While it’s common knowledge that asbestos has long been banned for use in Canada, its presence poses a myriad of health and safety risks, and there’s more to this substance than meets the eye. Today, let’s explore some interesting, if unnerving, aspects of asbestos that aren’t as widely known. Don’t forget to reach out to us for a thorough inspection if your home is older than 1986 and you are planning a home improvement project – take no chances!
Two Mineral Families
Asbestos is technically a mineral, but there are two specific families a type can belong to. The first, serpentine asbestos, was the most widely used back in the day, so it’s the one found most often when identifying and removing the material from homes and businesses. Chrysotile is the only type of serpentine asbestos, using curlier, sheet-like compositions of fibers. The other type, amphibole asbestos, is far more dangerous as it takes far less of an exposure to present serious health and safety risks. This is attributed in part to its needle-like fibers, which are easier to inhale. Amosite, anthophyllite and crocidolite, some of the riskiest forms of asbestos out there, belong to this family.
Regardless of the type of asbestos you have, if present, never attempt to remove it yourself. Always call in a professional with the right equipment and expertise to minimize the risk.
Dozens of Use Cases
There’s a misconception that asbestos was only really used in insulation and fireproofing, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. While it wasn’t fully banned in Canada until 2018, manufacturing itself was stopped in 1979. Over the decades, thanks to the variety of asbestos types and manufacturing uses, the substance has been incorporated into a wide variety of products and materials. Here are just a few examples of where asbestos is commonly found even today:
- Ceiling tiles
- Pipe insulation
- Fireproofing and insulation
- Cement mixes
- Vinyl tiles
Asbestos was Mined
It’s hard to believe that individuals actually dug into the ground and mined asbestos, but it’s true! It’s a substance naturally present underground in some areas as a series of fibrous crystals. These were extracted for use in manufacturing various products and construction materials as its carcinogenic nature wasn’t understood back then.
Some Symptoms of Exposure Take Decades to Develop
All asbestos is bad for your health but, depending on the type and exposure level over time, it can take upwards of several years – if not longer – for serious symptoms to appear. Examples include various cancers and respiratory complications. Of course, more dangerous forms of asbestos such as crocidolite won’t take anywhere near as long to put your health and safety at risk, which is why a professional air quality and asbestos inspection is crucial to identify which types are present in your home or business.
Want to learn more about asbestos or request our inspection services? We’re here to help you and provide information, health and safety guidance, and testing services. Contact us at Indoor Air Quality Ottawa today to get started.