Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that was widely used in construction during the previous century. When it became evident that this material causes severe respiratory issues with long-term exposure, many countries banned or limited its use. However, considering that many residential and business buildings in Canada have been constructed before the 90’s, asbestos is still widely present.
Asbestos was widely used as an insulator and fire-retardant, and it was commonly mixed with concrete to improve its thermal isolation qualities without increasing its weight. This is why asbestos is commonly found in:
- Pipe insulation
- Pipe cement
- Roof shingles
- Floor tiles
- Wallboards and wallboard adhesives
- Popcorn ceiling
- Asbestos mastic
If the asbestos-containing material remains undamaged there is no risk of exposure, but once the asbestos microfibers are airborne, they can get inhaled and end up in the lungs. The fibers cause inflammation and scarring of the lung tissue and severe types of cancer in case of long-term exposure. Symptoms of exposure start to manifest after a couple of decades, making the problem even harder to detect on time. For this reason, it is very important to test your home for asbestos, especially if you live in an older building.
There are certain DIY asbestos test kits available on the market, and they usually require you to take samples from your home and send them to the laboratory for testing. If you opt for this option, it is necessary to wear adequate safety equipment in areas where the presence of asbestos is suspected. This equipment includes:
- Respirators with HEPA filters
- Disposable coveralls
- Safety glasses
- Shoe covers
In order to avoid disturbing the asbestos fibers, mix two teaspoons of liquid dishwashing detergent with 1L of water, put it in a spray bottle, and generously apply the mixture all over the potentially contaminated area. Gently take a small piece of the suspected material, put it in a bag provided in the testing kit, seal it well and send it to the lab. Some labs may also take dust samples, but there need to be at least 6 grams of dust for the test, and this method is more expensive.
Asbestos Testing With InchbyInch
DIY tests always come with a risk and considering that symptoms of exposure become evident after a couple of decades, it is best to completely avoid potentially contaminated areas and ask help from a professional. The best and safest way to test for asbestos is to contact a professional service. Professional inspectors are equipped with tools and knowledge to perform detailed asbestos testing, find sources of contamination, and provide a list of recommendations for management. They know how to reduce the risk of exposure to a minimum and keep the inhabitants of the building safe.
If you are looking for a trusted, honest inspector, reach out to Inch by Inch Inspections. The experienced staff of Inch by Inch provides safe, efficient, and budget-friendly asbestos testing services in Toronto and the GTA. Contact Inch by Inch today to schedule your testing.