The Fort McMurray fire has horrified Canadians with its ferocity. While officials say that up to 85 percent of the buildings of the city have been saved, some neighbourhoods were completely destroyed. As city officials and workers struggle to deal with all the damage, another danger lurks amid the ruins – asbestos.
Naturally, buildings like the hospital will take priority, but the city faces a huge task in cleaning up before they reopen for business as usual.
Asbestos in the rubble
One of the biggest problems the city will face is how to dispose of all the rubble, including the toxic elements like asbestos. In a similar wildfire five years ago in Slave Lake, Alberta, up to three years’ worth of waste – about 40,000 tonnes – headed for the city dump in a period of a few months.
There is a good possibility that any structures built before the mid-1980s contain asbestos in one form or another. While it is intact it is not considered dangerous. However once materials are damaged by fire or other reasons, it can release fibres that may be inhaled. Once in the lungs, it never leaves and decades later can result in a variety of lung conditions, including cancer and deadly mesothelioma.
Asbestos was widely used alone and, more often, mixed with various other substances and can appear anywhere from floor to ceiling, including:
- Ceiling tiles;
- Floor tiles;
- Wall panels;
- Textured paints;
- Attic insulation;
- Pipe insulation;
- And many more places.
Fires, floods and renovations
The Fort McMurray fire is an extraordinary happening – and let’s thank God for that! But, there are many other much more common occurrences that can also damage asbestos containing materials (ACM) and release the fibres that threaten human health. Exercise caution in any of these circumstances:
- Fire or flood damage;
- Any renovation that open up walls;
- Replacing old flooring – especially when there are several layers of tiles underneath;
- Installation of home theater or alarm systems.
Let Us Help
If you suspect the presence of asbestos in your home, you can’t afford to cut corners or “save money” while you damage your health and that of your family if the material is disturbed in any way. You can trust the experienced asbestos removal experts and asbestos remediation experts at GreenStream Environmental to take care of the issue for you. In the Toronto area contact GreenStreamEnvironmental.ca 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.
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