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HISTORY OF ASBESTOS
Asbestos was a popular material widely used in the construction industry, with Canada's asbestos mines producing 40% of the world's chrysotile asbestos until 2011. Asbestos use peaked during the 60's and early 70's when the exact dangers of asbestos exposure were unknown. We now know that exposure to even small quantities of asbestos fibres leads to mesothelioma, asbestosis, lung cancer, and pleural plaques. These illnesses are often fatal, and the number of new cases has risen over the years and shows no sign of slowing down.
Potential sources of abestos in the home
- Pipe insulation
- Deck under-sheeting
- Loose blown-in insulation, such as vermiculite
- Incandescent light-fixture backing
- Artificial fireplace logs & ashes
- Pad under the fireplace hearth
- Acoustic tiles
- Insulation on electrical wires
- Roof gutters can be made of asbestos cement
- Downpipes can be made of asbestos
- Window putty
- Furnace duct tape
- Outlets & switches
- Textured or stipple -coated walls & ceilings
- Backing behind recessed lighting
- Door & gasket covers
- Heat reflector for wood stove
- Boiler and furnace insulation
- Main panel & fuse box; each fuse wire has an individual asbestos flash guard
- Gypsum board filling compound, and patching & joint compound for walls & ceilings
- Flooring: vinyl tiles & linoleum sheet flooring; flooring adhesive
- Soffit boards can be made of asbestos cement or asbestos insulating board
- Asbestos cement (transite) board siding & undersheeting
- Asbestos can be found in stucco
- Roof felt & shingles
Where Can Asbestos Be Found?
At one time asbestos was known as the "magic mineral" because of its natural resistance to water, chemicals, electricity, and fire, and the very malleable nature of the fibres. It's because of these characteristics that asbestos was considered an excellent addition to so many construction materials.
Asbestos can be found in a lot of common building products including: flooring, walls, drywall mud, ceilings, fireproofing materials, mechanical and electrical installations and insulation, roofing, underground piping, adhesives, window putty, and exterior siding. Because it is often added into building materials, it's not a simple material to identify in a home or building.
Because asbestos was added into so many various products, it isn't easy to identify. In order to determine if there’s asbestos present, you must conduct a thorough inspection and testing of any materials to be disturbed prior to starting a renovation or demolition project. Lab results will tell you if there is any asbestos present, and if there it, you will also learn how highly concentrated it is. The level of asbestos present in a material, risk of exposure (friability), and removal methodology will determine the proper safety procedures that need to be taken during demolition.
Proper Removal of Asbestos
If your home or office was built before 1990, there’s a good chance it contains asbestos in some of the building materials. Any disturbance to asbestos containing materials releases its fibres into the air and can be inhaled. It’s the inhalation of asbestos fibres that is so detrimental to health. There are numerous safety precautions, and specialized work procedures that need to be taken when dealing with asbestos containing materials. This is why it’s important only properly trained individuals tackle asbestos removal jobs.
Increased WorkSafeBC regulations relating to the handling of asbestos require strict guidelines for its safe removal and disposal. This is where we come in. Green Demo is leading the industry in asbestos abatement and the safe demolition of asbestos containing materials. If you are looking for asbestos abatement in BC, our skilled technicians are your answer.
Asbestos is a hazardous material and needs to be treated as such. Any disturbance of asbestos containing materials releases fibres into the air, and it's the inhalation of these fibres that leads to diseases such as mesothelioma. Incidences of asbestos related diseases are on the rise, and showing no sign of slowing down. It can take up to 20-40 years for asbestos related diseases to become apparent and for individuals to start exhibiting symptoms. Even very limited exposure to asbestos fibres can prove to be fatal.
WorkSafeBC stipulates how asbestos must be handled during removal and disposal to eliminate the risk that disturbing these materials pose. Depending on what type of asbestos is present, where the material is located, and what percentage of asbestos is present, there are varying work procedures and safety precautions that must be taken. Our hazmat experts are rigorously trained in the safe removal of asbestos containing materials, and can handle any situation safely.