House Fires And Asbestos – What To Do

House fires are devastating enough, what with the loss of property, and in some cases, irreplaceable items, not to say the overall trauma of the experience. But safety should always be a paramount consideration, and asbestos may pose a risk that you need to consider.

Asbestos in the home
Asbestos may be present in a home constructed before the mid-1980s. Absestos, and asbestos containing materials such as asbestos cement sheeting or asbestos vinyl tiles, may be found in a wide variety of places from floor to ceiling.

But asbestos is fire proof! you might be thinking, and you’d be right. That, and the fact it is virtually indestructible, is the main reason why it became known as a miracle material. However, the structures around it, and the materials it is mixed with, are not.

Putting Your Home Back Together
Potential asbestos exposure comes during the renovation process after a fire. Once the firefighters have gone, and told you it’s safe to return to your home, new dangers may emerge.

  • Any broken or damaged materials that cause dust, including exposed insulation, broken floor tiles, and even old appliance wiring in the walls, is a potential hazard that may contain asbestos dust.
  • It is tempting to think you can save money by sorting through everything, and doing the repairs, yourself, but you may be exposing yourself to asbestos dust.
  • Professionals use respirators equipped with high efficiency particulate air filters, and other specialized equipment to protect themselves.
  • A simple dust mask is not sufficient protection. Airborne asbestos fibres are extremely small, and will not be hindered by a dust mask.

Leave it to the professionals = that’s the best advice. A professional home inspector will be able to test for asbestos and any other hazardous materials.

That’s Where We Come 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.

Canada’s Asbestos Ban: Update

As our national asbestos ban in Canada takes its final shape, there are some details that have changed along the way. Recently, the federal government took the final steps to put the asbestos ban into place. Here’s a current update on the situation.

The Asbestos Ban
Canada was the biggest exporter of asbestos before the industry collapsed a few years ago, and our country has more than a century year old history or asbestos mining. There’s a lot left, too. There are more than 800 million tons of asbestos waste – containing up to 40 percent asbestos – in Quebec alone.

The new law will ban the importation, sale, and use of asbestos fibres, and the manufacture, import, sale, and use of any products containing processed asbestos fibres. But, that’s not the whole story.

• The government just awarded a $12 million contract to extract magnesium from the asbestos waste.
• Federal and Quebec regulations were, essentially, set by the asbestos industry itself, and currently allow exposure to workers at levels 10X higher than the US or in Europe.
• The federal government moved quickly to tighten the allowable asbestos exposure rates tenfold, to bring them in line with other Western nations. However, the Quebec provincial government has not done so, despite the endorsement of all 17 of the province’s directors of publish health, the Quebec Medical Association and other organizations.

In fact, the Quebec government’s directors of public health, and National Public Health Institute, called for including those millions of tons of asbestos waste in the new asbestos ban, but Environment Minister Catherine McKenna rejected their please.

“I am satisfied that these proposed regulations, along with existing provincial controls, will address the health risks associated with asbestos mining residues.”

A Double Standard
In essence, it creates a double standard, where those people who work on the existing asbestos waste will not receive the same protections under the law as anyone else. There are other exemptions under the law.

• Military and nuclear facilities will be allowed to continue to use asbestos until 2022.
• Chlor-alkali plants, which produce chlorine and sodium hydroxide for industrial purposes, are also exempt for a period of several years to come. It will be phased out by 2029.

Another exemption allows for use of asbestos containing materials where they “are required to protect the environment or human health where there is no technically or economically feasible alternative available.” In those cases, a one-year permit will be issued, with strict reporting requirements.

The law also says nothing about existing structures that contain asbestos.

Asbestos in Your Home?
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.

Asbestos in the Storm

In late September, the Ottawa region suffered storm damage, including
a verified tornado. But, when old buildings are damaged, there is a
risk of asbestos exposure along with any other issues that arise.

Storm Damage
Many of the buildings in the Ottawa and Gatineau areas were
constructed prior to the 1980s, and that means they most likely
contain asbestos in one form or another. Subjected to the fierce winds
of the tornado, the building materials themselves were damaged.

“Part of the building’s roof was torn off, leaving a trail of dust
behind it,” said a spokes person for L’Office municipal d’habitation
de Gatineau (OMHG) in a radio interview, referring to one of the
buildings managed by OMHG, which is known to include asbestos.

