Five Facts About Asbestos

If you have ever purchased a home in the Greater Toronto Area, you have probably heard a lot about asbestos. That’s because it was used extensively in commercial and residential building construction in the area until about 1980. Even though you have heard of asbestos and may even vaguely know that it’s a harmful environmental toxin, there are still some things you may not know about this infamous fire-proofing material.

Five Things You May Not Know About Asbestos

Here are five interesting facts about asbestos. You should think about them when debating a call to an environmental remediation company regarding asbestos removal for your home.

1. Despite being a known carcinogen, asbestos is NOT a banned substance
It’s true! Even though we now know that there is a direct link between exposure to asbestos fibres and cancer, the use of asbestos in Canada is not banned. It is still being used in construction in Toronto right now.

2. Annual mesothelioma deaths have tripled since 1984
Mesothelioma, an aggressive form of cancer that is linked to prolonged exposure to asbestos, is on the rise. Canada has one of the highest rates of this disease in the world, and it is expected to keep rising as this condition can stay dormant for a long time.

3. Workplace exposure to asbestos is rampant
Occupational cancer is one of the leading causes of work-related deaths. There is a common theme in occupational cancer diagnoses: many of them are linked to asbestos exposure in the workplace. In fact, it’s estimated that asbestos is to blame for over 70% of occupational cancers.

4. Asbestos was used in more than insulation
The first place many people associate with asbestos use is the attic. Because of its superior fire-proofing properties, asbestos was a common component of insulation. However, it is also present in a number of other common building materials. There could be asbestos in your roofing shingles, small and large appliances, the kitchen floor tiles, the housing for the fuse box or the insulating tape around the hot water pipes. If you inherited your ironing board from your grandmother, that adorable cover could be full of asbestos fibres too.

5. Canada a major source of the global problem
Canada recently enacted a ban on the export of asbestos. This ban was a very positive step in the right direction. However, until 2012, Canada exported over 200,000 tonnes of asbestos to other parts of the world. Apparently we have a lot of room for improvement in environmental leadership!

Ensuring an Ounce of Prevention

It’s great that safe asbestos removal, or asbestos abatement, is even a possibility. Professional environmental remediation can safely contain and remove asbestos from just about any space if you make the unfortunate discovery of asbestos in your home. However, the safe removal of this environmental nightmare will continue to be a challenge for as long as it is used in new construction. First, make sure your home is safe; then, make sure you ask important environmental questions when deciding on your vote in the next federal election!

Photo by Mc95 from Wikimedia Commons

Did you know?

Between 1920 and 1980, over 240,000 homes across Canada were insulated with materials that contained asbestos.
Find out if your home was one of them
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