Canada’s resource rich natural environment has long been one of its top employers. For 150 years, Canada has been mining its copper, gold, oil, and…. Asbestos. You may have seen recent headlines or legislation about what we once called our ‘magic mineral’ and its associated health dangers, or read about asbestos inspection in Toronto. But what is it really, and why should you be worried?
What is Asbestos and Why is it Harmful to my Health?
Asbestos is a set of six naturally occurring minerals. Large scale mining of asbestos fibers, which can be found world-wide, began in earnest at the end of the 19th century. It was incorporated into a myriad of things, like building materials, coffee pots, and clothing because of its amazing heat-resistance, sound absorption, conductivity and affordability. But by the 1960s and 70s, the devastating health effects of asbestos started to make themselves known - many of the men and women who worked in the mines began coughing up blood or were diagnosed with hostile cancers; mesothelioma, cancer of the stomach and chest, is only caused through exposure to asbestos. Another common side-effect of asbestos exposure is asbestosis - the particles of asbestos are so fine that they lodge within the lungs and the body is unable to expel them - you cannot see or smell asbestos, so it’s nearly impossible to know if you’re being exposed if you don’t know it’s there. Years of repeated exposure and buildup of asbestos in the body will cause painful internal scarring, and it’s recognized as a carcinogen by the World Health Organization. This is why having an asbestos inspection in Toronto is key to ensuring you are not inadvertently being exposed to the mineral.
Asbestos was a hugely popular building material for homes and businesses across Canada - if you live in a home built before the year 1985 ish, it’s likely to have or to have had asbestos used in some part of its construction, and you should consider having an asbestos inspection in Toronto. In the attic you might find contaminated vermiculite insulation; the ceiling or floor tiles may be made with it, and the insulation around boilers, ducts, or pipes could be coated with it. At Inch by Inch Inspections, we commonly find asbestos in soundproofing, joint compounds, stucco ceilings, floor tile, ducting, wrap, caulking and parging. Having an asbestos inspection in Toronto should be a key step in any renovating or removal of old building materials so that you are not inadvertently releasing asbestos.
Asbestos becomes a hazard only when it becomes airborne, so it is important to identify damaged or deteriorated asbestos materials quickly, so that it can be safely removed before causing you or your family any harm. An asbestos inspection in Toronto by a trained professional will accomplish this - unfortunately, a visual inspection by even the handiest DIYer is not a sufficient method of determining whether or not you have asbestos in your home. Considering the myriad dangers associated with it, having an asbestos inspection in Toronto may be the easiest way to assess your risk and quickly solve any asbestos problems in your home.
Asbestos Inspections by Certified Inspectors
At Inch by Inch Inspections, we offer asbestos inspection in Toronto by highly trained professionals, who follow established health and safety standards to provide neutral and objective assessments. In Toronto, like the rest of the country, asbestos was used extensively in residential, commercial and government buildings. Just this spring, the union representing the University of Toronto’s teaching assistants and contract faculty filed a grievance against the university when three documented asbestos leaks were recorded in February and March. Two labs in the medical sciences building were closed when the indoor air quality tested positive for asbestos in the middle of huge renovation project that was removing the substance from the 50 year old buildings. Other buildings in Canada which have had asbestos removed include Parliament Hill and 24 Sussex Drive, the Prime Minister’s residence - if these two famous buildings can be contaminated with asbestos, so can your home, new or old, and having an asbestos inspection in Toronto can help identify it.
Because of the well-known health risks associated with its use, asbestos has been strictly regulated in Canada since 1985. Despite this, we are the only country in the G8 still exporting asbestos, and its use is still allowed in new building projects, which is why having an asbestos inspection in Toronto is a valid concern for those living in newly constructed buildings. For example - Globe and Mail report in 2014 found pipes containing asbestos were still being installed in new builds, and while reported safe for use when correctly installed, concerns still remain among industry professionals.
Thankfully Canada has announced that a full ban of asbestos and a changing of rules and regulations are expected to be in place by 2018. These new regulations hope to drastically reduce the risk of people coming into contact with asbestos while at work or home, and will ban imported products containing asbestos. The importance of having an asbestos inspection in Toronto will not fade with new regulations - one of the insidious features of asbestos is that health effects are often not felt for decades after exposure. Mesothelioma, for instance, is an aggressive cancer with a life expectancy of less than a year post diagnoses, since the disease has a long latency period and remains undetected until it’s too late. Having an asbestos inspection in Toronto can give you the peace of mind when doing renovations or retrofits to your home, so that the health of your family is protected for decades to come.
If you’re purchasing a new home or renovating or retrofitting an existing one in the GTA, it’s important to have it checked for asbestos. This isn’t the type of job for your neighbourhood handyman but is best left to experts who can properly contain a site to reduce the risk of contamination if asbestos is found. An asbestos inspection in Toronto generally begins with a comprehensive visual examination - at Inch by Inch Inspections, we follow this with a thorough collection of samples from any suspect materials, and, if asbestos is found, a comprehensive written report which will detail the location and extent of the asbestos as well as recommendations for its removal. An Inch by Inch, an asbestos inspection in Toronto will follow O. Reg. 278/05: DESIGNATED SUBSTANCE - ASBESTOS ON CONSTRUCTION PROJECTS AND IN BUILDINGS AND REPAIR OPERATIONS
Call Inch by Inch Inspections for an asbestos inspection in Toronto - we would be pleased to help you identify any hazards in your home and make certain that your concerns are dealt with promptly and safely.