Why It’s Important to Know What Asbestos is and How to Deal With It

Written by Empire Health & Safety 

Asbestos is a mineral that is naturally occurring in many areas of the world. It was used up until the mid 1980’s in Canada in regards to residential building materials. It was easy to work with, had fireproof properties, and was a great insulator. However, it has been classified by the International Association for Research on Cancer (IARC) as a Group 1 (Carcinogenic to humans). While Canada no longer exports asbestos, it is interesting to note that it continues to allow the import of products including cement pipes and brake pads that contain asbestos.

Photo credit: Billbeee at en.wikipedia

Photo credit: Billbeee at en.wikipedia

When and Where?

If you live in a home that was built prior to 1980 and it has original building materials, chances are it could contain asbestos. Ceiling stipple, drywall joint compound, flooring, attic insulation, and exterior stucco are just some of the materials that contained asbestos, not just in residential structures, but commercial and industrial as well. Within commercial and industrial structures, along with the previously mentioned materials, things like boilers, and all of the associated insulated piping contained asbestos at one time.

Ignorance is No Longer Acceptable

While there are many contractors and responsible homeowners that test materials for the presence of asbestos prior to a renovation or demolition project, unfortunately there are many that do not. Of these there are many people that know very little about asbestos, or even anything at all. Either way, the result is the potential release of asbestos and exposure to unprotected workers and family members, including children. With all of the literature and awareness out there already, there is no longer an excuse for ‘accidental release’ where a contractor or homeowner impacts a building material without getting it tested.

Expert Identification and Testing

The staff at Empire Health & Safety in Calgary have collected thousands of samples over the ten plus years working within the asbestos identification and removal industry. We are a third party, independent consulting company providing professional testing and identification services. While we don’t actually remove asbestos, we have built relationships over the years with trusted asbestos abatement companies that perform the removal of asbestos-containing materials following industry standard procedures that many companies that provide ‘professional abatement services’ do not.  We also provide third party air monitoring and inspection services during asbestos abatement projects.


Danger Asbestos Warning SignWe believe that knowledge is power, especially when it comes to all things asbestos. We truly want to promote education within the industry to help ensure the health of people isn’t compromised due to the very preventable consequence of asbestos exposure. Please call us at 403.612.3366 if there is anything you would like to know about asbestos. We are always willing to discuss any concerns or questions regarding what materials may contain it, how it is removed, or what to do if you think you or someone you know may be working or living in an environment that may be hazardous to your health.

Learn more about Empire Health & Safety.

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