These days, asbestos is commonly known as a killer. Its extremely harmful effects on our respiratory systems are well documented. It’s hard to believe that just a few short decades ago, asbestos was known as a chief insulator in the construction of our offices and homes. As well, Canada was a well known exporter of the hazardous material. If you live or work in a building that was constructed before the 1990s, you may want to better acquaint yourself with asbestos.
Now, of course, we don’t mean for you to come into contact with asbestos when we say “acquaint” yourself with it. But becoming knowledgeable about this “killer” is an important step in being able to avoid the perils that come with inhaling its airborne fibres. According to the Canadian Cancer Society, there are two main categories of asbestos. And they are often defined by their colours.
Amphibole asbestos refers to “blue or brown asbestos”. And unfortunately, it is a cancer-causing agent. AsbestosNetwork.com informs us that two of the most common and most dangerous types of asbestos belong to this group. Amosite is described as brown or grey in colour as they contain iron and magnesium. Crocidolite or riebeckite are blue, straight fibers made up of sodium iron magnesium silicate.
Serpentine asbestos refers to “white asbestos”, says the Canadian Cancer Society. And the only type of serpentine asbestos that exists is known as chrysotile asbestos. Thankfully, this material is less harmful than all types of amphibole asbestos, although it is still known to cause cancer. The Canadian Cancer Society reveals that “chrysotile asbestos is currently the most commonly used form of asbestos in the world and is the only kind mined in Canada.”
They go on to note that chrysotile asbestos can still be found in many products that are still being used today. Brake linings, building materials, water and sewer pipes and insulation are among them. In fact, AsbestosNetwork.com reveals that “chrysotile accounts for 90% of asbestos in products”. It is noted by the Canadian Cancer Society, however, that “the use of chrysotile asbestos has been banned in many countries.”
In fact, they report that “as of 2013, over 50 countries have banned the use of all forms of asbestos. Until recently, Canada was one of the few countries that continued to mine chrysotile asbestos, but in 2012 the asbestos mines stopped operating.” It’s also important to highlight the fact that asbestos is now regulated and rarely ever used in new products and materials. So how can we avoid exposure to asbestos if it is found in older products?
It’s all about avoiding a disturbance. In other words, asbestos becomes dangerous when its fibres become airborne. So you’ll want to avoid breaking, hitting or damaging any materials that may contain asbestos. This is especially important when renovating a property. It’s important to know if the construction of your building contains asbestos before hammering into any of its walls. Testing for asbestos should be your first pre-renovation move.
At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we offer Asbestos Containing Materials (ACM) Services. As part of our asbestos testing services, we will assess your heating ducts, furnaces, plumbing, electrical wiring, attics, cinder walls, ceilings and flooring. For more information on this and all of our indoor air quality services, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
In today’s world, asbestos is commonly associated with lung cancer and other severe respiratory issues – as it should. It’s hard to imagine then that just a few decades ago, asbestos was considered a principal insulation material in the construction of homes, offices and other buildings. Discovering its extremely harmful impacts on our breathing by the time the 1990s rolled around has practically outlawed its use since then. However, the harmful effects remain.
There are, of course, many structures still standing that were built prior to the 90s that still contain asbestos. And when renovations are needed, it’s important to have the asbestos removed. Sadly, this presents a danger to anyone who isn’t protecting themselves from breathing in asbestos fibres. As we explained in our last blog, the worst possible result of doing so is developing a cancer known as mesothelioma. Of course, that isn’t the only health problem associated with asbestos.
We also mentioned a chronic lung disease known as asbestosis. As you can tell by its name, it is directly attributed to the inhalation of asbestos fibres. And very sadly, it is incurable. Perhaps, even scarier is the fact that, according to Asbestos.com, the disease may not even be diagnosed until decades after exposure occurs. The site goes on to clearly explain how asbestosis is caused and what the long-term effects may be.
“Asbestosis is linked to the straight, thin amphibole fibers that are found in five of the six known types of asbestos,” reports Asbestos.com, “Exposure occurs when someone breathes in the dangerous fibers. Extended exposure can lead to an accumulation of the fibers in lung tissues, setting the stage for long-term fibrosis (scarring). Over time, lung tissues thicken, causing pain and restricting breathing.”
So if asbestosis can be difficult to diagnose, how can one tell if he or she may be suffering from it? Canoe.ca reveals that because asbestosis causes our lungs to lose their elasticity, it makes it harder for them to fill with oxygen. Obviously, this impacts breathing. The first symptom, therefore, is a shortness of breath, especially when exercising. The more the disease progresses, the harder breathing will be for the sufferer.
Chest pain and coughing practically become the norm. Canoe.ca goes on to reveal a less obvious and even strange symptom associated with asbestosis. “You may display what is known as clubbing of the fingertips (they thicken and enlarge), or develop a blue colour under your nails and a bluish tinge around your mouth,” reports the website. As bad as this all sounds though, hope should not necessarily be lost. There is somewhat of a silver lining when it comes to asbestosis.
