The term “asbestos” refers to a group of naturally occurring fibrous minerals that were used to insulate commercial and industrial buildings. They were common construction materials between 1950s and in the 1970s in the Edmonton area. This was due to their superior flame retardant and non-combustible properties. Furthermore, they are versatile and strong materials, thus, they were used to fortify piping systems, cement, plastics and other construction materials.
However, in the modern Canadian construction industry this material is no longer used for either residential or industrial complexes. In fact, it is a regulated and designated substance. This is due to a number of health complications, it is associated with. Since it is a lightweight material, it can be absorbed into the body, thereby causing a number of respiratory illness and cancer. Studies conducted on prolonged exposure have indicated that it is associated with lung cancer, mesothelioma, fatal scarring of the lungs and sick building syndrome.
The current state of asbestos in Edmonton, Alberta
The numerous tests and research conducted in the recent few months indicate that asbestos is still prevalent in industrial complexes in Edmonton. It is a fact that we can’t deny at all cost. For instance, a number of industrial complexes were constructed either before or in the mid-1980s. This was a time when this was the primary material used for insulation. As a matter of fact, its prevalence has been the main reason for the high demand for companies providing asbestos testing.
There are a number of signs that your industrial complex could have asbestos and these include:
1. A vinyl tile with distinct white spots
2. “The popcorn” ceiling constructed over 25yrs ago
3. Vermiculite insulation
4. Pipes with white wrapping at the basement
The good thing about this problem is that, there are a number of certified companies that have specialized in asbestos inspection, laboratory testing and removal. This test aims at identifying the presence of asbestos in the industrial complexes.
The asbestos removal companies will examine the suspicious sections or materials. Thereafter, thorough laboratory tests are conducted to validate the speculations. The presence of these fibers is difficult to detect via visual inspection.
Normally, the asbestos tests and inspections may first focus on the in-house air analysis to detect any airborne asbestos. The companies employ a number of testing techniques and mechanisms that may include The Fiber Counting (NIOSH 7400) or The Polarized Light Microscopy (NIOSH 9002).
In the province of Alberta, this is one of those industries that is highly regulated to ensure the removal and accurate testing of all suspicious materials. Only companies that are licensed and certified are allowed to conduct these procedures. This is because these fibers are considered highly hazardous so their removal should be controlled.
It is important to hire a company with the right asbestos testing and analyzing equipment. For this reason, you need to validate the company experience based on their previous work. If possible, they should be members of professional bodies such as the Alberta Government Certified Technicians and Procedures or the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certifications Recipient.