First Response Guide To Asbestos In The Home

First Response is Eastern Ontario’s asbestos removal experts. Learn what you need to know about this dangerous carcinogen.

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A Health Hazard
Over A Century Old

It’s widely known that asbestos is a dangerous substance that can be found in commercial spaces, industrial locations, and more commonly in old homes. It was widely used in construction in the late 19th century up until around the late 1970s when the danger to humans became more widely known. It has since become a very heavily regulated substance. It’s important for your health to ensure that you know the facts about asbestos, where it can be found, and how to deal with it safely. First Response Cleaning is happy to provide you with all the information that you need to know.

A close up picture of asbestos-infused construction material which is extremely dangerous to those who come in contact with it.
Asbestos fibers are hazardous to health

What Is Asbestos

Asbestos is a natural mineral that is composed of a structure of thin fibers. It was widely used in construction because it was:

  • Strong & Durable
  • Cheap
  • A Sound Insulator
  • A Heat Insulator
  • Incredibly Fire Resistant
  • Resistant to Chemicals
  • Water Resistant
  • Resistant to Electricity

This long list of benefits makes it easy to see how asbestos was viewed as one of the best construction materials around. What people failed to understand for decades was how asbestos affects humans.

Why Is Asbestos Hazardous

Asbestos fibres break off in dust-sized bits and become airborne very easily when the product containing it is agitated. These fibres can then be inhaled by unsuspecting people nearby. It was discovered in the early 19th century that there was an abnormally high risk of early death among asbestos workers. Long-term exposure to asbestos was found to lead to lung diseases such as asbestosis or mesothelioma, a form of cancer that forms on the lining of the lungs, abdomen or heart.

 

Effects of Asbestos Exposure
female industrial worker wearing a facemask

How Much Asbestos Exposure Is Harmful

It takes quite a lot of repeated exposure to asbestos to develop related conditions. Longer periods of heavy exposure increase the risk of asbestos-related disease. In fact, about 20% of asbestos workers who are heavily exposed develop an asbestos related disease. The likelihood of developing a serious illness is lower in residential homes, but prolonged exposure over many years can lead to these diseases developing. Even heavy short-term exposure can lead to a disease developing years later. Studies and reports conducted on asbestos have concluded that there is no evidence of a threshold or safe level of exposure.

 

 

Where Asbestos Can Be Found In The Home

Asbestos was used as an additive in most construction materials that were used before 1980. Buildings that were built before this time could contain asbestos in:

  • Cement
  • Roof Shingles
  • Steam Pipes
  • Ceiling and Floor Tiles
  • Textured Paint
  • Spray-On Insulation

This puts DIY renovators and general contractors at great risk when working on older homes. Common scenarios that lead to asbestos exposure include attic renovations, drilling into drywall, removing vinyl floor tiles, popcorn ceiling removal, and cutting insulation on old pipes to name a few.

Removing Asbestos Roofing
lab tech holding a piece of asbestos in a gloved hand

How Can I Tell If I Have Asbestos In My Home

Asbestos is incredibly difficult to identify just by looking at it. Samples need to be tested in a lab to be confirmed as asbestos. Homeowners should not take these samples themselves, since touching materials that have asbestos in it will kick up toxic dust, even if the material is in good condition. Instead, they should contact a licensed and certified expert in asbestos testing and removal, like First Response, to come and take a sample to test. If the sample is confirmed to be asbestos, then we can get to work right away on removing any trace of it in the home.

When You Should Have Your Home Tested For Asbestos

Given the severe consequences of asbestos exposure, it is imperative to have your home tested if it hasn’t been tested and confirmed to be free of asbestos. If you are moving into a home built before 1980, and the seller didn’t confirm that there is no asbestos, then it is important to get it tested to be sure so you can have a professional conduct an asbestos abatement right away and eliminate the risk for exposure. If this applies to you, or you would like peace of mind knowing that you are not exposed to asbestos in your home, then contact First Response Cleaning today for asbestos testing and removal services.

Asbestos Testing In
Kingston & Belleville

Asbestos is a dangerous material that was commonly used to build materials due to its durability and usability in the industrial and construction industries. Asbestos is classified as a carcinogen and can also cause numerous respiratory problems including: Asbestosis and Mesothelioma. Asbestos has been used as a general insulation for pipes, boilers, tanks and ducts.

During building renovations, expansions or demolitions, this material can be disrupted and becomes an airborne carcinogen as well as a danger to anyone in the vicinity. If you think that you may be living in a space that contains asbestos contact First Response to receive a professional asbestos assessment.

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Our Ontario Asbestos Abatement Service Areas

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First Response is Ottawa & Eastern Ontario’s extreme deep cleaning service. We are IICRC and ABRA certified crime scene cleaning specialists and have the experience, expertise and equipment you need.

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