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What is Asbestos

Asbestos; chances are you've heard of peoples asbestos horror stories, the health risks and that it's a major cause of cancer. What is asbestos really? There’s more to it than you may think, we’ll go over what it is and where it comes from.

What is Asbestos

Asbestos is a thin, fibrous, naturally-occurring silicate mineral. There are 6 types, they consist of long, soft, thin, flexible, fibrous crystals. These fibers can be broken down and manipulated into different products. These fibers contain many microscopic fibrils that can be released into the atmosphere.

Where Does Asbestos Come From

Asbestos is mined from the earth, it is found in large deposits or as a contaminant in other minerals. For this reason, the mining of other minerals is regulated and tested. Asbestos is found all throughout the earth; it was mainly mined in Russia, China, Kazakhstan and was once mined in North America. Asbestos is actually found in our air and water in minute amounts that are not enough to be harmful.

The Types of Asbestos

There are 6 types of asbestos, they are categorized into 2 categories;

Serpentine Asbestos

  • Chrysotile – A white asbestos, the most commonly used variety

Amphibole Asbestos

  • Amosite – A brown asbestos, typically used in cement sheets and pipe insulation

  • Crocidolite – This is considered blue asbestos, used to insulate steam engines

  • Anthophyllite – Grey, green, white. Used for insulation and construction materials

  • Tremolite & Actinolite – Variety of colours. Not typically used however found mixed in with other varieties of asbestos

Why Was it Used in Building Materials

Asbestos fibers are easy to break down and manipulate into building products. They were used for their fire/electricity/heat resistant, insulating, corrosion resistance and sound absorption properties. These qualities made it a desirable material to use in a wide variety of building materials.

Asbestos Removal & Abatement Winnipeg

Is it Still Used Today?

Asbestos is regulated heavily in North America. It’s mainly used in rail cart brake pads as they still haven’t invented a better way to make the pads. It is still used in hundreds of consumer products however the content cannot exceed 1% of the product and use is heavily regulated.

Why it’s Hazardous

Asbestos is a leading cause of death among workers in Manitoba. Asbestos consists of thin microscopic fibers. They are very light weight and once the fibers in building products are disturbed, (by cutting, damage, vibration, moving) they float around in the air for hours even days. These fibers attach to your clothing, surfaces in the building, and when they reach the lungs is when the issues begin. The fibers irritate the lung tissue, can cause inflammation and form scaring on the lining of the lungs. Once asbestos enters the lungs, it never leaves. Eventually over the years, the asbestos causes cancer, disease or mesothelioma (a cancer of the membrane covering the lungs, it makes breathing very difficult). These issues are created faster and are more severe if the person smokes or has a pre-existing lung condition.

It is not uncommon for a worker to come home with asbestos fibers on their clothing. Once home, their family inhales the fibers and they’re the ones who develop cancer or mesothelioma.

Why Hire Someone to Complete the work

The safe removal of asbestos containing materials requires following a specific strict set of government regulations for abatement. We are required to set up a proper containment of each area and require regular air testing to be completed. There are many safety procedures, protocols and regulations to follow in order to complete the safe removal. Failure to do so can result in contaminating the entire building, potentially causing cancer among the occupants.

If you think you may have asbestos present, contact a local abatement specialist. If you live in Winnipeg, MB Canada; we can help! Call us Today! or Click HERE to contact us

If you have any questions or concerns, you can comment below, we’ll try respond as soon as we can.

Q: Have you experienced the asbestos abatement process? What were your concerns?

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