Asbestos Testing

Asbestos Testing

At The Healthy Abode Inc. we perform Asbestos Management Surveys, Asbestos Testing and Asbestos Inspection (both Initial and Clearance) and write Scopes of Work for asbestos abatement for homeowners, property managers, contractors and any other person or group who may require such a service in compliance with Ontario Regulation 278/05.  We are fully insured and WSIB compliant.  Our reports are fully legal and certified.

We are able to get you your completed asbestos report in as little as 1 business day. 

Contact us for an estimate, 416-901-7527.

Proudly service Commercial clients in GTA and South-Western Ontario

Initial Meeting over Phone

When you contact The Healthy Abode Inc. regarding asbestos testing, we will knowledgeably answer all of your questions and provide you with a detailed account of our asbestos testing services.

Visual Inspection

A discussion regarding your concerns and scope of work will assist in determining what testing may be required. A visual inspection of the property is performed in order to establish what materials ought to be sampled.

Pre-Inspection Report

Before beginning the visual inspection we ask some important questions about your home. Questions would likely include the age of your home and any information regarding any previous renovations (this is considered the pre-inspection report.)

Professional Sampling

The Healthy Abode Inc. is qualified to perform any type of necessary sampling in your home. This includes the following sampling techniques, air, surface/bulk (swab/tape-lift) and dust sampling for asbestos testing. For these procedures, we only perform the necessary sampling and we only use professional equipment. For asbestos testing we sample in accordance to Ontario Regulation 278/05, which requires us to take at least three bulk pieces of each type of homogenous material that may contain asbestos (i.e. tile, popcorn ceiling) and submit these samples to the laboratory for asbestos testing. The average sample is approximately 1-2 in2, only hand-powered tools are used and all samples are placed directly into a laboratory supplied self-sealing bag. For PCM / TEM air asbestos testing, we follow the PCM / TEM method outlined in Ontario Regulation 278/05.

Sampling sent to a Certified Third Party Laboratory

We submit our sample(s) to a third party laboratory. The turnaround time for the laboratory ranges from same day analysis to 4 business days for bulk asbestos testing samples and PCM air asbestos testing samples; TEM analysis turnaround time ranges from 1 business day to 5 business days.

All of our samples are properly labeled and submitted with a Chain of Custody form, which allows us to trace possession of the sample from the point of collection to receipt from the lab. This maintains the integrity of your samples.

Written Report of the Results

The laboratory provides a detailed written report of the asbestos testing of your job site/home. It will identify the percentage (%) and specific type of asbestos, if any, that are present in the materials sampled from your job site/home.

In addition to the laboratory report, The Healthy Abode Inc. provides you with our own asbestos testing report which explains the lab report in further detail, as well as outlines all of our notes, observations and provides recommendations.

Verbal Explanation of the Reports

All reports will be emailed.

It is very important to us that you feel comfortable in your understanding of your asbestos testing report. As such, we will discuss with you the results and attempt to explain them in a manner that satisfies your understanding. At this point we will answer any questions you may have including providing recommendations.

Please note that all laboratory results are confidential, they belong to you and we do not discuss them with any other party, unless you've requested that we do so.

Clearance Testing

All reports will be emailed.

It is very important to us that you feel comfortable in your understanding of your asbestos testing report. As such, we will discuss with you the results and attempt to explain them in a manner that satisfies your understanding. At this point we will answer any questions you may have including providing recommendations.

Please note that all laboratory results are confidential, they belong to you and we do not discuss them with any other party, unless you've requested that we do so.

Asbestos: The Issue

According to Health Canada asbestos was a popular material widely used in construction and many other industries.  Asbestos has been used to make products strong, long-lasting and fire-resistant. Production and use of asbestos have declined since the 1970s.

Asbestos is the generic name for a variety of fibrous

minerals found naturally in rock formations around the world. Because asbestos fibres are strong, durable and non-combustible, they were widely used by industry, mainly in construction and friction materials.

Our Asbestos Testing/Inspection Services:

We test for asbestos in accordance with Ontario Regulation 278/05, which means a minimum of three bulk samples or two air samples analysed by a certified laboratory per homogenous material/area.  This makes our reports both certified and legal.  We are fully certified, insured and WSIB compliant.  We perform work for many property management companies, contractors, private homeowners and schools.  Call or contact us for an estimate, 416-901-7527.

Asbestos Bulk Sampling:

Common areas of concern for asbestos in homes includes asbestos in tile flooring, asbestos in popcorn ceiling, vermiculite asbestos insulation, asbestos pipe wrap, asbestos duct wrap, asbestos drywall joint compound and asbestos in textured plaster.

