If you’re one of the many homeowners undertaking a spring project, consider the following: Renovations can be a disruptive activity and it’s important to be aware of what it is you’re disrupting. Some projects create a mess of dirt and debris, and while some create, or rather expose, more dangerous substances – Asbestos!
Prior to the mid-1980s, asbestos was commonly used in many household items like flooring, insulation, and around pipes. Asbestos minerals tend to separate into microscopic particles that become airborne and are easily inhaled. As long as it is undisturbed, neither the asbestos fibers nor the dust will be released into the air. However, when it is disturbed, it becomes dangerous. Exposure to asbestos can cause individuals to develop several types of life-threatening diseases, including lung cancer. Like any hazards, length and intensity of exposure are major factors in the risk of asbestos-related respiratory illness.
If the renovations that you’re doing involve areas or items that may contain asbestos, it’s important to have an asbestos inspection performed. An asbestos inspection includes:
- A complete visual inspection of the entire home for materials suspected to contain asbestos
- A sampling of materials that are suspected to contain asbestos – according to O. Reg. 278/05
- A report summarizing the results of the sampling and investigation
If there are materials that contain asbestos which are going to be damaged, disturbed or removed by the renovation, the safest approach is to have the materials removed by a qualified contractor.
Think this is a Do It Yourself project? Think again! Disposable respirators or dust masks are not appropriate or sufficient for asbestos –
Always hire a professional. Never do this work on your own!
From Carson & Dunlop – Home Inspectors