What are the Eleven Designated Substance Survey

When it comes to renovations, maintaining the health and safety of the construction crew is essential. Many properties contain hazardous materials, like asbestos. If asbestos abatement isn’t completed before renovations, the risk of exposure and its adverse health effects is high. However, that’s why designated substance surveys are in place. When renovating a property, designated substance surveys are required in Ontario to prevent exposure to dangerous contaminants and substances, and to keep contractors safe. At Inch By Inch Inspections, our teams can help you with designated substance surveys as well as asbestos abatement. Contact us to learn more about your DSS Report.

Here’s what you need to know about  the 11 designated substances that must be reported in Ontario. 


designated substance surveyAsbestos is a mineral that has heat-resistant and fireproofing properties. It’s often found in insulation, drywall, paint, air ducts, and tiles. If asbestos fibres become airborne through disruption, like knocking down walls, it will lead to asbestos-related illnesses, such as asbestosis, mesothelioma, and lung cancer. To prevent exposure, contact Inch By Inch Inspections for asbestos abatement. 


Lead comes from our environment and is often found in paint coatings and pipe fittings in properties. Lead exposure may negatively affect the nervous system, cause kidney damage, compromise the immune system, and impact the cardiovascular system.


Mercury, which comes from coal and sometimes limestone, is typically found in thermometers, pressure gauges, and electrical switches. Due to its dangerous effects on the human body, like skin irritation, chest pain, wheezing, and fatigue, it’s dangerous. It must be reported in a designated substance survey. 


Silica dust particles can become trapped in the lungs and may result in lung scarring, inflammation, and trouble breathing. Silica comes from quartz, gravel, and sand and is found in concrete, masonry and stone around properties.


Plastics found in properties may contain acrylonitrile. Acrylonitrile may have a grey or white appearance and has no smell. The adverse health effects of this substance may include weakness, migraines, fatigue, and liver damage.


Many metals in properties contain arsenic. Arsenic, which is found in copper, nickel, and iron, leads to numerous health implications. Those exposed to arsenic may experience skin inflammation, digestive issues, and an increased heart rate.


Benzene is an industrial chemical found in plastics, resins, synthetic fibres, and dyes. Exposure may lead to anemia, eye irritation, and a compromised immune system. 

Coke-Oven Emissions

Coke-oven emissions come from large ovens that heat coal, ultimately, which is used to produce iron and steel. If coke-oven emissions are inhaled, it increases the risk of lung cancer. 

Ethylene Oxide

Ethylene oxide was used to produce and manufacture fabric textiles and cleaning products. Ethylene oxide negatively impacts humans through inhalation. The health implications include respiratory irritation, nausea, shortness of breath, and lung scarring.


Isocyanates are commonly found in lacquers, adhesives, spray paints, and insulation. Exposure to isocyanates typically happens through direct skin contact and may cause asthma, lung irritation, eye irritation, and skin inflammation.

Vinyl Chloride

Vinyl chloride can be found in various vinyl products around properties, like cable coating, carpet backings, and furniture upholstery. The adverse effects of vinyl chloride include respiratory issues, liver damage, skin irritation, and possible neurological effects.

Designated Substance Surveys with Inch By Inch Inspections

Conducting a designated substance survey is required to protect the health and safety of those involved in the renovation. 

Contact Inch By Inch Inspections today.

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