For the area(s) of concern we will take 3 representative bulk samples (each material) and submit these to the laboratory for analysis.  We take three samples in accordance with Ontario Regulation 278/05, which requires a minimum of three samples per homogenous material in order to avoid a false negative.  You will receive two reports (laboratory report and The Healthy Abode Inc. report), via email, in one-four business days.  We will determine if no asbestos is present (ND – None Detected), or alternatively if asbestos is present, the quantity and the type i.e. chrysotile asbestos – 5%.  Anything over 0.5% is considered unsafe, and should be handled accordingly.

Depending on the outcome of the testing, we will provide you with recommendations; and you are welcome to consult with us regarding asbestos safe work practices and asbestos handling.  We can also perform an Asbestos Air Sample if the Asbestos Bulk Sample does contain asbestos.

Asbestos Air Sampling:

PCM asbestos air sampling can be performed to identify airborne asbestos and other fibres.  Such tests prove to be very useful as clearance samples after asbestos abatement has been performed or in instances when there may be concerns that asbestos has been disturbed i.e. moving into a newly renovated house that is older than 1980.

TEM asbestos air samples provide the actual quantity of asbestos fibres specifically, however, PCM and TEM refer to laboratory analysis methods, one being more specific and expensive than the other.  Ontario regulation 278/05 generally allows for PCM air sampling (see below) as a reasonable gage of whether or not the air is safe, however, TEM air sampling can be performed.

PCM Air Sampling (to detect asbestos and other fibres):

We will take a minimum of two air samples in the area(s) of concern (number of samples depends on square footage of affected area.)  You will receive two reports, via email, in one - four business days, namely the laboratory report and The Healthy Abode Inc. report.  We will determine the quantity of airborne fibres.  According to Ontario Regulation 278/05 Sec. 18(5), in order to “pass” this test, every air sample collected must have a concentration of fibres that does not exceed 0.01 fibres per cubic centimetre of air (<0.01 fibres/cc.)  The air samples will run concurrently for 120 - 160 minutes. Each air sample, in accordance to Ontario Regulation, is 2,400 litres of air.  Fans will be run to agitate the air during asbestos air sampling, as per Ontario Regulation 278/05 requirement.

Common Materials for Asbestos in Buildings:

Common Areas For Asbestos In Buildings:

In residential / commercial buildings:

  • Ceilings
  • Flooring
  • Attics
  • Basements
  • Roofing Materials
  • Exterior Siding
  • Furnaces
  • HVAC
  • Tiles
  • Garages
  • Sheds

Building materials that often contain asbestos include:

  • Flooring (VCT Tiles, Linoleum, Black Mastic Adhesive)
  • Pipe Wrap (Hot Water Rads) / Duct Wrap (Forced Air Furnace)
  • Sprayed-on Coating or Textured Coating (i.e. Popcorn Ceilings)
  • Textured Plaster Walls/Ceilings (Plaster Lath)
  • Window/Door Caulking (Putty)
  • Drywall Joint Compound
  • Acoustic Ceiling Tiles

Insulation materials that may also contain asbestos include:

  • Vermiculite
  • Boilers
  • Pipe Wrap (Hot Water Rads) / Duct Wrap (Forced Air Furnace)
  • Fireproofing panels in fire doors
  • Insulating Paper / Insulating Board
  • Soundproofing materials.
Sources / Health Risks: Asbestos

Sources of Asbestos

Occupational – The risks are greatest for workers in industries with produce and use asbestos, such as mining and milling.  Today’s strict standards, however, limit workers’ exposure and the ban of most uses of amphibole asbestos have reduced the risk.

During renovations and repairs to older buildings, construction workers, tradespeople and other building maintenance workers may be exposed to very high concentrations of asbestos fibres.

Environmental – Negligible levels of asbestos fibres are found in the soil, water and air, both naturally and from man-made sources.  Asbestos concentrations in the air in rural areas are about ten times lower than those in larger cities, which are about 1,000 times lower than levels accepted in today’s asbestos-related jobs.  With such low exposure, environmental risks are negligible.

Buildings & Homes – Because it is a valuable reinforcing, insulating and fire-proofing material, asbestos was used widely in construction materials such as insulation board, asbestos cement, and floor and ceiling tiles.  These products are very dense and do not release significant amounts of fibres under normal use.  However, fibres may be release if these products are cut or damaged.

Asbestos fibre concentrations in the air in buildings are usually about the same as in the air outside, and are not a significant risk.  However, levels may be higher if friable asbestos materials are disturbed.  One of the main problems with asbestos came from sprayed or “friable” (easily broken up) amphibole asbestos used in buildings until the 1970s.

