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24 Sussex Drive Becoming Known As An Asbestos Haven

Last month, our blog reported on the fact that Canada’s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau is one of the few leaders of our country to avoid living at 24 Sussex Drive. Traditionally known as the home of the sitting Prime Minister, the Ottawa-based mansion appears to be in ruins. Requiring millions of dollars in renovations, the property is now becoming known as a very high health hazard.

There is more asbestos inside 24 Sussex Drive than originally thought.

As Catharine Tunney reports today for CBC News, 24 Sussex Drive has more asbestos contained within it than previously thought. Who can blame Trudeau for ditching the residence for nearby Rideau Cottage? Of course, as the son of Pierre Trudeau, our current Prime Minister spent time living at 24 Sussex Drive as a child. He is unlikely to ever return thanks to the presence of asbestos.

“Asbestos has been condemned by the World Health Organization as a health threat and the once-common fireproofing material is now banned in some 50 countries around the world,” Tunney explains, “Canada was once a leading world supplier of the carcinogenic mineral. It’s linked to mesothelioma, an aggressive cancer that can develop in the lining of the lungs as a result of inhaling asbestos dust and fibres.”

She goes on to reveal that in 2015, an engineering firm called Exp Services Inc. investigated the main building, the pool house and the neighbouring RCMP building at 24 Sussex. They surveyed for hazardous materials including asbestos and lead paint. Previously, they had received reports that the plaster contained within the walls was asbestos-free. However, their investigation discovered that wasn’t the case.

CBC News obtained a report through the Access to Information Act that revealed that the grey coarse plaster within the property was indeed asbestos-containing. The report notes that should the plaster go undisturbed, 24 Sussex would be safe for its inhabitants. Any renovations, however, would send asbestos fibres airborne. And, as we pointed out last month, the property is in serious need of renovations.

The asbestos-containing plaster at 24 Sussex can be easily disturbed.

Laura Lozanski is an occupational health and safety officer with the Canadian Association of University Teachers and one of Canada’s most active asbestos educators. In Tunney’s article, she reveals that just rubbing up against the plaster or drilling into it will release toxic asbestos fibres. “Once the fibres are disturbed they go into the air and that’s how we either breathe them in or ingest them,” she is quoted as saying, “So we always have quite serious concerns.”

Since 2011, no asbestos has been removed from 24 Sussex Drive. Of course, should there be any renovations made to the property, construction workers will be placed at risk. Staffers who have already been inside the mansion may already be at risk. “That’s why the Public Service Alliance of Canada has been pushing the federal government to create a national registry of public buildings that contain asbestos,” Tunney writes.

As you’re very likely aware, the team at DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd. takes the matter of asbestos exposure very seriously. As we patiently await the nation’s official implementation of the comprehensive asbestos ban, we continue to work with Canadian home and business owners to keep their properties as safe as possible.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us about our Asbestos Containing Materials (ACM) Services. Give us a call at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

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