Inhaled by living organisms, asbestos dust represents one of the primary urban and industrial pollution hazards. It is the object of very strict legislation covering its control or elimination, to the extent of total banning.
The best way to limit the risk of exposure to amphibolic asbestos is to avoid disturbing the vermiculite insulation in any way whatsoever. If the insulation is contained and is absent from the ambient air, the risk is minimal.
If you are worried by the possibility that your house or business may contain vermiculite-based insulation or another source of asbestos ﬁbres, do not hesitate to contact us.
Vermiculite is a mineral similar to mica that is used worldwide. It is lightweight and has good insulating and fire-retardant properties. Bulk vermiculite insulation can be brown, grey and golden in colour and looks like pebbles from 2 to 10 millimetres in diameter.
Source : Division de la sécurité et de l’hygiène du travail, Travail et Immigration Manitoba.
If bulk vermiculite insulation containing asbestos is disturbed, asbestos ﬁbres could be released into the air. The inhalation of asbestos ﬁbres can cause health problems for some people who have been exposed, such as mesothelioma (cancer of the lining of the chest or the abdominal cavity), lung cancer and asbestosis (the formation of scar tissue in the lungs that restricts breathing). As a rule, asbestos—related diseases only appear 15 to 20 years following initial exposure. Certain factors increase the risk of developing a disease, such as the number of airborne ﬁorne and the frequency and length of exposure.
The best way to limit the risk of exposure to asbestos is to avoid disturbing the vermiculite insulation in any way whatsoever. If the insulation is sealed below the floor or in insulating boards or in a concrete wall in the attic, the risk of exposure is lower. In the presence of bulk insulation installed before 1990 and visually identified as vermiculite, it is recommended to take all necessary precautions to avoid the inhalation of asbestos fibres and the contamination of surrounding areas.
The Characterization of Asbestos in Materials
We use the IRSST 244 polarized light microscopy and colour dispersion method of analysis.“Our asbestos department : participates in the ‘BAPAT’ program and is certiﬁed proﬁcient by the AIHA and recommended by the IRSST.”
This method lets us quantify the asbestos in a low percentage and identify the type of asbestos in question.
Fibre Count for Ambient Air
We use the IRSST 243-1 phase contrast optical microscopy method. Our technicians are certiﬁed IRSST and certiﬁed to perform aerial asbestos ﬁbre test count.
This method lets us quantify fibres in the air below 5 µ.
The ﬁbre count for ambient air must be below 0.01 f/cm3 to comply with Quebec’s occupational health and safety regulations.