Caution tape warning asbestos present

All About Asbestos

DF SafetyHealth and Safety Tips, Workplace Safety

As the weather warms up, and spring creeps closer, many people are starting to consider projects, which often means tearing down walls, floors, or other major renovations to their homes. If you are considering a demo, especially if you live in an older home, something to be cognisant of is asbestos. 

What is asbestos? 

According to asbestos.com, asbestos is described as the following: “Asbestos is a carcinogenic mineral. It consists of flexible fibers resistant to heat, electricity, and corrosion. These qualities make the mineral useful in many products. They also contribute to asbestos exposure toxicity.” There are many materials related to construction which contain asbestos including: cloth, paper, cement, plastic, and other materials. Asbestos is extremely toxic and there are dangers when inhaling or ingesting asbestos fibers. Asbestos can lead to life threating diseases such as cancer.  

Types of asbestos 

There are three types of asbestos commonly found in both residential and commercial properties: 

Crocidolite asbestos is the most hazardous and was mostly used to insulate steam engines, in pipe insulation, plastics, and cement products. It has extremely thin fibers and is recognizable by its blue colour. 

Amosite is the second most commonly used and has the highest risk of cancer. Commonly used in cement sheets, pipe insulation, insulation boards, ceiling tiles and thermal insulation products, it is known by its brown colour.  

Chrysotile is the most used. It is found in roofs, ceilings, walls, and floors. It is white in colour and has a layered structure with curly fibers. 

Since asbestos fibers are so light and small, they can be present in the air for an extended amount of time. Also, while asbestos does have certain identifiable features, an analysis is most often required to further detect what type it is, and how it should be safety handled. 

What if you find asbestos? 

Consult a professional. While you may enjoy DIY projects, this is not the time to turn on YouTube and take this on yourself. Professionals can test and evaluate the asbestos and come up with a plan to safety remove it from your home. Companies that are experts in this area have the proper protective gear, respirators, and the equipment required to help filter the air. They will also handle the cleanup and access the situation prior to your return to the home. 

While understanding what you are dealing with is a good first step, it is definitely recommended to consult with professionals when dealing with asbestos in your home or workplace. We have a variety of courses regarding asbestos safety, and if you have any questions please contact our team today!