“The prognosis is often positive,” assures Canoe.ca, “Because asbestosis is not a form of lung cancer or mesothelioma, people can live many years, even decades, with the disease. However, because the condition gets worse over time, patients will require increased treatment as they age.” With that said, it still goes without saying that contracting the disease should be avoided at all costs. And, of course, this involves avoiding exposure to asbestos.
At DF Technical & Consulting Ltd., there is nothing more important to us than ensuring the safety of your breathing air. As a result, we offer a number of important air quality services including our Asbestos Containing Materials (ACM) Services. If you are renovating or looking to buy a new property, it’s important we check for asbestos. For more information, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email email@example.com.
Considering just how dangerous asbestos is to our health, it’s bewildering to think that the material was used in the construction of buildings up until the 1980s. It was commonly used for insulation and often came in the form of blankets or paper tape. Used to cover pipes, boilers and furnace ducts among other elements of a home, asbestos is now a target of eradication in the renovation of buildings that were built pre-90s.
And this is because the inhalation of asbestos fibres is deadly. There’s no over exaggerating about it either. Exposure to asbestos creates a type of lung cancer that is directly attributed to the material. Known as asbestosis, the disease is brought on by a scarring of the lungs at the hands of asbestos fibres. Sadly, the product’s deadliness doesn’t stop there. Asbestos inhalation is also known to cause mesothelioma, which is a cancer of the abdominal linings and the chest.
This is considered the most dangerous ramification of asbestos inhalation. “Malignant mesothelioma is the most serious of all asbestos-related diseases,” explains Dr. Howard West on Mesothelioma.com, “Exposure to asbestos is the primary cause and risk factor for mesothelioma…There is currently no known cure for mesothelioma, but treatments such as surgery and chemotherapy can help to improve the typical mesothelioma prognosis.”
Considering that asbestos is no longer used in the construction of buildings in Canada, you could consider it fair to assume that mesothelioma cases aren’t all that prevalent anymore. However, you would be wrong to make such an assumption. Research has shown that diagnoses have increased in recent years. In fact, Asbestos.com reveals that “Canada’s mesothelioma cancer rate is now one of the highest in the world.”
“About 2.1 of 100,000 Canadians are diagnosed every year with the aggressive disease,” reports the website, “For context, consider that in 1984, 153 Canadian men were diagnosed with mesothelioma throughout all the country’s provinces. By 2003, 344 cases were reported among men, and 78 among women. Deaths from mesothelioma totaled 404 in 2008.” And, sadly, it does not appear as if the death total is bound to taper off any time soon.
Former convention centre manager, John Nolan knows this all too well. In an exclusive exposé on the disease, Tavia Grant of The Globe and Mail reveals how quickly-damaging asbestos inhalation can be. Today, Nolan suffers from mesothelioma. And he contracted the disease by doing nothing more than working in his Windor-based Cleary Auditorium and Convention Centre office in the late 1980s.
“His office was located within 25 feet of renovations, where workers in protective suits removed asbestos from the ceiling and walls,” Grant explains, “The room was covered in plastic sheeting — but the ventilation pumped air right from the dusty renovation into his windowless office. (He also recalls asbestos was present in the basement’s pipes.)” Nolan’s tragic story highlights just how important it is to take the issue of asbestos seriously.
It is imperative that your breathing air is considered safe. If you are planning any renovations or are looking to purchase a new property, you should consider it mandatory to check for asbestos. At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we offer top-of-the-line Asbestos Containing Materials (ACM) Services. For more information, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., our primary goal is to improve the air quality of all of the homes and places of business that are inhabited by our clients. Good air quality, it should probably go without saying, is of paramount importance when it comes to protecting our health. As far as we’re concerned, any deterrent to the cleanliness of the air we breathe is considered an “enemy” of our company. And we’ve made it our job to eliminate them!
Asbestos just so happens to be one of those enemies. And it can be argued that it’s the worst of them all. Although it was widely used as a source of insulation in the construction of homes, offices and buildings up until the 80s , asbestos is incredibly harmful to our health when released into the air. For those who plan on doing any type of repairs, renovations or other construction that may disturb the original design of an older property, asbestos testing is practically mandatory.
But what is asbestos exactly? “Asbestos is the name given to a group of minerals that occur naturally in the environment as bundles of fibres that can be separated into thin, durable threads,” describes the National Cancer Institute, “These fibres are resistant to heat, fire, and chemicals and do not conduct electricity. For these reasons, asbestos has been used widely in many industries.” So, apparently it can be quite the useful material.
But what makes asbestos so dangerous? “If products containing asbestos are disturbed, the tiny fibres are released into the air,” explains WebMD.com, “When they are breathed in, they can become trapped in the lungs and stay there for many years. Over time these fibres can accumulate and lead to serious health problems.” The fibres, it should be stated, aren’t simply irritants to our respiratory systems. They are cancerous.
The National Cancer Institute explains that asbestos is a known human carcinogen. As a result, it has been known to significantly increase the risk of lung cancer in those who are exposed to it. In fact, a relatively rare form of cancer known as mesothelioma has also been discovered as an unfortunate result of asbestos exposure. This type of cancer affects the thin membranes that line the lungs, chest cavity and abdomen.
