Asbestos is the catch-all name for an extremely strong, fire-resistant, rock-based source of insulation used extensively in building construction prior to 1980.
Because it was so effective and durable, it appears virtually everywhere in Southern Ontario. It is still being found in homes, businesses and institutions like schools and hospitals. There is no doubt that asbestos was a very fine, fire-retardant insulating material. Unfortunately, there’s also no doubt it’s a very harmful substance.
At Decon Environmental Remediation, we’re committed to helping you understand the dangers of asbestos in your home or office. We want to work with you to ensure a safe environment no matter how you decide to address the problem of asbestos in your building.
Health Problems Associated With Asbestos
Most of the time, as long as it is undisturbed, asbestos isn’t extremely dangerous. It is only problematic when the time comes to make changes to your home or office. Once asbestos has been disturbed, the fibers become airborne and inhaling them can be hazardous to human health.
Some of the risks of exposure to asbestos fibers include asbestosis, a condition that makes breathing difficult and can lead to pneumonia and heart disease. Exposure to asbestos has also been linked to lung cancer and a rare form of cancer called mesothelioma. These asbestos-related diseases usually develop many years after exposure, and the risk increases with the amount of asbestos inhaled and the length of time exposed.
Residential Sources of Asbestos
Everybody knows that asbestos was used in traditional insulating functions like in attics and in insulation wrapped around pipes, but did you know it was also commonly used in many other building and household materials? The following are just some of the materials that have been known to contain asbestos:
- Exterior finishes like shingles and siding
- Vinyl floor tiles
- Acoustical ceiling tiles
- Patching and joint compounds for walls and ceilings
- Textured paints
- Older ironing board covers
- Older hairdryers
You can’t identify asbestos by looking at it. The only way to confirm whether or not it is present is by having a sample of the suspect material tested in an accredited laboratory. If you suspect there is asbestos in your home, the safest option is to contact a qualified professional to develop a course of action to remove it, or at the very least to mitigate its impact on your family’s health.
Options for asbestos removal, or asbestos abatement, vary based on the source and extent of the asbestos contamination. It is so dangerous to handle, safety precautions are spelled out by the Ontario Ministry of Labour to protect the skilled, trained workers handling it. This is a job that simply must be left to professionals.
From our headquarters in the Greater Toronto Area, Decon Environmental Remediation has seen every type of asbestos contamination you can imagine. We are skilled in Type 1, 2, and 3 abatements and provide safe contaminated waste disposal.