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Asbestos

Asbestos Exposure Impacts Federal Building Worker

Illustration depicting a sign with an asbestos concept.Many people have been calling for the Canadian government to step in and take much more drastic measures as it relates to regulating asbestos use. Because of the numerous findings that prove asbestos is a leading cause of lung cancer, many have called for the ban of the product altogether. Popularly used, prior to the 1990s, as an insulation source in homes and office buildings, asbestos is now widely known as a killer.

Sadly, this message was received all too clearly by Denis Lapointe, who is an Ottawa-based electrician. Having worked at the Canada Revenue Agency building at 875 Heron Road in Ottawa for 16 years, he believed that he wasn’t putting himself in any serious danger while at work. After all, a federal building is one that can be assumed safe, right? Not so, says Lapointe, who discovered that he was exposing himself to asbestos throughout his tenure in the building.

As reported by Julie Ireton of CBC News in March of last year, Lapointe only learned of the full extent of his asbestos exposure after filing access to requests for information. “His job involved drilling and pulling wires through walls, floors and ceilings,” Ireton explains, “He says since he didn’t know he could be disturbing asbestos all those years — his fellow workers wouldn’t have known either.” Lapointe reveals that the experience has affected him both physically and emotionally.

“I was exposed and I wasn’t properly protected, and here I was walking through this place, using air hoses and whatnot and blowing it to other people, so I have a conscience…That eats me up,” he is quoted as saying. After obtaining the documents he requested, Lapointe learned that there was asbestos contamination on all floors of the Canada Revenue Agency building where he worked for the better part of two decades.

The discovery unfortunately proves the sad truth about asbestos exposure. Lapointe is a non-smoker. But as Ireton reports, he had suffered from poor health and breathing problems for years. And while he has not been diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease, there is evidence of his exposure to the well-known cancer-causer. Lapointe should have been made aware, long ago, that his job presented such a danger.

Denis St. Jean is the national health and safety officer for the Public Service Alliance of Canada. “Since 1986 the Canada Labour Code applies,” Ireton quotes him as saying, “There should have been at least some risk assessments on whether or not these buildings have asbestos containing materials…so they can have readily available that information for their workers.” Without Lapointe’s sleuthing, he may never have discovered the truth.

Ireton reveals that after a reassessment of the CRA building, the facility was found to not be in compliance. As a result, a call for the removal of damaged asbestos containing materials and debris was ordered. In the meantime, Lapointe continues to struggle with his health. And as Ireton reports, “Lapointe’s concerns about the building and his health issues have now led to an investigation by the federal Labour Department.”

Needless to say, asbestos exposure is a very serious health concern. At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we offer Asbestos Containing Materials (ACM) Services that inspect duct work, furnaces, plumbing, electrical wiring, attics, cinder block walls, ceilings and flooring. For more information, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

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Avoiding Asbestos Makes For A Happy New Year

asbestos road sign illustration design over a white backgroundOn behalf of everyone at DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we would like to wish you a very Happy New Year! Those who are familiar with our company know that we consider “happy” to be synonymous with “healthy”. So really, we wish you a very healthy new year. And, of course, the way we see it, the cleaner the air you breathe, the healthier you will be. Here’s hoping your New Year’s Resolutions will allow for that!

For many Canadians, home renovations are a big part of what makes them happy. And a lot of people place renovations on their New Year’s Resolutions lists. It’s important, however, to keep in mind that renovating your home can present some health hazards that are surely not in keeping with having a healthy new year. Specifically, if your home contains asbestos, you’ll definitely need to have it removed before you make any changes to your home.

Asbestos, when completely left alone, isn’t generally considered harmful. But disturbing asbestos so that its fibres become airborne can be deadly. Inhaling asbestos fibres is known to casuse lung cancer, mesothelioma, asbestosis and other respiratory damage. Can you believe that the material was so widely used decades ago? In fact, Kat Sieniuc of The Globe and Mail reports that it was actually freely used in schools and homes in, what is now known to be, dangerous ways.

“Some 60 years ago, lumps of wet, grey material were given to students in art classes to shape and mould into art to proudly display at home,” informs Sieniuc, “It was especially good for objets d’art such as candle holders, since the substance was famous for stopping the spread of flames.” She goes on to make clear that today, asbestos is regarded as the toxic material that it is and that there is “no safe level of exposure.”

