An Asbestos Investigation Of Older Type Of Buildings Can Avoid The Costly Removal Of Materials And Contamination
At Pacific West Home Inspections, you will receive the following professional service and more:
- EPA – AHERA Asbestos Investigator Certified By The International Association Of Indoor Air Consultants.
- Provide A Complete Detailed On-Site Visual Assessment Documentation Survey Of The Buildings Older Materials
- Undertake Sample Material Collecting And Forward Samples To Be Tested At An Accredited Lab Using WorkSafe BC Protocols & Strict Guidelines.
- Provide A Detailed Narrative Report With Photos Along With Lab Results.
- Provide You With Recommendations For Remedial Action If Needed.
Asbestos containing building materials and contamination can be a very serious health issue. You should not purchase or occupy a building that has older type of building materials that may contain asbestos that has been damaged, deteriorated and/or disturbed in anyway. An asbestos assessment survey investigation proved by Pacific West Home Inspections can help you before undertaking any type of renovations or demolition of the building.
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Call (250) 833-8955
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What Is Asbestos?
Asbestos is a natural mineral with unusual qualities. It is strong enough to resist high temperatures, chemical attack and wear. A poor conductor, it insulates well against heat and electricity. Asbestos crystals become long, flexible, silky fibres, so it can be made into a wide variety of forms. It can be spun into yarn, woven into cloth or braided into rope.
Asbestos can also be added to materials as diverse as cotton and cement. This combination of properties gives asbestos performance capabilities that are difficult to match.
What Has Asbestos Been Used For?
Asbestos has been used in hundreds of applications and products over the past 4,500 years. The ancient Greeks wove it into oil lamp wicks, funeral shrouds and ceremonial tablecloths. During the 1800s, it insulated the hot engines, boilers and piping that powered the Industrial Revolution. For half a century, until the 1980s, asbestos was used in office buildings, public buildings and schools. It insulated hot water heating systems, and was put into walls and ceilings as insulation against fire and sound. Asbestos has also been widely used in transportation and electrical appliances, frequently mixed with, and encased in, other materials.
Asbestos has also been found in many products around the house. It has been used in clapboard; shingles and felt for roofing; exterior siding; pipe and boiler covering; compounds and cement, such as caulk, putty, roof patching, furnace cement and driveway coating; wallboard; textured and latex paints; acoustical ceiling tiles and plaster; vinyl floor tiles; appliance wiring; hair dryers; irons and ironing board pads; flame-resistant aprons and electric blankets; and clay pottery. Loose-fill vermiculite insulation may contain traces of “amphibole” asbestos.
What Health Problems are Associated with Exposure to Asbestos?
Health Canada states that the asbestos content of a product does not indicate its health risk. Asbestos poses health risks only when fibres are in the air that people breathe. Asbestos fibres lodge in the lungs, causing scarring that can ultimately lead to severely impaired lung function (asbestosis) and cancers of the lungs or lung cavity.Concern for the health of asbestos workers was expressed as long ago as the late 1800s. The risks became more evident in the late 1960s, when workers who had been heavily exposed 20 to 30 years earlier showed increased incidence of lung disease. Occupational exposure is now strictly regulated by provincial governments.
When Can Asbestos Be A Problem In The Home?
Today, far fewer products in the home contain asbestos. Current products that do contain the material are better made to withstand wear and use. However, frequent or prolonged exposure to asbestos fibres may still bring health risks. This can happen with the release of fibres into the air when asbestos-containing products break down, either through deterioration as they age or when they are cut. People can put themselves at risk — often without realizing it — if they do not take proper precautions when repairs or renovations disturb asbestos containing materials. This can occur in a number of situations:
- Disturbing loose-fill vermiculite insulation which may contain asbestos.
- Removing deteriorating roofing shingles and siding containing asbestos, or tampering with roofing felt that contains asbestos.
- Ripping away old asbestos insulation from around a hot water tank.
- Sanding or scraping vinyl asbestos floor tiles.
- Breaking apart acoustical ceilings tiles containing asbestos.
- Sanding plaster containing asbestos, or sanding or disturbing acoustical plaster that gives ceilings and walls a soft, textured look.
- Sanding or scraping older water-based asbestos coatings such as roofing compounds, spackling, sealants, paint, putty, caulking or drywall.
- Sawing, drilling or smoothing rough edges of new or old asbestos materials.
How To Minimize The Asbestos Risks In The Home?
If you do not know if products in your home contain asbestos, have it inspected by Pacific West Home Inspections. If there is asbestos, the best interim measure (unless the product is peeling or deteriorating) is to seal the surface temporarily so
that fibres will not be released into indoor air. If the product is already protected or isolated, simply leave it alone.
It is a complex and expensive matter to remove asbestos, and should be done by an experienced contractor. When disturbing an asbestos product, maximum precautions must be taken to safeguard the workers and anybody else who may be nearby.
Asbestos dust must remain within the work area so that it cannot be breathed in by unprotected persons. It is essential to take adequate precautions. Everybody who works with asbestos should always wear an approved face mask and gloves, along with protective clothing. If you must handle small amounts of damaged asbestos-containing materials, follow these steps:
- Keep other people and pets away, and seal off the work area.
- Wet the material to reduce dust, making sure it is not in contact with electricity.
- If possible, do not cut or damage the materials further and do not break them up.
- Clean the work area afterwards using a damp cloth, not a vacuum cleaner, and seal the asbestos waste and cloth in a plastic bag.
- Check with your local municipality on how to dispose of asbestos-containing waste.
- Wash or dispose of clothing and shower after finishing the job.