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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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