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History of asbestos

 Asbestos

Introduction to asbestos

Asbestos is a set of naturally occurring minerals that was mined across the world, with Canada’s two mines in Quebec not stopping operation until 2011.

Although the first documented death caused by asbestos exposure occurred in 1906, because of it’s unique properties for soundproofing, strength and fire and heat resistance it was universally used widespread, not being phased out until 1989, although usage continued to fulfill contracts.

There are thousands of asbestos containing materials, from the rare to the common. Many homes built before the late 1990’s may contain asbestos. Therefore before any renovations or demolition is preformed it is important to have any potentially containing materials tested by an air quality expert. Some examples of common containing materials are:

• Drywall and joint compound

• Plaster

• Popcorn Ceilings (stipple)

• Sheet flooring, floor tile and adhesives

• Pipe insulation

• Boiler insulation

• Ceiling insulation

• Spray applied insulation

• Exterior siding/shingles and tar

• Stucco

• Transite paneling, countertops and pipes

Depending on the friability, accessibility and condition of asbestos containing materials there may be a severe health hazard. The inhalation of asbestos fibres may cause serious and fatal diseases most notably cancers, mesothelioma and asbestosis.

Asbestos abatement is heavily regulated and governed by the government, both provincial and federal. Any abatement work should only be performed by trained and competent asbestos abatement personnel.