Before this was common knowledge, asbestos was popularly used in the construction of homes, office buildings and schools as a source of insulation. It was wrapped around pipes that are found behind our walls and above our ceilings. And now, asbestos is known as “the biggest workplace killer in the country”. Sieniuc reveals, however, that saying that asbestos is safe when undisturbed really isn’t a smart way to practice safety.

“The World Health Organization has declared all forms of asbestos carcinogenic and recommends its use be eliminated; the International Agency for Research on Cancer has said there is no safe form of asbestos, nor is there a threshold level of exposure that is risk-free,” she writes. However, there are many schools across Canada that attempt to “contain” asbestos during their renovations. This simply isn’t good enough.

The University of Manitoba’s Dr. Patricia Martens knows this all too well. Sieniuc reveals that in 2012, Dr. Martens was diagnosed with incurable mesothelioma. How did she contract the deadly disease? “Her accidental exposure came as a University of Manitoba student, she believes, in the huge dining-exam room in which she ate her lunch every day,” explains Sieniuc, “It had an open-slat ceiling with beautifully finished wood – and asbestos filling stuffed in the gaps.”

It’s vital that you remember to check for asbestos before making any renovations to your home or office. If asbestos is in your property, and it is disturbed, you make yourself susceptible to some very negative health implications. Let’s avoid that. Contact DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd. and ask about our Asbestos Containing Materials (ACM) Services today. Please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

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4 Bad Habits To Break To Improve Your Air In 2016

Young woman opening window in living roomWe’re just a couple of days away from a brand new year! And with 2016 right around the corner, most Canadians (along with the rest of the world) have come up with New Year’s Resolutions they hope to stick to. In most cases, these annual resolutions have to do with breaking bad habits. And in many cases, eliminating these bad habits can improve one’s health. Quitting smoking is the perfect example.

But what other New Year’s Resolutions can improve your health? Many of the bad habits we have are carried out in our homes. And, as a result, we are causing the air we breathe to be a lot more harmful to our health. How can we protect ourselves and our families from poor indoor air quality? Breaking bad habits that impact the air you breathe will go a long way in improving the health of all of your loved ones.

Here are four:

1. Cigarette smoking. It only makes sense that we start with the most obvious bad habit that most people attempt to quit at the beginning of each new year. As Health Canada reminds us, cigarette smoke emits a long list of chemicals that include carbon monoxide (CO), formaldehyde, benzene and other volatile organic chemicals (VOCs). Arguably, the single most important thing you can do to improve your home’s indoor air quality in 2016 is to eliminate all cigarette smoking.

2. Heating the home with gas-burning appliances. Canadian winters insist upon heated homes. But it’s important to heat your home without using methods that add harmful elements to the air. Health Canada reminds us that gas and wood fireplaces, gas or oil furnaces and gas water heaters all emit such gases as carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide (NO2) as well as other VOCs and particulate matter.

3. Operating gas-powered machinery in the garage. It should probably go without saying that you should never heat your car up in the garage. The emissions from your muffler are deadly. However, you should also bear in mind that machinery such as gas-powered lawnmowers, snowblowers, generators and barbeques should all be operating in the open air. Health Canada points out that they emit CO, NO2, VOCs and other particulate matter that can enter the home.

4. Renovating without a thorough inspection of your home. Renovations aren’t generally considered bad habits. But making changes in your home without inspecting for asbestos is certainly a bad idea. By itself, asbestos is harmless. But when it is disturbed, its fibres can become airborne and lodged in your lungs if inhaled. This has been known to cause serious health effects such as lung cancer.

“Asbestos was used as an insulator and fire retardant for many years,” explains HealthLink BC, “It is sometimes still found in insulation around older hot water pipes and boilers. It is also found in old flooring material and some types of insulation used in attics and walls. Asbestos does not cause a health risk unless it is frayed or crumbling and releasing fibres into the air that can be inhaled.”

At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we offer Air Quality Services and Asbestos Containing Materials Services, among many others that serve to improve the indoor air quality of your home. This new year, have us inspect your home to ensure that you and your loved ones are enjoying life in a very healthy environment. For more information, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

Happy new year!

