Seven Most Frequently Asked Questions about Asbestos
If you are about to purchase or rent an old apartment, you should get it inspected for the presence of asbestos as asbestos exposure is extremely hazardous for your health. You can get a safe and cost-effective hazardous asbestos removal service from Clean Air Services. Our team of professionals are well-equipped and licensed to provide site assessments, disposal of generated waste and liability insurance. Our team has been serving residents and businesses in Alberta since 1996.
The Prohibition of Asbestos and Products Containing Asbestos Regulations is in effect since 30th December 2018 in Canada. It made import, manufacture, trade or use of asbestos products illegal. However, the law exempted the chlor-alkali industry, the military, nuclear facilities and magnesium extraction units from asbestos mining.
Most homeowners or business owners are not well-acquainted with asbestos, its harmful effects and how to remove it. This blog addresses common queries regarding asbestos and its removal.
Here are seven most frequently asked questions:
1. What is asbestos and why is it hazardous?
Asbestos refers to a naturally-occurring group of minerals, which are structured as bundles of fibres. These fibres can be five micrometres in length or longer. Six primary types of asbestos are:
- (brown asbestos)
- (blue asbestos)
Asbestos fibres become airborne when disturbed and can stay airborne for longer periods of time due to their low-density, size and shape.
Asbestos fibres become hazardous when airborne as you can inhale them; buildup of asbestos fibres in your lungs makes it difficult for you to breathe. Long term exposure to asbestos can cause:
- Asbestosis – When the body tries to dissolve asbestos fibres trapped in your lungs, it produces an acid that scars the lung tissues. The natural functioning of lungs decreases with an increase in scarring
- Mesothelioma – Cancer of the outer lining of the lungs or the lining of the abdominal wall
- Cancer – Lungs and stomach cancer
2. Which materials commonly contain asbestos?
Asbestos is fire-resistant, flexible and durable. This is why it is commonly used in construction materials. Any material containing more than one per cent of asbestos is hazardous to your health. Chrysotile is the most common type of asbestos used in roofing ceilings, walls and floors. Other building components containing asbestos are:
- Spray-applied and blown-in insulation
- Cement siding
- HVAC duct insulation
- Spackling compounds
- Fireproofing materials
Apart from building materials, asbestos is also found in automotive parts and textiles.
3. When is it necessary to remove asbestos-containing material?
Undisturbed asbestos is unlikely to cause any problems. So, it is not an immediate hazard. Asbestos-containing materials should not be tampered with and their condition should be monitored periodically. If these materials are damaged or broken, asbestos fibres can become airborne.
Asbestos removal is essential if it is friable (fibres which can be reduced to dust by hand pressure are termed as ‘friable’). Renovation activities such as sanding, grinding and dry-buffing can cause non-friable asbestos to become friable.
4. When is it necessary to have a building inspection or survey?
If your building is to be demolished or renovated, you should get it inspected by licensed professionals for the presence of asbestos. It is only through inspection and sampling that the presence of friable asbestos can be determined.
5. How is asbestos removed?
There are strict regulations in place by the Government of Canada defining asbestos abatement procedures. Workers must receive proper training and the affected area should be sealed before starting the removal process. Workers should wear disposable suits and respirators while working. Special filters must be used to ensure contaminated air is filtered before it leaves the sealed area. Asbestos-containing materials are taken off the surface, collected and stored in sealed containers to be later buried at an approved waste disposal site.
6. How can I tell if I have asbestos in my building?
The only way to confirm the presence of asbestos in your property is to get bulk samples analyzed in certified labs.
7. Who do I call for asbestos related concerns?
Call our licensed and trained professionals whenever you are concerned about the presence of asbestos in your facility. We provide safe and effective asbestos removal services.