MOULD and ASBESTOS
What Should You Do
People are exposed to mould everyday as it exists outside in the environment. The indoor environment has everything mould spores need to grow (the right temperature, a food source and the spore itself), the only thing missing from the equation is moisture; once moisture is introduced mould will grow indoors. Buildings with an abundance of moisture can encourage the growth of mould. Water intrusions from an outdoor or indoor source need to be cleaned up and dried out within 48 hrs. After such time elapses growth can occur and as long as the area is moist or enough moisture is in the air growth will continue.
There are many different species of mould, so it would be difficult to attribute any particular signs to mould exposure. So if you have had moisture issues in the recent past that may not have been addressed quickly it is possible that mould may be causing some issues. Consult a professional to perform an assessment if you suspect you have a mould issue.
Symptoms such as skin irritation or rashes; dry hacking cough; nose, eye or throat irritation; nasal or sinus congestion; and wheezing or difficulty breathing are common health issues related to mould exposure. Always consult a physician if you have any symptoms.
Exposure to moulds happens on a daily basis, both indoors and outdoors, usually without causing any adverse health effects. Mould may grow indoors if there is ample moisture and a food source such as organic building materials (drywall, carpet, and wood). The more an individual is exposed to mould, the higher the health risks. People who spend extended periods of time in an indoor setting with mould will likely experience irritant or allergic responses. Health effects are dependent upon the type of mould and each individual’s susceptibility. Those persons with an underdeveloped immune system (such as young children) or a weakened immune system (such as the elderly or persons with other serious health issues) may experience more severe symptoms. Please feel free to contact the friendly staff at ASE Services if you have any questions and again if this is of a concern to you please consult a doctor.
What You Need to Know
Asbestos is a group of naturally occurring mineral (rock) fibres. There are two groups of asbestos rocks; serpentine and amphibole. The serpentine group contains only one asbestos rock the Chrysotile rock and the amphibole which contains several different types with only two being notable, Amosite and Crocidolite. During the most popular time period for asbestos use (between 1940-mid 1970’s) several large mines were operating in North America the largest of which was located in Quebec, Canada. This made access to the asbestos fibre relative easy and inexpensive. Because of this, asbestos fibre was placed into thousands of building related products (from window caulking, to roofing materials, to flooring, walls and ceilings to mechanical and electrical products and beyond). Asbestos was placed into so many different products because it had several beneficial properties such as:
• Burn resistant, even at high temperatures
• Strong but flexible
• Insulator of noise and electricity
• Resistant to chemical corrosion
• Resistant to biological growth
Asbestos is now a highly restricted product and currently cannot be used in most materials due to its ability to cause harm when inhaled. This occurs when the products that contain asbestos are disturbed without the proper control measures. The asbestos fibre is extremely tiny (it can only be seen with a microscope) and therefore is easily inhaled deep into the lungs. Once in the lungs scarring occurs and repeated unprotected exposure can lead to an asbestos related disease. Three main diseases exist; Asbestosis, Asbestos induced lung cancer and Mesothelioma. All three diseases are fatal.
It is because of this risk of exposure to asbestos it is highly recommended that all building materials be assessed for the presence of asbestos and if found be properly addressed during the course of any maintenance, renovation or demolition. Please contact the friendly staff at ASE Services to find out more about we can help.
Am I safe to be in my house or workplace if there is asbestos?
It is always a good idea to hire a professional, such as ASE Services, to perform an asbestos assessment especially if your home was built prior to the 1990’s and certainly prior to beginning any renovations. Exposure to asbestos is dependent on several factors: such as Friability, asbestos content, location of the material etc. However the potential for exposure is dependent highly on the condition of the material. It is important to know if you have asbestos in your home or workplace and if it is identified it can be managed in place without causing any adverse health effects to the building occupants. This happens often in older buildings when it is not feasible or practical to remove the material. Most often asbestos is addressed during the course of maintenance, renovation or demolition activities. Please feel free to contact ASE Services if you have any questions or concerns about asbestos in your home or workplace.
How can I tell if I have asbestos in my home or workplace?
Asbestos fibres are extremely tiny and invisible to the naked eye. However, there are several products which contain asbestos and are recognizable to professionals through the use of specialized equipment (such as a microscope). Knowing what building materials to test and how to collect the appropriate sample size are the first steps in identifying asbestos containing materials. If you suspect that the building materials in your home or workplace may contain asbestos contact the knowledgeable staff at ASE Services who would be happy to assist you. A “rule of thumb” in our industry is that you should suspect all building materials installed prior to 1990.