Asbestos Awareness and Sampling
What is asbestos?
Asbestos is a naturally occurring fibrous material. It is extremely versatile and ideal as a fire-proofing and insulating material. Asbestos fibers are high in tensile strength, highly flexible, heat and chemical resistance. Asbestos was used in many different building products from the 1950’s to the early 1990’s. The manufacturing of most asbestos containing materials was banned in Canada in 1979, but many non-friable materials continued to be produced, stockpiles still existed and asbestos products can be found in buildings built into the early 1990s.
What has asbestos been used for?
Asbestos was used in homes, office buildings, public buildings, schools and industrial sites. It was put into walls and ceilings as insulation against fire and sound. Asbestos content can be found in cement pipes, cement wallboard, cement siding, asphalt and vinyl floor tiles, vinyl sheet flooring, construction mastics, acoustical and decorative plaster, popcorn ceilings, textured paints/coatings, ceiling tiles, some spray-applied and blown-in insulation, fireproofing materials, drywall and taping joint compounds, HVAC duct insulation, duct tape, pipe insulation, electrical panel partitions, chalkboards, roofing shingles, felt roll roofing, roof patching, cement base, flashing, fire doors, caulking/putties, adhesives, vinyl wall coverings, and many more products. If you’re unsure always ask the professionals and get an asbestos test done!
What health problems are associated with exposure to asbestos?
If asbestos containing materials are in good condition and left intact, they do not pose a significant danger of releasing asbestos fibers into the air you breathe. However these materials are hazardous when they are deteriorated or are disturbed such as when they are handled, sanded, drilled into or broken up so they crumble. Asbestos presents an unacceptable level of health risk. It is a hazardous material that poses risk if the asbestos fibers become airborne and are inhaled. These very fine fibers are separable, hundreds of times thinner than human hairs, and are too small to be seen with the naked eye. When the asbestos is released into the air it can penetrate the deepest part of the lungs, causing various types of cancers. The cancers are often detected during the late stages of development at which time are terminal. For more information on the effects and treatments of asbestos exposure visit: www.pleuralmesothelioma.com
How to minimize the asbestos risks in the home?
Only asbestos that are or can become air born are a risk to your health. Sealed or contained asbestos is not a risk to your health but knowledge of its where about’s could help you make important decisions for future renovations. If you do not know if products in your home contain asbestos, have an experienced contractor inspect them. Only certified asbestos abatement companies should be used to remove known asbestos containing materials.
Sampling for asbestos
Final Grade Inspections is qualified to identify products that may contain asbestos, draw samples and submit these for analysis. Only a professional laboratory analysis can detect if a product contains asbestos and at what level.
See the following Health Canada website: