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.
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