Between the 1930’s and 1990’s various forms of asbestos were commonly used in building materials for homes. The fibrous chemical was used in materials to help with durability, heat-resistance and insulation. Not until 1990 did the government ban the use of these substances due to the health risks associated with it.

Prior to 1990, homes were built with some form of asbestos. Asbestos was used in products like:

  • 9x9 vinyl tiles (peel & stick)

  • pipe insulation

  • acoustic ceiling tiles

  • plaster walls & ceilings

You don’t need to worry if you have any of these materials in your home.  The substance is only harmful if disturbed. When removing the material(s), the fibrous substance of asbestos will become airborne, with large volumes in the air, it will get trapped in your lunges. Over exposure to asbestos will cause difficulty in breathing and can lead to lung cancer.

If preparing for a renovation, the first step is to gather an asbestos report from an accredited laboratory. Asbestos cannot be visually identified because the mineral fibers are mixed with other substances, therefore one must acquire a small sample of each material and send it to the laboratory to determine the type of abatement required.

Once the test is complete, the lab will provide a report based on the type of removal required; Type 1 may be removed and discarded along with the remaining building materials.  Type 2+ having high levels of asbestos, will require a professional abatement team to remove and dispose of the hazardous materials.

If you’re interested in knowing more, you may contact Toronto Health Connection (416-338-7600 | publichealth@toronto.ca) for more information or advice on the substance.

Stephanie Haddad