Parts of the building were closed off to prevent the dust – and
asbestos fibres – from spreading. According to the report, the
organization will likely reconstruct the building rather that demolish
it.

The one saving grace? The rain likely meant that the dust didn’t
spread very far, even with the high winds.

What About Your Home?
If your home was built before the 1980s, it most likely contains
asbestos, and it may be found virtually anywhere from floor to
ceiling. When the material is intact, it is not considered a risk.

However, once the material has been damaged, it can release asbestos
dust. Once inhaled into the lungs, it never leaves, and can cause
serious health issues in the future, including lung cancers and deadly
mesothelioma.

There are many events which may damage asbestos and asbestos
containing materials and create friable – or inhalable – asbestos
dust. These include;

  • Renovations;
  • Fires, tornadoes and floods;
  • Installing home theatre or alarm systems that involve cutting into
    walls;
  • Replacing old piping or attic insulation;
  • And more.

If you plan on having any work done on your home, you need to know if
there is asbestos in the mix.

Let Us 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.

Asbestos Dangers – The Real Stats

A recent incident reported by police in the Delta area of British Columbia says it all. A routine traffic stop this summer netted a driver a number of tickets. First, there were 12 people stuffed into a van meant to hold six. On top of that, in the cargo box next to two of the passengers was a pile of loose asbestos contaminated material.

Not only was this construction company putting their own employees at risk, the cops that made the stop were put at risk, and wherever they were going to dump it, the people who live in the vicinity would also be at risk of asbestos exposure.

Shady construction and even unscrupulous asbestos removal companies show up routinely in the news. With that kind of uneducated attitude, it’s no wonder that asbestos is the leading cause of workplace deaths in Canada and what’s more, fatalities have risen 60 percent between 2000 and 2012, the last years for which data is available. That assertion comes from Statistics Canada.

  • The number of people who die from asbestos exposure on the job represents more than a third of all workplace deaths.
  • The number is higher than those killed by highway accidents, fires, and chemical exposure put together.
  • It is by far the biggest cause of workplace related cancers, at over 70 percent.

The risk is real, and a careless attitude towards asbestos and how to deal with it carries real consequences.

What About Your Home?
The risk is real when you live in an older building – one built before the mid-1980s. Asbestos and asbestos containing materials can show up anywhere in your home literally from floor to ceiling tiles, basement pipe chasing to attic insulation.

But, that doesn’t mean you need to live in fear.

  • What all the situations in the news, and the unfortunate cases of workplace mesothelioma, have in common, is that workers were exposed to asbestos unknowingly or in ignorance of its dangerous potential.
  • They were not made aware of the dangers, and not educated on how to protect themselves.

In your own home, you can take control.

Let Us 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.

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.

Asbestos, Explosions & Due Diligence

Everyone in the GTA remembers the Sunrise Propane explosion that rocked North York a decade ago in 2008. In the wake of the blast, a toxic rain of debris – including asbestos dust – fell on the neighbourhood for days.

The Sunrise Court Saga
In July 2018, the Superior Court recently upheld the original conviction and sentence against Sunrise Propane, which included a $5.3 million in fines for breaches of the Environmental Protection Act (EPA) and Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA). The company had appealed the original decision of November 2017.

In the case of R. v. Sunrise Propane Energy Group Inc. 2017 ONSC 6954, Ontario (Ministry of Labour and Ministry of the Environment) v. Sunrise Propane Energy Group Inc. et al., 2013 ONCJ 358, the decision by the court emphasized the responsibilities of any business whose operations are dangerous to public health and the environment. In this case, asbestos dust exposure was a byproduct of an environmentally unsafe situation.

What Happened?
Superior Propane was a refill station where truck to truck propane transfers took place. In 2006, truck to truck transfers were prohibited. In 2007, the company received an exemption to the prohibition, provided they upgrade their facilities. In 2008, when the explosion occurred, the upgrades still ween’t done, and truck to track transfers were still taking place.

The explosion happened when a leak occurred as a transfer was going on. The blast sent a variety of contaminants into the air and the surrounding neighbourhood, and that’s where the bulk of the charges were laid. That includes,

  • asbestos,
  • heat,
  • gas vapour,
  • dust,
  • metals,
  • other debris.

