Asbestos – The Killer Hidden in Plain Sight
Asbestos is the leading cause of work related deaths in Canada. Prior to 1990, asbestos can be found in over 3000 common building materials used in your home, including:
- Textured ceilings
- Acoustic ceiling panels
- Furnace duct tape
- Vinyl tiles
- linoleum sheet flooring
- Roof shingles
- Insulation / vermiculite
- Gypsum/drywall joint compound
- Deck undersheeting
The safe removal and disposal of asbestos containing materials begins with homeowners. For example, a textured ceiling is considered to be suspect for containing asbestos.
Only a laboratory, which is certified to identify asbestos, can confirm its existence. For everyone’s protection, all suspect materials need to be tested before any demolition or renovation work begins.
Breathing in asbestos fibers is known to cause very serious lung disease, including cancer. Once the microscopic fibers are disturbed, they may become airborne, and can then be easily inhaled, without any warning signs. Once inhaled, the fibers can permanently damage your lungs.
It’s important to note that thousands of homes contain suspect materials and that the risk of exposure is minimal if the materials are in a stable, non-friable condition. But some may be concealed behind other materials. If in doubt, consult a qualified environmental laboratory for advice on the safest way to proceed.
There is no safe level of asbestos exposure. Once the fibers are free to circulate your home, everyone on the property is put at serious risk. ASTTBC Certified House and Property inspectors care about your safety and may assist in identifying potential asbestos containing materials.
For more information on identifying and the safe removal of asbestos:
Worksafe BC – Asbestos awareness for homeowners
ASTTBC Home and Property Inspectors