Asbestos in your house

Source: Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety

What should I do if I think I have asbestos in my home?

According to Health Canada:

"If the asbestos fibers are confined or sealed in a product, such as a wall covering or floor covering, there is no significant risk to health. These products are very dense and do not release significant amounts of fibers under normal use. However, fibers may be released if these products are cut or damaged.

If you are planning renovations and that your home contains construction materials such as insulation, exterior siding, floor tiles and ceiling, or others that may contain asbestos, it is recommended entrust the work to a specialist asbestos. It can perform the necessary tests and perform renovations more safely. "

Taken and adapted from Health Canada website - Asbestos.

Where in the house can you find asbestos?

It is impossible to determine whether a product contains asbestos simply by observation. The only way to check is to have it tested in the laboratory.

Asbestos there is always a danger?

No, not always. Products in good condition (not damaged, etc..) Can not be free of fibers. If a material shows signs of damage such as tears, cracks or damage caused by water, call in a consultant. Do not touch the material at the time of examination, as you may release fibers into the air unintentionally.

Asbestos fibers can be suspended in the air in a house in the following situations:

  • Moving a loose vermiculite insulation may contain asbestos;
  • Removal of roofing shingles deteriorating and siding containing asbestos, asphalt felt or handling asbestos;
  • Removal of old asbestos insulation around the water heater;
  • Grinding or pickling tile flooring vinyl asbestos;
  • Rupture of acoustic ceiling tiles containing asbestos;
  • Sanding of a coating containing asbestos or sanding or acoustic coating which gives walls and ceilings a slightly textured appearance displacement;
  • Sanding or stripping old asbestos coatings based on water as membranes for roofing, plaster patching, sealing coatings, paint or putty, caulking or drywall;
  • Size, drilling or smoothing rough edges of new or old asbestos materials. (Adapted from the website of the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation)

Can I remove asbestos from my home by myself?

No, do not do it. The asbestos fibers can easily be suspended in the air, creating a risk of serious illness if proper precautions are not taken.

If you suspect the presence of asbestos-containing material, the material must be analyzes before renovations can take place. If asbestos is present, the appropriate procedures must be followed before the material can not be moved (or cut off).

In many areas, strict regulation is applied to define the procedures to follow when working with different types of asbestos. Even if the work must be carried out, these requirements must be met.

For example, in Ontario, any worker who must be involved in asbestos removal work must have received the required training. If the worker involved in asbestos removal operations of type 3, it must have received the necessary training, approved by the Ministry of Education, colleges and universities.

Can I paint or encapsulate asbestos myself?

It is not recommended to paint products containing asbestos. The insulating paint (eg. When applied around the pipe) is not a method of encapsulation. The paint can seal the product to some extent, but it can not prevent the insulation from becoming brittle (to break into small pieces).

In addition, the "act" of painting or trying to encapsulate asbestos by other methods may loosen some asbestos fibers, which can then be suspended in the air.

In case of concerns related to products containing asbestos, it is recommended that these products be removed safely or encapsulated by a professional contractor.

What should I do?

It is better to use the services of a professional contractor or a consultant who is familiar with asbestos removal. At the time of hiring, confirm with the professional that he is qualified and holds an insurance policy covering the type of asbestos work to be performed.

The person you hire should explain the specific steps required to prepare the work area to ensure that:

  • dust is limited;
  • clothing and appropriate personal protective equipment are used;
  • the work area is cleaned and waste is properly disposed of.

Does CCOHS provide contract services for asbestos removal?

Not. CCOHS does not provide services related to the analysis, identification or asbestos removal.

CCOHS does not have and does not maintain a list of contractors asbestos removal. Please check the Yellow Pages of your phone book or on the web to find a contractor in your area. At the time of hiring, confirm with the contractor that it is qualified and holds an insurance policy covering the type of asbestos work to be performed.