Asbestos is a toxic mineral which when disturbed, releases dust that can make you sick. The naturally occurring mineral fibres of asbestos are too small to identify without a microscope. Thus, testing is the only way to detect its presence. Under certain circumstances, our asbestos professionals are able to detect, without the use of testing, if asbestos is present in your commercial or residential property by analyzing a few factors, including where the asbestos is located and when the property was built.
It is always advisable to hire trained and certified professionals for the job. This ensures safety and is a hassle-free way to know whether your building components have asbestos.
A permit is required for Type 3 asbestos removal work because it has a high chance of sending asbestos fibres airborne, thus posing a threat to the people around it.
If you are removing any portion of asbestos material larger than 9x9 ft in size, i.e., Type 3 work, you will have to obtain a legal permit.
Pipes that are 21 ft or longer and contain asbestos material will also require a permit to be removed.
Asbestos is a serious health and safety hazard. This is why you may be required to obtain a permit from the city for asbestos removal in the following cases:
If you do not know if products in your home contain asbestos, have an experienced contractor inspect them. If there is asbestos, it is vital to call a professional to remove it completely. If the product is already protected or isolated, simply leave it alone.
The most common asbestos-containing boiler components include gaskets and sealants, insulation, and cement. If you suspect that your boiler contains asbestos and find any signs of damage, it helps to steer clear of the boiler until you get it tested by a certified asbestos removal company. This is because the small fibres of the material, when disturbed, can cause serious health problems, including respiratory conditions.
Asbestos wrap that is on the outside of the boiler can pose more of a threat because if damaged, the fibres could be blown throughout your home. In this case, it is advisable not to be in the house during asbestos removal from the boiler.
Visual inspection of the property and its systems.
Examine the building foundation, air conditioning, heating, and ventilation systems.
Check the plumbing and electrical systems, bathroom fixtures, kitchen equipment, interiors, garage, and other relevant appliances.
Test samples to verify the presence of asbestos fibres.
Prepare detailed documents describing the property and attesting the presence or absence of asbestos.
As the risk associated with asbestos inspection increases from Type 1 to Type 3 operations, the procedures and protective measures involved in the process become stringent. The testing process or the survey is conducted by licensed and certified professionals. They can identify asbestos that needs to be removed. The steps involved are as follows:
Asbestos has been used in hundreds of applications and products over the past 4,500 years. Until the 1980s, asbestos was used in office buildings, public buildings and schools. It insulated hot water heating systems, and was put into walls and ceilings as insulation against fire and sound. Asbestos has also been widely used in transportation and electrical appliances, frequently mixed with, and encased in, other materials. Asbestos has also been found in many products around the house. It has been used in clapboard; shingles and felt for roofing; exterior siding; pipe and boiler covering; compounds and cement, such as caulk, putty, roof patching, furnace cement and driveway coating; wallboard; textured and latex paints; acoustical ceiling tiles and plaster; vinyl floor tiles; appliance wiring; hair dryers; irons and ironing board pads; flame-resistant aprons and electric blankets; and clay pottery. Loose-fill vermiculite insulation may contain traces of “amphibole” asbestos.
Asbestos poses health risks only when fibres are in the air that people breathe. Asbestos fibres lodge in the lungs, causing scarring that can ultimately lead to severely impaired lung function (asbestosis) and cancers of the lungs or lung cavity.
Concern for the health of asbestos workers was expressed as long ago as the late 1800s. The risks became more evident in the late 1960s, when workers who had been heavily exposed 20 to 30 years earlier showed increased incidence of lung disease. Occupational exposure is now strictly regulated by provincial governments.
Asbestos is a natural mineral with unusual qualities. It is strong enough to resist high temperatures, chemical attack and wear. A poor conductor, it insulates well against heat and electricity. Asbestos crystals become long, flexible, silky fibres, so it can be made into a wide variety of forms.
Out of the six types of asbestos, chrysotile, amosite, crocidolite, anthophyllite, tremolite, and actinolite, chrysotile and crocidolite are the most dangerous forms.
Chrysotile is a common type of asbestos found within the Earth. It is also one of the dangerous types of asbestos. Chrysotile asbestos has long, curly, and white fibres. It accounts for almost 90% of commercially-used asbestos in the world and can be found in ceilings, roofs, floors, and insulations.
Crocidolite is the most hazardous asbestos material because of its physical characteristics. It is a sodium, iron, magnesium silicate and occurs in the form of straight, blue fibres. This Blue Asbestos can be primarily found in cement products, tiles, and insulations.
Asbestos can cause asbestosis - a scarring of the lungs, or mesothelioma - cancer of the pleura, peritoneum, or pericardium.
It is a complex and expensive matter to remove asbestos, and should be done by an experienced professional. When disturbing an asbestos product, maximum precautions must be taken to safeguard the workers and anybody else who may be nearby. Asbestos dust must remain within the work area so that it cannot be breathed in by unprotected persons.
- Disturbing loose-fill vermiculite insulation which may contain asbestos
- Removing deteriorating roofing shingles and siding containing asbestos, or tampering with roofing felt that contains asbestos
- Ripping away old asbestos insulation from around a hot water tank
- Sanding or scraping vinyl asbestos floor tiles
- Breaking apart acoustical ceilings tiles containing asbestos
- Sanding plaster containing asbestos, or sanding or disturbing acoustical plaster that gives ceilings and walls a soft, textured look
- Sanding or scraping older water-based asbestos coatings such as roofing compounds, spackling, sealants, paint, putty, caulking or drywall
- Sawing, drilling or smoothing rough edges of new or old asbestos materials
Today, far fewer products in the home contain asbestos. However, frequent or prolonged exposure to asbestos fibres may still bring health risks. This can happen with the release of fibres into the air when asbestos-containing products break down, either through deterioration as they age or when they are cut. People can put themselves at risk — often without realizing it — if they do not take proper precautions when repairs or renovations disturb asbestos containing materials. This can occur in a number of situations:
- Roofing and siding
- Pipes and ducts
- Ceiling tiles
- Floor coverings
Here are 5 places that asbestos could be lurking:
Be aware, shop smart, and invest in a home inspection. In most cases, asbestos is better left undisturbed, but once it starts posing a risk on your health and safety, it's time to call in a professional.
Choosing a certified asbestos company is the key to ensuring that you receive the best and reliable services. It is mandatory for any contractor offering asbestos removal services to be trained and certified and hold a valid license. Since asbestos is a dangerous material, they undergo special training required by many provinces. This allows any worker involved in the project to remove asbestos materials from properties. It helps to ask if the contractor is registered with the IICRC as well as has adequate insurance coverage.
In addition to this, working with a certified contractor for asbestos removal will assure you about their quality of work and give you peace of mind.
Canada’s Restoration Services is certified by the IICRC and has WSIB coverage.
Remember that the presence of asbestos fibres can be dangerous. This is why may professionals providing asbestos removal services recommend vacating the house during the removal of the material. However, if you wish to remain in the property, you can discuss the terms with your contractor. If the risk of asbestos fibres being airborne is minimal or negligent, you may stay in the house. Also, for large projects, air sampling is required inside and outside the property to make sure that the building occupants are adequately protected.
It helps to know that most experts recommend vacating the property until asbestos removal is 100% complete, which is why you should make provisions for the same.