2 Comments

  1. Tamara-Reply
    January 14, 2016 at 3:29 pm

    I am inquiring about having an indoor air quality test done for our office building, as it is an older house, and we have had a very steep jump in staff illnesses and recurring illness throughout the office. I am wondering if a quote is available, and what type of testing you would be conducting etc.

    Please contact me at (403)324-1322 ext. 205

    • Dennis French-Reply
      January 24, 2016 at 1:26 pm

      Hello Tamara, I have been trying to reach you via phone and email reply with no luck. Phone number not in service.

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3 Household Items That Present Health Hazards

Vacuuming the carpetThis week, our blog has been focused on the dangers of asbestos. As we’ve mentioned, there is really no limit to the amount of damage that the material can do to our lungs. So, there should really be no limit to the amount of information you get about why to avoid it. As you may be aware, asbestos was once popularly used, predominantly as an insulation material in homes and office buildings. Renovations to such buildings have been known to send asbestos fibres into the air.

Breathing in these fibres has been known to lead to lung cancer as well as other fatal respiratory diseases like asbestosis and mesothelioma. There is no shortage to the amount of protection we should all be giving our lungs. So, in addition to checking your home for asbestos before any renovations are made, it’s pretty important that you keep mindful of other materials in your home that may also present health hazards.

Here are three:

1. Carpeting. These days, many home owners opt for hardwood flooring throughout their homes. Not only does it help for the home to have a sleeker and cleaner look, but it also helps for the home to be safer. Firstly, carpet is well known for collecting dust and, as such, requires regular vacuuming. The more dust in your home, the more susceptible you are to the allergens that are present as a result of dust mites.

As well, as Dr. Joseph Mercola reports on his website, “indoor carpeting has recently come under greater scrutiny because of the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) associated with new carpet installation. The glue and dyes used with carpeting are known to emit VOCs, which can be harmful to your health in high concentrations. However, the initial VOC emissions will often subside after the first few days following.”

2. Pressed wood products. Not all of our wood furniture is made from solid wood. Many of our homes inhabit desks, coffee tables, shelves and other types of furniture that are made from pressed wood. And while these particular items are generally sturdy enough to do their jobs, it takes a little bit of extra work to keep all of that “faux wood” together. Dr. Mercola explains that the glue used to do so isn’t exactly safe.

“The glue that holds the wood particles in place may use urea-formaldehyde as a resin,” he reveals, “The U.S. EPA estimates that this is the largest source of formaldehyde emissions indoors. Formaldehyde exposure can set off watery eyes, burning eyes and throat, difficulty breathing, and asthma attacks. Scientists also know that it can cause cancer in animals. The risk is greater with older pressed wood products, since newer ones are better regulated.”

3. Laser printers. This one may catch you by surprise. What could possibly be wrong with using a laser printer? “A 2007 study found that some laser printers give off ultra-fine particles that can cause serious health problems,” reveals Dr. Mercola, “Another study confirmed that laser and ink-jet printers can releases volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and ozone particulates. All of these have been linked with heart and lung disease.”

He also points out that household items such as mothballs, paint, air fresheners, cleaning products and even baby bottles all pose potential health hazards. Dr. Mercola admits that this can be overwhelming, but there are ways to limit your exposure. At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we believe strongly in the need to inspect your home to determine its indoor air quality.

For more information about our Air Quality Services, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

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Canada Now Realizes That All Asbestos Is Dangerous

no asbestos sign illustration design over a white backgroundIn our latest blog, we highlighted the importance of having your property inspected for asbestos before doing any renovations. We noted that asbestos, all by itself, isn’t particularly dangerous. However, when it is disturbed and its fibres become airborne, asbestos becomes a major health hazard that could lead to death. It’s certainly no laughing matter. Lung cancer is just one of the many fatal respiratory issues that could arise from inhaling asbestos fibres.

So why would asbestos ever be used? Well, prior to the 1990s, it was seen as an affordable and reliable solution to insulation within homes. As well, there was a thought that some forms of asbestos were less harmful than others. However, as Lynn Dejardins reports for Radio Canada International, Canada has finally recognized that all types of asbestos are dangerous. She writes that a government website has now acknowledged the material’s penchant for causing cancer.

