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 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.

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