SPECIAL INDUSTRIAL SAFETY equipment — not found at the local hardware store — must be worn whenever working in an area where asbestos-containing building products have been used.

First clean, then go green

Asbestos a serious hazard that home renovators should be aware of

  • Sep. 18, 2013 5:00 p.m.

Terri Perrin

Special to the Record

When it comes to exterior and landscaping renovations, most homeowners are familiar with the phrase ‘Dial before you dig.’

This warning is to protect you — and the underground utilities — from damage. But not everyone is aware of the dangers that may be found inside of homes constructed and/or renovated prior to 1991.

The hidden danger is asbestos, a fibre that was widely used in gypsum board, drywall mud, vinyl flooring, pipe wrap, vermiculite insulation, textured ceilings, stucco and other building products.

So small that it can’t be seen with the naked eye, asbestos fibres are now recognized as the ‘Hidden Hazard’ and is the No. 1 occupational killer in B.C.

“Asbestos is such a serious concern that I would like property owners to remember a new phrase: Investigate and remediate, then renovate!” warns Roy Piper, owner of Home SOULutions Remediation.

“For any home built prior to 1991, the first step in any renovation — large or small — should be to contract a professional to test for the presence of asbestos. If the product is found, STOP your renovation!

‘Do not make any attempts to remove the product yourself … it is dangerous business that requires complete containment, professional removal and hazardous transportation to the landfill.

“If, for example, you are ripping up a floor and there are several layers of linoleum, chances are good that one or more of those layers contains asbestos,” says Piper.

“If left completely undisturbed, the presence of asbestos is not a risk. But one you start pealing back those layers of lino, the tiny asbestos fibres become airborne. Exposure can result in lung and mesothelioma cancers.”

“Home SOULutions Remediation staff are experts in asbestos, mould and lead paint remediation and your family’s health is our priority,” adds Comox Valley representative, Sue Johnston.

“With one simple call we can help property owners identify areas of concern, connect them with a qualified environmental engineer for testing, provide sound advice and recommend a 100-per-cent safe remediation [removal] process that adheres to WorkSafe BC’s standards.

“It is exciting to see all of the new products that people can use to make their homes more environmentally friendly and energy-efficient,” concludes Johnston. “But, I can’t stress enough how important it is to remember that before your home can be ‘Green’ it has to be ‘clean.’

“Error on the side of caution to ensure your home is free of asbestos and other hazardous contaminants, such as mould and lead paint, before you commence any renovations.”

For more information, visit www.HomeSOUutions.ca of call 250-334-8108.

 

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