“Long after the World Health Organization, medical bodies and other industrialized countries declared asbestos to be a carcinogen, Canada has finally admitted on a government website that ‘breathing in asbestos fibres can cause cancer and other diseases,’” Desjardins reveals in an article from July of this year. Apparently, getting the nation to admit to this has been a long time coming.

Pat Martin is a member of Parliament. Desjardins writes that he has been campaigning for Canada to recognize asbestos for the disease-causing material that it is for quite some time. Martin has lost many friends to asbestos-related diseases and has fought long and hard to see it banned in Canada. Our nation, it seems, has been one to support the production and use of asbestos for far too long.

“Frankly, Canada’s policy on asbestos has been morally and ethically reprehensible,” he was quoted as saying, “Not only were we one of the world’s largest producers and exporters of asbestos, we were probably the world’s number one cheerleader in trying to promote Canadian asbestos.” Martin’s fight has helped for Health Canada’s website to finally change its view on the material.

“Health Canada’s website used to say that one from of asbestos—chrysotile was less potent and did less damage than did other kinds,” Desjardins informs us, “It also used to say the substance was dangerous if inhaled in ‘significant quantities.’ The WHO says all kinds of asbestos are carcinogenic and there is no safe level of exposure…These few changes on the government website may seem innocuous, but Martin thinks they are a significant change that could eventually lead to a ban.”

She reveals that, unfortunately, Canada has still not banned asbestos. Worse than that, the nation continues to import products, such as brake pads, that contain the product. According to Martin, the nation’s commercial interests are killing Canadians. “More Canadians now die from asbestos than all other industrial and occupational causes combined,” he says, “Yet for political reasons, and because of commercial interests we’ve been laggards on this file and I can only hope this is one step closer to doing the honourable thing and…banning it altogether.”

At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we know all too well just how dangerous asbestos is. It’s vitally important that you have it removed from your property if you plan on doing any renovations that may disturb the material. If it’s present in your property, you need to know about it. Our Asbestos Containing Materials (ACM) Services can certainly help with that.

For more information, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

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Checking For Asbestos Before You Renovate

Danger Asbestos vintage grunge poster, vector illustratorIs a newly-renovated kitchen on your Christmas wish list? If so, you’re not likely to be alone. Families all across Canada enjoy sprucing up the various living areas of their homes. It can almost feel like you live in a new home once a new renovation has been completed. They’re often expensive, of course. And, if not done properly, they can be dangerous too. Wait, what? How can renovations be dangerous?

These days, the words “renovate” and “asbestos” should go hand-in-hand. As in, before you decide to renovate your home, be sure to have it checked for asbestos. “If your home was built before 1990, then you are more likely to have asbestos in your home,” explains HealthLink BC, “It could be in the insulation wrapped around your furnace ducts or pipes, as well as in your floor tiles and other areas.”

So what’s the big deal if asbestos is in my home? Well, this is why “renovate” and “asbestos” have an interesting relationship. You see, if asbestos goes undisturbed, there really isn’t anything to worry about. However, when asbestos fibres get airborne, they are susceptible to getting breathed in and trapped in our lungs. Plain and simple, this is bad news. Asbestosis (a scarring of the lungs), lung cancer and mesothelioma are known health problems caused by asbestos.

Summer Green is the owner of RemovAll Remediation Services in Victoria, British Columbia. She has plenty of experience dealing with the presence of asbestos in homes that are being renovated. As reported by Megan Cole of The Canadian Press via Global News, Green advises that people follow specific guidelines when dealing with asbestos removal. For example, wetting it to avoid the disbursement of airborne fibres may help.

She explains that breathing in asbestos fibres is a lot worse than breathing in fibreglass fibres. “You can go up in an attic and breathe in fibreglass insulation and it can get in your lungs, and it can cause problems, but with fibreglass insulation the fibres are straight fibres,” Green is quoted as saying, “But with an asbestos fibre no matter how small you make it or break it down they are constantly splitting and have a barb on them.”

What precautions can be taken to avoid asbestos-related health problems? Firstly, it will be important to determine whether or not there is asbestos present in the home before you renovate. HealthLink BC advises that your visually check out all hot water pipers and furnace air ducts to see if asbestos or insulation material is either breaking or coming apart. It’s important that it not be disturbed so as to not introduce its fibres into the air.