To add insult to injury, so to speak, the company failed to act on an order to remediate the property, meaning some of those contaminants lingered in the area for years afterwards.

Don’t Take Chances!
What can a homeowner take away from this story? Due diligence is a legal term, but what it boils down to is simply this: if you’re doing something that is potentially dangerous, you need to take the right precautions for your – and everyone’s – safey. It’s a legal obligation, but it’s also plain common sense.

At GreenStream Environmental, we deal with that aspect of our business every day. If you have asbestos in your home, you need professional, expert help, and a reputable company that will get the job done, and dispose of any asbestos or asbestos containing materials properly.

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.

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.

We’ve Been Named One Of The Top 25 Asbestos Blogs On The Internet!

We’ve been in the asbestos removal and remediation business for a long time. We set up this blog as an informational feature for our clients and others to highlight important issues, the risks, and more about this dangerous mineral.

What it Means
The list was compiled by Feedspot, a content reader. What is a content reader, you ask? It’s a website that can help you organize your reading from the web. If you’re typical, you read content from a variety of different sources. At Feedspot, you can add blogs, news and RSS feeds, YouTube channels and other social media sites, so that you can keep on top of your favourite topics all at one spot – like asbestos. It will even keep track of what you’ve read and what you have left to peruse.

You can also opt for a daily digest of your favourite topics and news delivered right to your email address.

The Feedspot blog looks at top blogs and YouTube channels, divided into categories that cover a broad range of topics. Their editorial team does extensive searches to find the best blogs on different topics, and that’s where this list comes from. It’s rated according to:

  • Blog content quality
  • Post consistency
  • Age of the blog
  • Average number of shares on social sites for blog posts
  • Traffic to the blog and more..

Many thanks to Feedspot for putting us on the list!

It’s Our Job
Asbestos removal is our job and our calling. We’re very honoured to have been selected as one of the Top 25 Asbestos Blogs On The Internet and it’s very encouraging to get this kind of recognition for our efforts to keep our customers and others up to date on asbestos news.

We appreciate all our customers and the goodwill we’ve been shown.

If you have asbestos or vermiculite insulation tainted with 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.

Vermiculite – the hidden danger in your attic

If you have an older home, you may have a hidden problem in your attic—vermiculite insulation that is tainted with asbestos.

Vermiculite Insulation
Vermiculite insulation was widely used, typically in attic spaces, in North America between the 1940s and 1980s, and was used right up till the 1990s in some areas.

Vermiculite is fire-resistant, and swells up when it heats up, making it almost the ideal insulation material. By itself, it’s not problematic. The problem comes from the fact that the vast majority—about 75 percent – of vermiculite used in insulation in North America comes from a single mine in Libby, Montana.

After decades of mining, the workers, and then the townspeople themselves, began to display the symptoms of asbestos exposure, including lung ailments, cancers, and deadly mesothelioma. That’s when it was discovered that the Libby mine was naturally contaminated with asbestos.

The Libby mine was in production for 50 years between 1940 and 1990. In Canada, vermiculite insulation from Libby was marketed under the Zonolite label, and during the 1970s and early 1980s, the federal government actually offered homeowners grants to install Zonolite in their homes. It means a lot of older homes with tainted vermiculite insulation.

Vermiculite Detection
Vermiculite is a brownish colour and granular in texture. You won’t be able to tell if your vermiculite attic insulation contains asbestos just by looking at it.

  • In fact, if you suspect that you have vermiculite insulation, you should avoid all contact with it, and call in an inspector to help you determine the truth. The inspector will send a sample to a lab to figure out the exact content.

That determination has become a little easier, even for the experts, with a recent invention by the United States Geology Survey (USGS). They have developed a hand-held spectrometer that can determine whether asbestos is present. The spectrometer uses a sophisticated electron probe to perform an analysis of the material. If it becomes widely used, its instant determination would save a lot of time when it comes to vermiculite insulation removal.

In addition to specific cases where the homeowner already suspects the presence of vermiculite insulation, the tool could be used in home inspections, and before major home renovations as a preventive measure.

GS Can Help
If you have vermiculite insulation tainted with 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.