What is asbestos?
Asbestos is a fibrous material that was used in many building materials as acoustic insulation, a fire-resistant material, a binder in other products such as roofing material, and was also used as thermal insulation.
So, what’s the big deal?
Well, asbestos are microscopic fibres that can cause cancer and other types of respiratory diseases, if there is long term exposure. The fibres are so small that if they are released into the air, they will remain in the air for days. These fibres are too small to be captured by the furnace filter or conventional vacuums.
Asbestos is only dangerous to us when it is frayed. For example, if the material containing asbestos is broken, has ragged edges, or is otherwise in a poor state where the fibres may be released into the air. In most cases, materials containing asbestos aren’t easy to fray. In older homes, it’s important to take asbestos into consideration when renovating or remodelling.
What does it look like?
Asbestos can only be identified by laboratory testing. This means, that when it comes to a home inspection, it is beyond the scope.
What do you do about it?
In most cases, where there is no damage to the asbestos material, doing nothing is the best way to handle it.
Where there’s a risk of the fibres being exposed to the home, the area should be sealed off including vents to the rest of the home. Removing the material, should there be a significant hazard – becomes costly.
Can I remove asbestos myself?
If you suspect that you have asbestos in your home, have a professional remove it. Removal of asbestos must be done in accordance with guidelines set out by the Provincial Ministries of Labour and the Occupational Health and Safety Division in Canada.