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Asbestos Remains A Health Threat To Canadians In Spite Of Recent Ban

When the federal government finally announced a comprehensive nationwide ban of asbestos, just before the new year, Canadians were elated to learn of this huge step towards better health. It’s widely known that asbestos is a deadly substance. Commonly used in the construction of homes and buildings prior to the 1990s, its airborne fibres are known for causing fatal diseases such as lung cancer and mesothelioma.

Naturally, the announcement that, by 2018, asbestos would be completely banned from Canada was met with widespread approval considering that asbestos-related diseases take the lives of about 2,000 Canadians every year. We have closely monitored news of the asbestos ban in addition to covering the harmful effects of asbestos in our blog. We’ve regularly pointed out that the impacts of exposure to asbestos are long-lasting.

What this means is that, unfortunately, even with asbestos ultimately becoming outlawed in Canada, it still has the opportunity to wreak havoc. Buildings that already contain the substance present health risks to anyone who enters them. Just last week, CBC News reported that there was an asbestos leak in two labs at the University of Toronto. Evidently, due to the renovations taking place at the university’s Medical Sciences Building, asbestos fibres were released.

According to the report, “the fibres were found in three separate instances in February and March in dust-samples at lab-related rooms on the St. George campus — months after the university began work to remove the substance from seven locations on the 50-year-old building’s third, sixth and seventh floors as part of a $190-million project to improve labs across its three campus.”

Scott Mabury is the vice-president of university operations at U of T. In an interview with CBC News, he revealed some of the culprits for the asbestos leak. One of the individuals working on the renovation project drilled a hole in a wall causing a pile of dust containing asbestos to fall to the floor. In another incident, asbestos-laden dust escaped an area that was insufficiently sealed. And in a third, air pressure forced out dust-containing asbestos from a service shaft.

Both the CBC News report and a report from The Globe and Mail did not indicate that any students or faculty members were directly exposed to the asbestos leak. However, there is an understandable concern.

“The U of T’s Faculty Association questioned the university’s handling of the situation, saying it is ‘extremely concerned that asbestos contamination may have adversely affected our members as well as students and others at the MSB, and that their health and safety continue to be at risk,’” reports Tavia Grant of The Globe and Mail.

At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we are well aware that, in spite of the recent ban, Canadians will continue to suffer the effects of asbestos exposure. As always, it is our sincere hope that we can do our part to minimize as much damage as possible. For more information about our Asbestos Containing Materials (ACM) Services, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

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