The Canadian Environmental Law Association (CELA) recently released a study on how homeowners and contractors discuss home environmental concerns like asbestos, with the study itself focused on Ontario homes. The study found that energy-saving renovations can end up releasing toxic materials into a home and expose families to asbestos – something that few renovators, homeowners, contractors or energy auditors are aware of or trained to look for.
According to the study, between 300,000 and 400,000 homes in Canada were built with asbestos materials until the use of asbestos materials in homes stopped in the 1990s. Part of the study involved conducting a survey of energy auditors and how they approach indoor air quality-related subjects like asbestos, mould and lead with the homeowners who have hired them.
Don’t ask, don’ tell
The study found that less than half of energy auditors who recommended renovations to homeowners were likely to bring up the topic of asbestos themselves, with only 82% making a habit of mentioning asbestos only if the homeowner had questions.
Of more concern were the reasons for not mentioning certain health issues: 41.5% of auditors felt unqualified; 31.7% felt it wasn’t their job and 26.8% mentioned lack of time as an issue.
Homeowners not asking about asbestos risks
Homeowners are also at fault, with energy auditors saying only 66% of concerns -when a homeowner even asks – were related to asbestos. Many homeowners assume that contractors working in their home are knowledgeable about asbestos and other indoor air quality problems and will be on the lookout for it- and the families best interests – when they do a job. However, this study shows that homeowners can’t always rely on a general contractor or energy auditor to recgonize the signs of asbestos and make appropriate recommendations.
know what you’re getting into.
Should you suspect the presence of asbestos in your home or business, Contact GreenStreamEnvironmental.ca – awarded “Best Toronto Asbestos Removal Contractors of 2010” by Home Stars – at (416) 818-9414.
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