white asbestos, can be mined and used safely in construction and other applications as an alternative to other types of asbestos, for example brown, blue or tremolite asbestos.

Since asbestos has been banned from virtually all uses in developed countries in Europe and North America, the material is destined for exportation to developing nations like India, Indonesia and Vietnam. The move is widely seen throughout the rest of Canada as a black eye for this country on the world stage and has been criticized by the Canadian Medical Association and the Canadian Cancer Association.

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

Could There Be Asbestos in Your 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, North York, Mississauga, the GTA and Southern Ontario, call today at 416-818-9414.  You’ll be glad you did

Canada and Asbestos Exportation: The Truth

As reported in Postmedia News recently, documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act seem to clearly indicate that the Canadian government has been helping to promote the supposedly “safe” mining and use of chrysotile asbestos even as it acknowledged the documented health risks. This comes in direct contrast to the current federal government’s  repeated assertions that Canada’s position has been consistent throughout.

The documents include a memo to Environment Minister Peter Kent which concurred with the 2002 assessment of chrysotile asbestos as a hazardous material under Annex III of the UN’s Rotterdam Convention. The briefing note states that Canada agreed that it accepted the scientific evidence, but still opposed its inclusion on the list, which would have required sellers to inform buyers of the hazards of asbestos, among other things.

It only underscores the Canadian government’s long term efforts to block the listing of chrysotile asbestos largely mined in Quebec, an industry that it is currently trying to revive with the support of the provincial government.

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 a 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, Scarborough, Markham, York Region, the GTA and Southern Ontario, call today at 416-818-9414.  You’ll be glad you did.

The Asbestos Risk: Tenants Concerned Over Unsafe Renovations

Residents of a Vancouver apartment building have raised a red flag over renovations they say are proceeding without adequate protection from asbestos exposure.

The building in question is a 53-year old low-rise in the east side of the city. After a fire in 2009, testing revealed the presence of asbestos in every sample taken, meaning the building was riddled with asbestos containing materials. At the time, a certified asbestos-removal company like GreenStream Environmental was contracted for asbestos abatement and removal services in connection with repairing the damaged units.

Renovations have begun again, however, and tenants are concerned that the current work seems to be proceeding without a suitably qualified and certified asbestos removal company on site.

Their concern is certainly justified. Here at GreenStream Environmental Services, we understand the importance of experience and training, and all of our contractors are fully certified and have completed the Asbestos Abatement Worker Training Program approved by the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities. Our contractors are able to handle all types of asbestos abatement, as designated by the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

What does it mean to you?

  • Worker safety – unskilled workers can endanger their own health by not following proper procedures
  • Your health and safety – unskilled and untrained workers can endanger your health by exposing you to asbestos

Asbestos in a “bound” form, such as a concrete mixture, is not considered dangerous, but materials can deteriorate or get damaged – and therefore can be inhaled into the lungs – at any time. 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. Before you plan any renovations on your home -particularly if it was built before 1970 – call us for an asbestos survey.  Certainly, if you’re planning on buying an older home, it should be an essential part of your pre-purchase checklist.

The fact of the matter is that if your home was built before 1970, http://www.greenstreamenvironmental.ca/asbestos-removal.php 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.

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

Italian Court Ruling Spotlights Asbestos in Fibre Cement

A court in Turin, an industrial region of Italy, handed down a landmark sentence recently in the case of a company owner who exposed his workers to the dangers of asbestos inhalation. The court sentenced the Swiss man to a 16-year prison term over what is said to be the deaths of 2,000 workers. The man and another major shareholder were also order to pay the equivalent of $105 million (US dollars) to thousands of former workers and citizens who lived in proximity of the plant. The firm in question, Eternit, produced fibre cement and its Italian branch went bankrupt in 1986.

Asbestos in Fibre Cement
Fibre cement is often used for siding of both residential and industrial buildings. Because it can be moulded to any form, it often appears as imitation wood siding, clapboard or shingles. Harkening back to the Italian court case, Eternit was the original brand name for fibre cement panels, as patented in Austria in 1901 by Ludwig Hatschek.

Asbestos fibres were added to the cement mix originally to take advantage of the mineral’s virtually indestructible properties, increasing the strength of fibre cement panels. It was widely banned from use in the 1980’s in many countries, but still exists as siding on many older homes and buildings.

As long as the material remains intact and tightly bound in the cement mixture, and the asbestos material is confined to the exterior of your home, you and your family aren’t at a significant risk. However, once the material begins to deteriorate and becomes friable, meaning it can be inhaled, and you’re planning on removing and/or replacing the siding, that risk increases.

Before any renovation projects…
Do yourself a favour and 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.

DRDC Building to be Renovated Due to Mould, Asbestos

The construction standards of yesterday become the renovation problems of the present, and government structures are no exception. Ottawa’s Public Works Department is renovating a building used by the Defence Research and Development Canada after a worker complained of headaches and other health related issues.

Mould Removal

Among other issues, water leaks had raised concerns about mould growth. Testing in previous years had found the presence of mould, some of which was toxic. A site inspection revealed rainwater pooling at the foundation which then leaked into the building, and the report included mention of the lack of gutters or flashing along the side of the roof, conditions that led to the leak.

Asbestos Removal

Bids are currently being sought for the $233,500 project, and include a provision requiring a specially certified asbestos abatement and removal company to deal with extensive asbestos as it exists throughout the building, including in the interior piping, floor tiles and window caulkings.

From cutting corners on flat roofing to using the latest “miracle material” for construction, what once seemed viable is now a public concern.

When it comes to your own home, keeping an eye on your roofing and being aware of materials used in your home are just the beginning. If you suspect the presence of mould in your home, or if you are experiencing suspicious and otherwise inexplicable health issues like frequent headaches, difficulty in breathing, eye irritation and other flu or allergy-like symptoms then you need help from the experts.

Please note – if you suspect any kind of asbestos use in your home, and before any renovation projects, please DO NOT DISTURB OR HANDLE the material in question. The danger from asbestos comes from inhaling the fibres, and anything you can do to contain or avoid it until you can call in the experts from GreenStream Environmental Services will help to minimize the impact.

It is not considered dangerous if the tile or other material is still intact; however any future nicks or breaks in the surface can mean a potential hazard.

At GreenStream Environmental Services, we offer professional vermiculite and asbestos remediation services along with mould removal services for your one stop shop for peace of mind.

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.

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.