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Written January 1 2021
Many people panic when they hear the word asbestos, and understandably so. But with a little more information, we may be able to put your mind at ease, regarding this topic.
If you own a home built prior to 1990 and are having renovations done, it would be wise to test the materials you will be working with.
So you see, asbestos was widely used in the industry as it was cheap to mine and widely available both as an insulator and as an affordable filler to many products. We won’t go into the history of the product in this article. We’ll try to keep things as current as possible here.
When do you test for asbestos?
Testing should be performed prior to work commencement. Asbestos is dangerous only when airborne. It is important to have everything tested so that you don’t put your contractor or family at risk.
We’ve received calls from people who demolished an entire wall with family members, then tried to hire a contractor to come finish it up. The health conscious contractors will ask for an asbestos substance test report. When this comes back positive, these people feel terrible for exposing their family members to this and now need to plan for an expensive remediation procedure that wasn’t in the budget. What the caller should be doing is evacuating the home. Even if they’ve already breather all that in during demolition. It is constant exposure that causes lung conditions.
There are 2 ways you can get this service. One is to hire an environmental services firm. The other is to hire an asbestos removal contractor, such as PatchBoyz.
oWhat is the difference?
An environmental firm will charge you full price for the service, whereas a contractor, hoping to work with you on the removal of the potential asbestos, will often give you a better price on this test. There is also the argument that a contractor may lie in order to get the job, and while this has surely happened somewhere, most companies will deliver the lab report to you where you would be able to call and confirm the results as long as the contractor informed that lab to release information to you.
It goes without saying that if you don’t trust your contractor, it’s probably best to not have him do any work for you, let alone the asbestos test.
Whomever you call to take the sample, will come over and follow the same steps, more or less. Some contractors may follow the regulations, some may not, and others go over and above the regulations in order to protect themselves and their staff as best possible.
Collecting an asbestos sample is usually considered a type 1 removal, which according to the Ontario Regulation, doesn’t even require a mask. Now if you’re taking samples every day as part of your job, you’d be quite silly not to wear a mask, but we’ve seen all kind of silly over the years.
It is recommended that you turn off your ventilation system while you’re collecting a sample. The ventilation system in your home keeps the air flowing. You certainly don’t want to be recirculating potentially containing asbestos dust throughout your home.
Once we’ve collected the sample, we’ll be wiping down with a wet cloth if appropriate. It would be a bad idea for you to do a second pass over the walls and floors with a damp paper towel. This is an extreme measure, especially if we discover the materials not to contain asbestos. But again, if it does contain, it’s the constant exposure of these asbestos fibres to your lungs that can cause a condition. A condition you certainly don’t want.
All this being said, it’s important to remember that asbestos is harmful to the lungs only. Not to the skin. So as long as you thoroughly wash your hands of any part of your body that may have come into contact with it, you’ll be fine. If any clothes have come into contact with it however, say goodbye.
We hope you’ve found this article informative and not to ominous. We understand it’s a dark topic, but being informed is the best way to stay safe.