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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!


  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.


  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?


    • 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.

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  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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Understanding Asbestos And How To Avoid It

Asbestos warning signThese 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 info@dftechnical.ca.

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Analyzing The Facts About Asbestosis

Asbestos Alert Indicates Hazmat Warning And DangerIn 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 info@dftechnical.ca.

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