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Asbestos: Bulk Sampling

About a century ago, asbestos came into widespread use as a construction material for both residential and industrial buildings. Fire and moisture resistant and nearly indestructible, it’s not hard to see why it was once seen as a ‘miracle’ material.

It was only decades later that the ill effects began to be seen, when workers who’d been exposed to the substance over longer periods of time began to present with symptoms of serious lung disease, including mesothelioma and other lung cancers.

By the 1970’s, it had been largely banned from use in residential construction but with so many older homes still in existence in cities like Toronto, it’s a problem that lingers on decades later. The problem is that its use was so prevalent that it can show up in multiple areas in your home, including:

  • Floor and ceiling tiles
  • Attic insulation
  • Pipe chasing
  • Window sealant
  • Wall panels
  • Textured paints and ceiling treatments

While the material is considered safe if it’s intact, once it deteriorates and begins to crumble, producing fibres which can be inhaled, it becomes dangerous. Much of the time, it is present in a mixture that makes it difficult to detect just by sight.

Bulk Sampling
Bulk sampling
is a procedure used when testing materials that are suspected to contain asbestos. The test determines the type of asbestos that might be present along with how much of it there is in a suspected mixture. From there, decisions can be made to:

  • Remediate the material in question, i.e. to contain or otherwise abate the material to mitigate the threat of inhalable (friable) dust,
  • Manage it as is, which would involve checking it regularly for signs of deterioration, or
  • Remove the asbestos containing material entirely.

How is it done?
Typically we will take a small sample of the suspect material – about the size of a nickel – for laboratory testing. Then we’ll know what we’re dealing with.

It’s very important that the procedure is done by a professional. Cutting into or breaking off even a very small piece creates friable asbestos. It’s also not a cut and dried procedure and it success relies in a large part to the judgement of an experienced professional who is equipped with the appropriate respiratory protection and other protective clothing.

In addition, once the sample has been obtained, the remaining material needs to be left in a condition that’s contained and safe until the test results come in.

That’s where we come in
At ESG, our certified asbestos removal technicians are experienced and equipped to do the job right – for their own safety as well as yours.

Let us give you peace of mind – call the Environmental Services Group for a quote.

In The News:
ESG is now an official supplier of HGTV’s Income Properties!

Environmental Services Group is a cutting edge environmental consulting firm based in Toronto and servicing both the Greater Toronto Area and Ontario. We provide state-of-the-art, industry-leading expertise in remedying environmental hazards such as mold, lead, asbestos and much more. Call 416-575-6111 or visit our website today for a pressure-free initial consultation. You’ll be glad you did!

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