“If you are renovating an older house, be alert to unexpected sources of asbestos,” continues HealthLink BC, “Get a professional opinion before starting the renovation and hire a professional to conduct the removal. Power-sanding floor tiles, plaster walls or partitions made partly from asbestos can release dangerous quantities of inhalable fibres into the air.” Needless to say, it’s important to take the danger away from the renovating process.

At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we are committed to helping our customers renovate their homes in the safest ways possible. We proudly offer Asbestos Containing Material (ACM) Services that involve asbestos testing, onsite assessments, sampling and analysis of the materials collected. For more information, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

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Revisiting The Dangers Of Asbestos

Asbestos danger warning sign on glass window at old rusty toxic contaminated building.These days, the term “asbestos” is practically a bad word. And perhaps it can be argued that it should be considering how dangerous it is to our health! Today, we should all be well aware of the dangers of asbestos as it relates to our respiratory systems. Breathing in its fibres has been known to cause a number of fatal cancers. At one point, however, asbestos was actually seen as a protector, of sorts.

How was asbestos once used to protect people? As Lee Snodgrass explains on ThisOldHouse.com, asbestos even gets its name from its ability to ward off fires. “The name has its origin in the Greek word for inextinguishable,” he informs, “A highly-effective and inexpensive fire-retardant material and thermal and acoustic insulator, asbestos was used extensively in home construction from the early 1940s through the 1970s.”

The Canadian Cancer Survivor Network adds that asbestos was also looked upon as an incredibly useful material thanks to these qualities. “Asbestos has many uses due to its inherent properties,” reports their website, “A strong, durable and flexible material, asbestos acts as an insulator because it does not conduct heat; moreover, it is relatively chemically inert, or unreactive. Due to these properties, asbestos has high commercial value.”

So what makes asbestos so dangerous? By itself, asbestos is practically harmless. You might say that you can relate its dangerousness to that of a sleeping mountain lion or venomous snake. As long as they are not provoked, you should not be in harm’s way. Like these examples from the animal kingdom, asbestos should also not be provoked. “When disturbed, tiny abrasive asbestos fibers are easily inhaled, which damages lung tissue and can cause cancer,” reveals Snodgrass.

So why was asbestos ever used? Again, being seen as a fireproof way to insulate homes, asbestos was once viewed a very valuable material. Snodgrass explains that “in homes built prior to 1975, asbestos is most commonly found as thermal insulation on basement boilers and pipes.” However, it can also be found in a variety of different areas throughout the home. The Canadian Cancer Survivor Network notes that it still has several contemporary uses.

What are the contemporary uses of asbestos? They include insulation around windows, gaskets, furnaces and pipes. It is also used to reinforce building products such as tiles and cement. Asbestos has also been used in fire-resistant products such as drywall and fabrics. As well, it has been known to improve the durability of vehicle brakes, transmissions and clutches. So both your car and your home may contain asbestos!

So how can people avoid its dangers? “The danger comes from asbestos material that has been damaged over time,” reveals Snodgrass, “Asbestos that crumbles easily if handled, or that has been sawed, scraped, or sanded into a powder is likely to release asbestos fibres and create a health hazard. If you suspect a part of your home may contain asbestos, check periodically for tears, abrasions or water damage.”

You may also want to enlist the help of DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd. Especially if you are planning any renovations of any kind, it is certainly wise to check for the presence of asbestos in your home before doing anything. We offer Asbestos Containing Materials (ACM) Services that test your home for traces of this dangerous material. For more information, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

2 Comments

  1. Mike-Reply
    September 21, 2015 at 1:07 am

    My house was built in 1978 and I need to do some major renovations. I’ve noticed that most of the basement walls are not insulated. Before I start taking walls down I want to make sure that there is no asbestos in the drywall or compound. Do you offer services outside the Edmonton area?

    thanks
    Mike

    • Jeff Wright-Reply
      September 22, 2015 at 7:54 pm

      Hi Mike,

      Yes it is always the safest option to determine exactly whether there could be asbestos containing materials present. Yes we do have offices around Alberta, so we certain can usually assist with an overall asbestos assessment. Should you require further information please contact me directly on my cell; 780-893-3544 and I would be happy to help. Thank you for your inquiry, Sincerely Jeff Wright.

