What is Asbestos?

What is Asbestos?


The word "asbestos" comes from the ancient Greek, meaning "inextinguishable". It refers to a group of naturally occurring minerals once used widely in the construction industry. its strength insulation properties, ability to withstand high temperatures, and resistance to many chemicals made asbestos useful in hundreds of application in the construction industry. 

Types of Asbestos.


There are two general categories of asbestos. One is call 'Serpentine' (which has long and flexible fibres) and the second one is called 'Amphibole' (which is britle and has sharp fibres). There are six types of asbestos generally recognized as: Actinolite, Amosite, Crocidolite, Chrysotile, Tremolite . 

It is then classified into 3 Types of operations. Type 1, Type 2, Type 3. Think of Types 1,2, and 3 as describing low-medium, and high-risk work. 

TDG (Transportation of Dangerous Goods)


TDG? TDG is Transportation of Dangerous Goods. Yes that's right. Asbestos is considered a Dangerous Goods. The Transportartion of Dangerous Goods Act is of asbestos-containing waste from the site of the asbestos abatement project to the landfill is regulated by the Transportation of Dangerous Goods (TDG) Regulation and requires that. The contractor transportating asbestos waste must have correct 'TDG placarding on vehicles'. Manifest form. Friable asbestos waste is transported only in vehicles equipped with emergency spill clean-up equipment. 



When getting ready to dispose. It is important to ask your local Waste Management if they allow asbestos waste on site. Some may say no! The disposal of asbestos is strictly regulated by the Environment Protection Act. Asbestos waste must be disposed of at a landfill specifically approved and equipped to handle asbestos waste. 

Where did it come from?


Asbestos minerals come from types of rock. Metamorphic rocks can be found 12-16 km down from the earths' surface.  Where high temperature, pressure and chemical alterations cause transformation of pre-existing rocks into another type of rock. The minerals inside the rock are refferred to as asbestos.  



Major use of asbestos products in construction began in the 1930's and escalated during the post-war building boom. During the 1950's and up to 1970's approximately 30-80 thousand tons were used annually in Canada.  In the early 1970's the use of such products in Canada declined sharply because of the increasing concern over the health effects of asbestos. In the mid-1970's specific prohibition and the availability of safer substitutes put and end to the use of many asbestos products. But the early widespread use of asbestos has left a potentially dangerous legacy. The thousands of tons of asbestos installed can pose serious risk to workers in the renovation, maintenance, repair and demolition sectors of the constructioni indusrty. 

Health Risks.


The person exposed to asbestos may feel no ill effects at the time of exposure. The time period between exposure to asbestos fibres and the development of disease can range from 15-55 years. This is known as the 'latency period'.  What causes asbestos-related diseases is the inhalation of the airborne asbestos fibres that you cannot see. Inhalation of the asbestos fibres has been shown to cause several types of diseases. Some are 'Mesothelioma' (cancer of the lining of the chest and/or the abdomen). Lung cancer. Asbestosis. Along with other illnesses. 

Are You Certified?


Are you certified to be working with asbestos? No? Stay away! There are special procedures and rules to follow before tackling any asbestos removal. 

 Because of the danger asbestos can cause, and the complexity of safely testing and removing contaminated materials, it is extremely important to involve certified professionals when asbestos is present. Technicians are certified to deal with low to high risk asbestos abatement.  Level 1 and 2  certified are permitted to remove 4'x4' section. That's only 16 square feet. Level 3 are permitted for larger scale removals. 

Cigarette Smokers Have It Worst!


Cigarette smoking is another cause of lung cancer. If you're exposed to asbestos and you do smoke, the risk then multiplies. Cigarette smoking and asbestos combine to produce a synergistic effect. Synergistic means the two combined together will get more accomplished than they could alone. Where one increases the others effectiveness. 



If you or know anyone that has been exposed to asbestos we strongly suggest to go see a Doctor.  In some cases, supplemental Oxygen is required. Due to the accumulating damage caused by asbestos fibers, asbestosis and asbestos pleural disease are slowly progressive asbestos diseases. They may be treated, but not cured. 

Get Tested!


It is the law to identify how much asbestos and its location before starting any removal. If proper documentation, steps and procedures are not followed the outcome can be devastating! Either huge fines and/or prison time. 

* Please note that this is NOT an online course, this is to ONLY to educate the public on the subject of asbestos*