While it is considered rare, it’s also the most common form of cancer that is known to be caused by an exposure to asbestos. Sadly, the health risks don’t end there. Asbestos, in fact, has created a disease all on its own. “Asbestosis,” informs WebMD.com, is “an inflammatory condition of lungs that can cause shortness of breath, coughing, and eventually scarring of the lungs that makes it hard to breathe.”
The site goes on to report that other lung problems associated with asbestos exposure include “pleural plaques” which are changes in the membranes that surround the lungs, the thickening of the membranes surrounding the lungs and “pleural effusions” which are “abnormal collections of fluid between the lungs and the inside wall of the chest.” Needless to say, asbestos is bad news. Preventing exposure to its fibres is clearly very important.
If you have any plans to make repairs or renovations to your property, DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd. would love to test for asbestos before you do so. Asbestos may be found in your furnaces, plumbing, electrical wiring, attics, cinder block walls, ceilings and floors. It’s important we check all of these areas before they are disturbed in any way. For more information, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email email@example.com.
Considering just how dangerous we’ve all come to know asbestos is, it’s pretty surprising that asbestos materials were so widely used in the construction of homes, offices and buildings up until the early 1980s. Sadly, asbestos exposure has been known to cause death. So, it goes without saying that clearing your home or workplace of any asbestos is of paramount importance. At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we take this matter very seriously.
We offer Asbestos Containing Materials (ACM) Services as one of the most important and necessary features of our company. If your property was constructed before the 1990s and you are considering any repairs of renovations to it, it is very highly recommended that you test for asbestos. Our testing procedures involve an onsite assessment, sampling and analysis of the materials that we collect.
In both homes and working environments, there are a number of places that are important for us to check out. They include heating duct-work and furnaces, pipes, electrical wiring, attics and cinder block walls, ceilings and flooring. You see, asbestos was commonly used as insulating material. In many cases, each of the areas mentioned have asbestos materials still present. It cannot be stressed enough how important it is for asbestos to be removed from your property.
Tavia Grant of The Globe And Mail couldn’t have put it any clearer. “Asbestos exposure is the single largest on-the-job killer in Canada, accounting for more than a third of total workplace death claims approved last year and nearly a third since 1996,” she writes. Based on new national data obtained by The Globe and Mail, Grant reveals that there were 368 asbestos-related death claims that took place over the past year.
What is staggering about the number is that the death toll actually exceeds the number of fatalities that came as a result of highway accidents, fires and chemical exposures combined! Quite frankly, that is a scary statistic – not one to be taken lightly. And this certainly isn’t a new trend. Grant reports that asbestos exposure has been a leading cause of death in the workplace for about two decades now.
“Since 1996, almost 5,000 approved death claims stem from asbestos exposure, making it by far the top source of workplace death in Canada,” she writes. Perhaps, even scarier than the fact that the use of asbestos in building construction has proven to be so destructive for so long, is the fact that the Canadian government seems to support its use. Grant reveals that an investigation conducted by The Globe And Mail found that the federal government is keeping mum on the dangers of asbestos.
Even low levels of asbestos exposure can lead to severe health concerns. And according to Grant, “Canada’s government does not clearly state that all forms of asbestos are known human carcinogens. (Meanwhile) dozens of other countries including Australia, Britain, Japan and Sweden have banned asbestos.” The reason, very likely, lies in all of the money that the nation made from exporting asbestos.
She reveals that “Canada was one of the world’s largest exporters of asbestos for decades, until 2011, when the last mine in Quebec closed.” At DF Technical & Consulting Ltd., we believe in an asbestos export of another variety. Let’s get it OUT of your property! For any questions about our Asbestos Containing Materials (ACM) Services, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. It will literally be a life-saving decision.
What is it and where do we find it
Asbestos is the common name for the flexible fibres separated from the mineral silicate rock mined in various locations in North America and other parts of the world.
The main properties that make asbestos useful are its incombustibility (will not burn), strength and flexibility when separated into fibres. It is also effective as a reinforcing or binding agent when combined with cement or plastic.
Many products which at one time contained asbestos are either no longer in use or have been replaced. The typical cut off point for use of Asbestos is regarded as 1982 though the time line was earlier, some contractors appeared to use old inventory in construction as late as 1982. The uses for asbestos ranged from products in which the fibres were well bound to friable products in which the fibres could easily become airborne. The construction industry was the main user of asbestos products. Sprayed insulation, stucco and joint cements manufactured in Canada and the United States no longer contain asbestos in an unbound form.
Building materials containing asbestos in a bound form are typically found in the following locations and products:
fireproofing spray on beams, decks, joists, columns and other structural members
Pipes (insulation on either exposed or concealed pipes)
Building products containing asbestos in an unbound or loosely bound form include:
The list of products containing asbestos which are used in applications other than construction include:
Non-friable products which may contain asbestos pose little danger of releasing airborne fibres unless they are cut, broken, sawn, ground, sanded or are in deteriorating condition.
This is a partial list more refined to homes and areas in which a home may contain asbestos.