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The Importance Of Avoiding Exposure To Asbestos

Danger Asbestos HazardThe word “asbestos” has become well-known for its negative connotations. At one time in our history, it was highly regarded as a valuable material used for insulation in the construction of homes and office buildings. However, today we have become all too-well aware of the hazardous effects that it can have on our health. When asbestos fibres become airborne, they can become trapped in our lungs.

Asbestos is now known as a cancer-causing agent that should be avoided at all costs. As explained by the National Cancer Institute, “when asbestos fibres are breathed in, they may get trapped in the lungs and remain there for a long time. Over time, these fibres can accumulate and cause scarring and inflammation, which can affect breathing and lead to serious health problems.” Not the least of these health problems is mesothelioma.

This disease, says the NCI, “is the most common form of cancer associated with asbestos exposure.” They go on to note that studies also suggest that gastrointestinal and colorectal cancers, as well as throat, kidney, esophagus and gallbladder cancer are all possible ramifications of asbestos exposure. Sadly, there are numerous others symptoms that indicate that you may be affected by asbestos.

According to Asbestos.com, swelling in the neck or face, difficulty swallowing, high blood pressure, crackling sounds when breathing, shortness of breath, hyper tension, weight loss and even finger deformity are all symptoms associated with asbestos exposure. The site points out that sufferers of mesothelioma are at risk of experiencing any of the above mentioned symptoms. There is also a risk of asbestosis if exposed to asbestos.

“Lung scarring, or fibrosis, is the direct cause for the coughing and shortness of breath symptoms most commonly associated with asbestosis,” informs Asbestos.com, “As the lungs become scarred and inflamed over time, their ability to exchange oxygen and carbon dioxide decreases, resulting in a reduction of lung function and subsequent fatigue in patients. In the later stages of asbestosis, the amount of stress placed on the lungs and heart from the lack of proper oxygen can lead to serious lung and/or heart failure.”

Firstly, it’s important to determine whether or not your home includes asbestos as its insulation materials. If it was constructed prior to the 1990s, it’s certainly worth looking into. This is especially true if you plan on renovating. Any disturbance of asbestos fibres may cause them to become airborne. Again, you want to avoid breathing in asbestos fibres as much as humanly possible.

Secondly, it’s important to determine if your workplace includes asbestos in its construction. “Workers who are concerned about asbestos exposure in the workplace should discuss the situation with other employees, their employee health and safety representative, and their employers,” advises the NCI. You should also look into moving your work location if any renovations are being done in your building.

Thirdly, it would be wise to conduct an inspection of your home or office. At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we offer Asbestos Containing Materials (ACM) Services that test heating duct-work and furnaces, plumbing, electrical wiring, attics and cinder walls, ceilings and flooring for asbestos. For more information, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

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Addressing Asbestos Exposure For Child Safety

Group Of Children Playing In ParkIf there is one thing that bonds all parents, it’s that the health and safety of their children are top priorities. Obviously, our children depend on us to keep them safe from harm. And, as parents, all we can do is our very best to protect them. However, we don’t always have the ability to protect them against everything in the world that can cause illness or injury. And, in the case of asbestos, this is especially true.

Many people have been affected by asbestos without even knowing it. And with the respiratory systems of young children being so vulnerable, they are more susceptible to encountering the negative effects of asbestos exposure. As HealthyChildren.org informs us, asbestos “does not pose health risks unless it deteriorates and becomes crumbly, when it can release microscopic asbestos fibres into the air.”

The site notes, however, that this fibre was commonly used for the purposes of insulation and soundproofing in schools between the 1940s and 1970s. Many of these schools, of course, are still standing today. When various changes via renovations take place in schools, a cause for concern about asbestos exposure is more than reasonable. Again, how can parents protect their children from such an occurrence?

“Today, schools are mandated by law to either remove asbestos or otherwise ensure that children are not exposed to it,” HealthChildren.org reports, “However, it is still in some older homes, especially as insulation around pipes, stoves, and furnaces, as well as in walls and ceilings.” Asbestos can also be located in many of our workplaces. As a result, children have been known to be at risk of “secondary exposure” to asbestos.

“In asbestos-heavy work environments, certain activities can expel toxic fibres into the air,” explains Joey Rosenburg on Asbestos.com, “This occurs when asbestos products are cut, sawed, sanded, ground or otherwise disturbed. Aside from the obvious risks of firsthand exposure, suspended asbestos fibres can get distributed through ventilation ducts. They also often penetrate into workers’ clothing.”

