Asbestos is a hazardous material which was regularly used in buildings until the 1980s. It has be used in many applications, including ceiling tiles, garage roof tiles, sprayed coatings, fireproofing and insulation systems, plasters, roofing, or boilers. So why is this material hazardous? Asbestos can be a killer if disturbed. Inhaling loose asbestos can lead to several serious and even fatal respiratory conditions, which is why it was banned for use in most Canadian products in the mid-80s.
If you own a home or building that was constructed prior to the ban, you may still have asbestos lurking in your property. So what does asbestos look like and what should you do when you find it?
First, you should know how to recognize asbestos. The three main types of asbestos generally found in Canadian buildings are blue, white, and brown coloured asbestos. Unfortunately, asbestos comes in all shapes, sizes and colors and is not easily identifiable by the untrained eye. It may be hiding in your floor tiles, drop ceiling tiles, or look like traditional fluffy insulation. The most difficult part of identifying asbestos is to being able to recognize it after has been mixed or embedded in other materials, such as plaster.
Here are some photos of asbestos-containing materials you may find in your home or workplace:
So, if you plan to start a renovation project and you are not sure what parts of your building might contain asbestos, approach with caution. Asbestos is a dangerous material for your health and that of anyone else working in your building who may disturb asbestos or inhale its fibers unknowingly. If left undisturbed, asbestos is harmless. However, if you attempt to remove it remember that this is not a DIY job. You should not panic if you find asbestos in your property, but you should not rush in and try to remove it by yourself as you will disturb asbestos and trigger its lethal effects.
If you suspect you have asbestos in your home, get in touch with a certified asbestos removal company like FERRO Canada who can identify asbestos properly. In case of a positive result, the company will complete a scope of work according to the asbestos abatement regulations, and will properly remove asbestos from your property.