Once widely used in construction due to its favourable physical qualities, asbestos is now viewed as a harmful pollutant. Its use in construction was banned in the 1980s, but many homes built before the ban still stand today, presenting a potential danger to all inhabitants’ health. For this reason, it is highly advised that all homeowners of older Toronto homes get asbestos air testing. If the test results show increased values for the concentration of asbestos microfibrils, removing this hazardous material from the premises is necessary. Considering the many dangers of improper removal and handling, DIY asbestos abatement is never a good idea. The best and the safest solution is to leave it to the professionals.
Why is Asbestos Dangerous?
Asbestos is a naturally-occurring silicate mineral with very favourable qualities in terms of heat and fire resistance and insulation. However, this seemingly innocent material is carcinogenic, especially with long-term exposure. If asbestos microfibrils are present and airborne, there is a high risk of inhaling these invisible crystals. Once the microfibrils get inside the lungs, they damage the sensitive tissues by cutting them and causing inflammation. These cuts are constantly healed and created again, resulting in scarring of the lung tissues and decreasing lung capacity. Depending on the severity of exposure, chronic inflammation can lead to severe diseases in the long term, including asbestosis, lung cancer, and mesothelioma.
Asbestos exposure does sound very painful, but due to the particles’ microscopic size, the symptoms of exposure usually start to manifest after 15 or more years. Taking into account this delayed manifestation of symptoms and the fact that asbestos microfibrils are invisible to the naked eye, it is easy to see why asbestos air testing is the most reliable way of determining whether your Toronto home is contaminated.
When is the Best Time to Remove Asbestos?
If you found traces of damaged asbestos-containing materials or identified the presence of this harmful material by testing, the next thing you should do is get professional asbestos abatement. It doesn’t matter whether it’s winter or summer, rain or sunshine – the best time to remove asbestos is always as soon as possible.
How to Hire the Right Asbestos Abatement Company?
When looking for an asbestos abatement company, it is essential to know that different companies often offer various services. Some are specialized in asbestos removal only, while some also provide demolition and environmental services and general contracting services. To hire the best company for your specific needs, you should always ask what services the company offers and verify its qualifications before hiring.
Because asbestos abatement is a complicated process that requires following strict laws and regulations, all inspectors working with asbestos need to be licensed and trained in:
- Pre-asbestos abatement activities
- Work area preparation
- Establishing decontamination units
- Using personal protection (respirator and protective clothing)
- Worker decontamination procedures
- Safety considerations in the abatement area
- Proper handling and disposal of asbestos waste
Companies in Toronto with non-certified staff are not eligible to perform asbestos air testing or removal. Hiring such companies can present a tremendous financial and health risk. Always hire a qualified inspector that can guarantee their work has been done safely and successfully.
How Does Asbestos Abatement Look Like?
Once you picked the company and arranged an inspection, the asbestos inspector should come to your property at the agreed time and thoroughly inspect it for signs of asbestos. The inspector will take samples from the suspicious materials that will be analyzed in the lab to determine the scale of the problem and help make an adequate removal strategy.
Depending on the extent of contamination, asbestos abatement can include the repair, encapsulation or removal of asbestos-containing materials. Complete removal is always preferred, considering it solves the problem in the long term. However, if the damage is minor and you want to save some money, repair and encapsulation can also do the trick. Talk with your inspector about the different abatement options and pick the one that works best for you.
Generally, asbestos abatement includes the following steps:
- Establishing the work area
- Disabling HVAC and electrical systems
- Installing a new electrical system to power negative air pressure units to circumvent air contamination outside the work area.
- Installing decontamination enclosure systems
- Sealing openings with plastic sheeting and duct tape.
- Wet wipe or use a vacuum with a HEPA filter on non-movable objects to prevent asbestos from becoming airborne.
- Sealing non-movable objects with plastic sheets and duct tape.
- Covering the surfaces that are not getting abated with plastic sheets
- Posting warning signs that read: “Warning! Asbestos, Lung Disease, And Cancer Hazard Present! Only Authorized Personnel Allowed. Protective Clothing And Respirators Are Required”
- Encapsulating, repairing, and removing asbestos-containing materials
- Cleaning the area using a HEPA vacuum to ensure that there are no remaining microfibrils
- Removed asbestos-containing materials are sealed in leak-proof containers while still wet, then labelled and taken to landfills that are qualified to handle such materials. These landfills follow rigorous requirements for securing the waste and preventing the deadly fibres from spreading elsewhere. Vehicles that transport the asbestos-containing waste from your home to the landfill also follow specific requirements and labelling instructions.
How Much Does Asbestos Abatement Cost?
There are many factors involved when it comes to the cost of asbestos abatement, including the size of the home, the extent of contamination, and the abatement method. Roughly speaking, the initial inspection usually costs $400-$600, sample analysis $25-$75, and complete asbestos removal for an average-sized home $20.000-$30.000. If you opt to repair and encapsulate some asbestos-containing materials instead of removing them, the abatement cost can be significantly lower.
Finding a trusted, experienced inspector is crucial for successful asbestos abatement, so reach out to Inch by Inch Inspections. Our certified staff is always ready to take on both small-scale and big-scale removal projects and provide quality service that is also friendly to your pocket.