Health Risks of Neglecting Asbestos in Vancouver

If you’re in the process of buying a home or commercial property, the last thing you want to hear or read from the building inspection is the word, “Asbestos.” Most of us know that it’s dangerous and that it needs to be removed – but we don’t know much about asbestos itself. How did it get into our buildings and why is asbestos testing for Vancouver’s older buildings necessary?

A Brief History

Asbestos is actually a name given to a number of different minerals that can be teased into fluffy fibres that are resistant to heat, chemicals and electricity. From the Industrial Revolution to the 1990s, asbestos was commonly incorporated into materials ranging from textiles to automotive components as a safety feature. What happened to change that view?

In 1918, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics discovered unusually high rates of early death among asbestos workers. More than a decade later, in 1930, Dr. Edward Merewether found that a significant number of workers who had worked in the British asbestos industry were suffering from symptoms ranging from shortness of breath to persistent cough and chest pain. Many years later, researchers also established that asbestos exposure is the primary cause of a deadly form of cancer called mesothelioma.

Symptoms Appear Years after Exposure
While regulations were put into place to protect asbestos workers, it was not recognized that people exposed to asbestos fibres from the materials around them were also at risk of:
• Asbestosis, caused by breathing in asbestos fibres that severely scar the lungs and cause difficulty in breathing
• Mesothelioma, a malignant and aggressive cancer of the lining around the lungs and abdomen
• Lung cancer, especially if asbestos exposure was combined with smoking

Why did it take so long to recognize the dangers of asbestos? Part of the problem is that symptoms may not show themselves until years after exposure occurs. The other is that asbestos is incorporated into so many materials that people did not know if and when they had been exposed to asbestos.

It was not until 1992 that the use of asbestos in construction materials was banned in Canada. If your home, office or industrial facility was built before that time, chances are that construction materials made with asbestos were used. Experts say that if the materials are in good condition and the asbestos is well-contained and enclosed, you probably have a low risk of exposure to dangerous asbestos fibres. The problem is that all materials age and deteriorate. This is why you should have professional asbestos testing of your Vancouver fixer-upper done before you move.

Are You at Risk of Exposure?
Many people don’t know they have asbestos in their home or commercial facility until they begin doing upgrades or renovations. If you are breaking up walls, floor tiles ceiling tiles or insulation in an older home, you greatly increase the risk of releasing asbestos fibres into your environment. Before you begin, call Ace Environmental Services for timely asbestos abatement in the Vancouver area. Our experienced team will do a thorough inspection of:
• Insulation
• Drywall
• Plaster
• Ceiling and floor tiles
• Siding
• Roofing
• Pipes

If any of these materials are damaged by age or likely to be affected by your renovation, we recommend asbestos removal by your Vancouver asbestos experts at Ace Environmental Services.

Asbestos Abatement for Vancouver Homes and Businesses
Asbestos abatement is a complete program of asbestos testing, asbestos removal using specialized equipment and following strict regulations, encapsulation of remaining materials containing asbestos, and disposal. When you need asbestos abatement in Vancouver, call Ace Environmental Services. With more than 10 years’ experience in the industry, we have performed asbestos abatement on hundreds of homes, offices and public buildings in the area. Let us help you protect the health of your family and employees.

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