These fibers build up in the lungs over time and cause lacerations that irritate and scar the lung tissue liner. It comes down to frequent small exposures that prompt health conditions such as lung cancer and mesothelioma.
In 1898, the Chief Inspector of Factories in Britain reported on asbestos, “as easily demonstrated health risks.” Asbestos related health issues took time to build up and even more time for officials to compile researchable data. In 2005, asbestos was declared a designated substance by OSACH (Ontario Safety Association for Community and Healthcare) due to health risks. Regulation 873 and O. Reg. 278/05 addressed air sampling, control program requirements, protective equipment used, training, and three levels of usage (being manual, tools with vacuums, and tools without). The 2007 amendment addressed more defined handling, training, and regulations for work sites.
It is a property owner’s responsibility to have his or her properties checked and follow appropriate steps based on results for asbestos. The current law states that if you are a business owner or property manager, you can be found criminally liable if you fail to follow asbestos regulations. As for individual homeowners, if your home was built after 1980, it is wise to have your home checked. Removal of asbestos needs to be done by trained professionals. There is regulated equipment, permits, and inspections that will be done throughout the process.
The process starts with an examination and testing of several points. Air samples will be taken to determine the levels presently on the premises. Other samples of several known products that might contain asbestos may also be taken. The list is quite extensive and ranges from drywall and joint compounds, plaster, mud and texture coats, vinyl floor tiles, roofing tar, siding, shingles, countertops, pipes, insulation, and fireproofing.
If it comes to needing to remove asbestos, the licensed professional will seal off portions of affected areas. Anyone who normally uses the area will need to use an alternate location during the removal. The seals are placed to prevent the fibers from becoming airborne and contaminating other areas and posing a health risk to others. Actual removal will be determined by the products that are being removed. Vacuums with certified filters will be a large part of project and will be on power tools and area filtration. Some cases where vacuums are not viable will be soaked. There are guidelines for removal and disposal will be known by the licensed worker.
In some cases, properly mandated abating will be an option. Proper encapsulation is an option because it is the airborne fibers from disturbed or deteriorating objects that present harm to an individual’s health. If the asbestos product is stable and without deterioration, such as a bearing aspect of a building, simple prevention of airborne particles in the future is more effective.
Asbestos products provided an excellent source of fire resistance with the added bonuses of flexibility and durability. The resistance aspects provided comfort in its time but time has also shown the danger of excess. It is now known the more time spent exposed, the higher the risk you have. If you suspect asbestos, you should have it professionally tested.