Asbestos Testing and Removal

Asbestos is the generic name for 6 different naturally-occurring fibrous minerals. A “fibre” is defined as a particle that is more than 5 micrometres in length and having a length to width ratio of at least 3:1. Many Canadian regulations further add that a fibre of asbestos must also be less than 3 micrometres wide.

Based on their physical and chemical properties, there are two major groups of asbestos: serpentine and amphibole.

Serpentine: Serpentine fibres are long, flexible and curved. These fibres can be woven together. The main type of serpentine asbestos is chrysotile (white asbestos), which is the main type of asbestos used in manufacturing.

Amphiobole: Amphibole fibres are straight and stiff. These fibres are generally brittle and rod- or needle-shaped, which limits their commercial usefulness. There are 5 sub-types of amphiobole asbestos, including:

  • Crocidolite (blue asbestos)
  • Amosite (brown asbestos)
  • Actinolite
  • Anthophyllite
  • Tremolite

Asbestos is a naturally occurring fibrous material that was a popular building material from the 1950s to 1990s. It was used extensively because it is an insulator, has good fire protection properties, has tensile strength, and is resistant to chemical erosion.

Unfortunately, it’s hard to know if you’re working with asbestos because it is often mixed with other materials. However, if you work in a building built before 1990, it’s likely that at least some parts of the building will contain asbestos.

How to determine if asbestos is in your home and the five kinds.

Many homes built before 1990 contain asbestos in old floor tiles, ceiling tiles, roof shingles, flashing, siding, insulation (around boilers, ducts, pipes, sheeting, fireplaces), pipe cement, and joint compound used on seams between pieces of sheetrock. Some newer homes could also contain asbestos and may also contain vermiculite attic insulation contaminated with asbestos. A visual inspection of your home is usually not sufficient to determine if it contains asbestos, nor do we recommend you trying to deal with a potential asbestos problem yourself. Without the proper abatement procedures, you could expose yourself and/or your family unnecessarily. By calling Platinum Inc., our professionally trained techs are able to come to your home to take samples of suspected asbestos fibers which we will send to a certified laboratory for analysis.

Once a common building material, asbestos is now a serious health hazard. In fact, if your house was built before 1990 then it’s likely you have asbestos in your home. It’s found in everything from drywall to ceiling tiles, and the side effects of inhalation range from scarring of the lungs to cancer.

Asbestos removal requires extreme care, specialized equipment and certified consultants.

Platinum Inc. offers asbestos testing and removal services that adhere to the guidelines of Occupational Health & Safety, WCB, Alberta Health Services and the BC Work Safe Asbestos Removal Guide.

For you and your family’s safety, it’s worth a call.

How A Sample Is Taken

Our Platinum Inc. Project Managers will follow these steps to obtain asbestos sample from your home:

  • It is important to note that samples are destructive in nature. Laboratory testing requires a physical sample of suspected material of about 1” by 1”
  • To take a small sample, we will carefully cut and/or scrape a piece from the entire depth of the material using a small knife, corer, or other sharp object. All effort is made to reduce the impact on the sampled surface/material as much as possible.
  • The area is then typically covered with red tuck tape, not only to seal the area but to visibly mark it for reference when results are returned.

Within 24hrs, Platinum Inc. will have the lab results back whether or not the samples that were taken were containing or not and provide an asbestos lab report to the customer.

Maintenance, Repair and Demolition

  • Before work can begin, the home owner will be asked by Platinum Inc. to fill out and sign a work authorization order. This form includes Insurance/Adjuster information, customers name and information, what type of work will be done by Platinum Inc. and also a deposit of payment would be taken. No work can begin until all the appropriate and legal documentation has been signed, sent back and approved.
  • At the beginning of an asbestos abatement job, any applicable pre-demo is done first. This means taking out non-containing materials in the area to be abated before negative air containment is set up. Fixtures, trim and other related material is typical to be removed at this point.
  • Containment is then set up, along with the install of equipment to provide a negative pressure environment in the area to be abated.
  • Demo/abatement is then conducted, with our personnel in full protective gear as necessary for the work to be done. Active air quality monitoring, as required by Alberta OH&S, will be online throughout the process.
  • Platinum Inc. techs will dispose of all materials, disposable equipment and clothing used in the job in sealed, leak-proofed and labeled heavy-duty plastic bags. The work site should be visually free of dust and debris.
  • Upon completion, Platinum Inc. techs clean the entire area thoroughly with wet mops, wet rags, sponges and HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) vacuum cleaners. After the work is complete, a final air clearance is done to ensure there is only an extremely low (acceptable as defined by the Alberta Health Services) fiber count left in the air.

Disposing of Asbestos-containing Material

Once Platinum Inc. techs have removed the asbestos from the location, regulations dictate that such waste be disposed of in an approved manner; either in special 6 mil plastic bags that have “zip-lock” type fasteners and are sealed with duct tape, or in sealed 55 gallon drums designed for this purpose. The rules and regulations regarding asbestos waste disposal vary according to several factors, including the percentage of actual asbestos and what other chemical and or toxic substances may be present. Platinum Inc. techs will make sure all appropriate documentation is prepared for disposal of the waste.

Asbestos is not usually covered by insurance providers unless it is involved in a water damage or sewage backup claim. Contact your insurance provider for your specific details.

The amount of time needed to remediate an asbestos claim depends on the scale of the loss. Most projects take within a day to a week to complete. However, for large scale projects it can take anywhere from a few weeks to months to complete.

Did you know that it is estimated that over 60% of homes in Calgary have

Asbestos and They don’t even know it?

Look At All The Areas. Asbestos

Might Be Hiding In Your Home

  • Exterior Surfaces
    1. Roof Felt and Shingles
    2. Window Putty
    3. Cement Asbestos Board
      Siding/ Undersheeting
  • Insulation
    1. Vermiculite Insulation
    2. Batt Insulation
  • Flooring
    1. Vinyl Asbestos Flooring Material
  • Interior Surfaces
    1. Sprayed on Ceiling Material
    2. Textured Paint
  • Boiler, Heating & Piping
    1. Heat Source Covering
    2. Door Gaskets
    3. Duct Lining
    4. Wall Gaskets and Lining
  • Electrical Equipment
    1. Recessed Lighting
    2. Wiring Insulation
    3. Fuse Boxes
    4. Outlets
  • Appliances
    1. Refrigerators/Freezers
    2. Range Hoods
    3. Woodstoves (Heat Reflectors)
    4. Clothes Dryers
  • Miscellaneous
    1. Fireplace Logs
  • Automotive
    1. Brake Linings, Gaskets and Clutch Facings.

Asbestos Side Effect & Health Diagram

Nose

Fibers enter the body through the nose and mouth by inhalation or from drinking

 

Esophagus

Cancer can develop from swallowing asbestos fibers

 

Heart

Blood flow to the lungs can be impaired and cause the heart to enlarge or fail

 

Pleural Membrane

When scar tissue forms in the pleural membrane, the tissue is unable to expand and conract. Breathing can become painful or even impossible.

About Canadian Cancer Society

The Canadian Cancer Society’s goal is to provide up-to-date and accurate information that’s easy to read and understand. We’ve been providing Canadians with information about cancer since we were first formed in 1938. Today, we offer information online, in print and by telephone.

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