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Health Hazards of Asbestos


Asbestos is one of those products that, until recently, we could not do without. Until the late 1980s, our society used asbestos in hundreds of applications, including building materials.

Asbestos was used to manufacture roof shingles, roofing felts ("tar paper"), roof patching compounds, exterior siding, interior insulation, ceiling tiles, textured ceiling finishes and paints, wall board and wall finishing compounds, vinyl floor tiles, etc.

Asbestos was used to insulate furnaces, boilers, water pipes and electrical devices. Cement-asbestos pipes were also manufactured.

The problem with asbestos is that it is a fibrous material that was linked to lung scarring and lung cancer in people that worked within the manufacturing industry. Asbestos can only result in health risks when loose fibres are present in the air people breathe. Experts state that a single fibre lodged in the lungs can result in cancer.

Do You Have Asbestos in Your Home?

This has caused a lot of concern with people that own or are thinking of buying older houses, since most houses built before 1987 probably contain asbestos. To put things in perspective, however, it must be stressed that every adult living in an urban environment has been exposed to asbestos fibres, if only from the wearing of asbestos brake linings of automobiles.

Reducing The Risk:

Naturally, there are common sense precautions all homeowners should take. In general, asbestos - containing materials should be left undisturbed and encapsulated or sealed. Where practical it can be removed but this should only be done by qualified professionals who can do it safely.

More Information:

http://www.hiddenkiller.ca/where-is-it-found.asp

www.worksafebc.com/publications/health_and_safety/by_topic/assets/pdf/asbestos_hazards

https://www03.cmhc-schl.gc.ca/catalog/productDetail.cfm?csid=1&cat=16&itm=11&lang=en&fr=1285109399781

This Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) booklet shows when asbestos can be a problem in your home and how to minimize the risks.


DISCLAIMER: Please note that the information and materials located on our web site is provided free, for general information only, and is not intended to provide or be relied upon as specific professional advice. This information represents the current technical facts as understood at the time published, but is in no way comprehensive and you should not act or rely on it regarding your specific situation -- until you have consulted with a qualified home inspector. No liability is accepted therefore for any errors or losses that may be incurred if it is relied on "as is". The use of information posted on these pages does not create a consultant-client relationship.