Asbestos refers to a family of naturally occurring minerals that are mined in a similar way to commonly known elements like iron, lead, and gold. Asbestos has been mined in Canada since the late 1800’s; it’s still being mined today, with the majority of exports going to developing nations. Asbestos’ many benefits include its strength, flexibility, nonflammability, and insulation capability, so it’s often used in the production of items that need to be heat or corrosion-resistant.
Starting in the 1940’s, asbestos was used extensively in Toronto, and across Canada, in the construction industry. Asbestos and asbestos containing materials, such as asbestos-containing cement, were used to insulate, soundproof, and fireproof homes and institutions. Asbestos-laden products at one time included roof shingles, siding, and insulation, as well as a wide variety of asbestos-containing household products.
Numerous health issues have been connected with asbestos, leading to its banning in the European Union and many other countries. Specific diseases associated with asbestos are Asbestosis, a non-cancerous respiratory disease, lung cancer, and Mesothelioma, a rare cancer in which virtually all known cases are linked with asbestos exposure.
People are exposed to asbestos in the form of asbestos fibers, tiny particles that float in the air and are invisible to the naked eye. Damaged asbestos-containing materials are much more likely to release fibers than intact asbestos-containing materials.
If you suspect you have asbestos, or asbestos-containing materials, in your home, the first step is not to panic. Remember, the hazardousness of asbestos is dependent upon exposure, so you don’t want to disturb the material in any way. Asbestos removal is not a job for the layperson, since improper removal of asbestos-containing materials may result in the release of toxic asbestos fibers. Once asbestos is released into the air it becomes more difficult and time-consuming to get rid of it.
If you have, or suspect you may have, asbestos-containing materials in your home, call now! 416-479-9211