Rosenburg notes how important it is for such workers to change out of their contaminated clothes before returning home from work. That way, they can eliminate the possibility of polluting their homes with asbestos fibres which can put their families in harm’s way. Thankfully, he does also note that asbestos cancer in children and young adults is very rare. Only 2 to 5 percent of all cases are found in this age grouping.

However, Rosenburg does reveal that “researchers claim that childhood exposure to asbestos may increase the risk for mesothelioma, but the time between initial asbestos exposure and a diagnosis, known as the latency period, is often lengthy. In one study describing five patients indirectly exposed to asbestos during childhood, the average latency period was 25.2 years, and the average age at diagnosis was 32 years old.”

At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we firmly believe that it is imperative that you check for asbestos in your home. This is especially important if you plan on doing any renovating that may potentially disturb asbestos fibres and make them airborne. Needless to say, the health and safety of our children come first. For more information about our Asbestos Containing Material (ACM) Services, call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

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Minimizing Asbestos Health Risks While Renovating

Danger Asbestos RemovalSo, you’re looking to renovate your home. Obviously, that is bound to take a lot of work. Changing the environment you live in can take weeks or even months to complete depending on how much you are looking to change. How many rooms will you be redesigning? Are you putting in new flooring? Will new paint jobs be in order? Renovations, it should go without saying, are huge undertakings!

Do I have to worry about asbestos? This is, however, another extremely important question to ask when you are planning on renovating your home. As Pinchin.com explains, “today, few products contain asbestos, and those that do are regulated and must be properly labelled. However, before the 1970s, many types of home building materials and products used in the home contained asbestos and may be at risk of releasing fibres in to the air.”

That means that if you are renovating an older home, checking for asbestos is mandatory. The last thing you want is to damage your health or the health of your family and friends – not to mention the workers renovating your home – by having them breathe in those fatally dangerous asbestos fibres. Because asbestos was commonly used for insulation prior to the 1990s, it may be contained in your home.

When these fibres are disturbed and become airborne, they can get trapped in your lungs if inhaled. As we’ve blogged about before, this can lead to forms of lung cancer such as mesothelioma as well as asbestosis. Pinchin.com points out that asbestos may be lurking in places other than just your insulation.

So what are the different sources of asbestos that could exist in the home? According to the site, they include, but are not limited to cement roofing, roofing felt, shingles and siding; asphalt and rubber floor tiles, including the backing and adhesives used to install floor tile; steam pipes, furnace ducts, hot water tanks and boilers; soundproofing or decorative material sprayed on walls and ceilings; textured paints; artificial ashes and embers used in gas fireplaces and older ironing board covers, stovetop pads and fireproof gloves.

According to Health Canada, “homeowners should receive expert advice before removing materials that may contain asbestos. If you think your home may contain asbestos, check regularly for signs of wear or damage. However, you can’t always tell just by looking at a material.” In fact, Pinchin.com insists that professionals should be called in to inspect for asbestos before any renovations are made.

“You can’t identify items that may contain asbestos simply by looking at them,” says the website, “The only way to confirm the presence of asbestos is to take a sample of the material and have it tested by an accredited asbestos laboratory. If you suspect asbestos, the safest approach is to treat the material as if it does contain asbestos.”

So how can you minimize asbestos health risks while renovating? According to Health Canada, you should “keep other people and pets away, and seal off the work area; wet the material to reduce dust, making sure it is not in contact with electricity; if possible, do not cut or damage the materials further and do not break them up (and) clean the work area afterwards using a damp cloth, not a vacuum cleaner, and seal the asbestos waste and cloth in a plastic bag.”

At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we offer top-of-the-line Asbestos Containing Materials (ACM) Services. For more information on how you can have professionals inspect your home to confirm the presence of asbestos, call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

One Comment

  1. April 28, 2015 at 4:21 am

    It’s good that Health Canada advised on having experts give their word about what to do before removing asbestos from a property. Improper handling will send asbestos fibers to the air, causing very serious health exposure. Asbestos should always be handled by professionals who are trained to manipulate and remove asbestos according to the degree of damage the material has sustained.

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