Many people believe that asbestos is a “problem of the past” which no longer exists in homes. Well that is simply not the case. Asbestos was commonly used in Canadian housing construction up until the mid-1990s, according to the WorkSafe BC website. So anyone who plans to do renovations on a home built prior to 1995 needs to fully investigate whether or not asbestos was used on their property, or else face dire health consequences.
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What are the health risks of asbestos?
Asbestos is a natural mineral found with fibres which are strong, durable and do not burn. This is why asbestos was commonly used to insulate houses. However, it became well known in the early 1980s that a particular type of asbestos called “Amphibole” contains toxic fibres. When disturbed, these toxic fibres will disperse into the air you breathe. These toxic fibres then invade the lungs, get lodged deep inside and cannot
be coughed-up or expelled – leading to cancer and many other forms of lung disease.
Although the use of toxic asbestos in new home construction is now banned in Canada, there are still thousands of asbestos-filled homes still in existence. So, before starting any renovation project in a home older than 1995, homeowners and their contractors need to be certain whether or not the house contains toxic asbestos. If they simply proceed without lab-testing, the “Do-It-Yourself” homeowner or renovator might accidentally expose themselves and their family to asbestos while drilling, sawing, sanding walls, tearing down walls or ceilings and insulation. The health effects of toxic asbestos exposure are long lasting. Many forms of lung disease show up only more than 20 to 30 years after exposure.
How can I find out if my home contains asbestos?
If you’re not sure and you’re contemplating a renovation, contact a professional Home Inspector or Consultant who can guide you and have such materials lab-tested. If there is asbestos found it’s critical to not disturb the area and have it contained with a sealer to “encapsulate”. However, if renovations must be done, the only safe solution is to first hire an expert in the removal of this highly toxic substance.
“This important article is provided in the interest of Safety – once again –
for all our readers and anyone else you really care about, yourself; please
Forward this to anyone you know may live in a home more than just 18 years old.”
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