There is also concern about vermiculite insulation which may contain small amounts of amphibole asbestos, principally tremolite or actinolite.  These amphibole fibres may cause health risks if disturbed.  However, there is currently no evidence of risk to your health if the insulation is sealed behind wallboards and floorboards, isolated in the attic or otherwise kept from exposure to the home or interior environment, states Health Canada, April, 2011.

The Health Risks of Asbestos

Asbestos poses health risks only when fibres are present in the air that people breathe. We can determine the presence of airborne Asbestos fibres with PCM Asbestos Testing.  How exposure to asbestos can affect you depends on:

the concentration of asbestos fibres in the air;

  • how long the exposure lasted;
  • how often you were exposed;
  • the size of the asbestos fibres inhaled; and/or
  • the amount of time since the initial exposure

When inhaled in significant quantities, asbestos fibres can cause asbestosis (a scarring of the lungs which makes breathing difficult), mesothelioma (a rare cancer of the lining of the chest or abdominal cavity) and lung cancer.  The link between exposure to asbestos and other types of cancers is less clear.

Smoking, combined with inhaled asbestos, greatly increases the risk of lung cancer.

Asbestos Management Survey

An Asbestos Management Reports are required by the Ministry of Labour (MOL) to avoid injuring any tradespeople who are hired to work inside the building.  This includes multi-unit residential buildings as well as workplaces, warehouses and factories.

An Asbestos Management Survey includes a visual inspection (walk-through) of the site, to identify the readily-accessible areas for the presence of asbestos used in building and construction materials.  Accordingly, we assess the type, characteristics and condition of the building materials and when necessary, samples of certain materials will be collected for subsequent laboratory analysis.

The result is an Asbestos Management Survey (Assessment Report) that outlines materials of concern on the property, lab analysis and results of materials tested, overall discussion of the materials (types, locations) found in the property and conclusions/recommendations made according to these observations and testing.

Annual testing/visual observation may be required.  The Healthy Abode Inc. offers annual Asbestos Management Survey Reports for buildings in such situations where we have completed the initial report and for buildings that have had the initial report already completed by another company.  In these situations, we will work with the original Asbestos Management Survey and produce a compliant annual report based on those findings.

Asbestos Air Testing / Clearance Air Testing

Asbestos Air Sampling:

PCM asbestos air sampling can be performed to identify airborne asbestos and other fibres.  Such tests prove to be very useful as clearance samples after asbestos abatement has been performed or in instances when there may be concerns that asbestos has been disturbed.

TEM asbestos air samples provide the actual quantity of asbestos fibres specifically, however, PCM and TEM refer to laboratory analysis methods, one being more specific and expensive than the other.  Ontario regulation 278/05 generally allows for PCM air sampling (see below) as a reasonable gage of whether or not the air is safe, however, TEM air sampling can be performed.

PCM Air Sampling (to detect asbestos and other fibres):

We will take a minimum of two air samples in the area(s) of concern (number of samples depends on square footage of affected area.)  You will receive two reports, via email, in one - four business days, namely the laboratory report and The Healthy Abode Inc. report.  We will determine the quantity of airborne fibres.  According to Ontario Regulation 278/05 Sec. 18(5), in order to “pass” this test, every air sample collected must have a concentration of fibres that does not exceed 0.01 fibres per cubic centimetre of air (<0.01 fibres/cc.)  The air samples will run concurrently for 120 - 160 minutes. Each air sample, in accordance to Ontario Regulation, is 2,400 litres of air.  Fans will be run to agitate the air during asbestos air sampling, as per Ontario Regulation 278/05 requirement.

Compliance

Section 30 of the OHSA deals with the presence of designated substances on construction projects.  Since silica, asbestos, lead, benzene and mercury are designated substances (O. Reg. 490/09), compliance with OHSA and its Regulations requires the owner of a property to determine if silica, asbestos, mercury, benzene and/or lead is present on a project through a designated substance survey and, if it is, to so inform all potential contractors / trades as part of the bidding process.  In a similar way, contractors who receive this information are to pass it onto other contractors and subcontractors who are bidding for work on the project.  If the owner or any contractor fails to comply with this requirement, whey will be liable of any loss or damages that result from a contractor or trade subsequently discovering that a designated substance is present.

Additionally, the OHSA sets out, in very general terms, the duties of employers and others to protect workers from health and safety hazards on the job.  These duties include:

taking all reasonable precautions to protect the health and safety of workers [clause 25(2)(h)]

ensuring that equipment, materials and protective equipment are maintained in good condition [clause 25(1)(b)]

providing information, instruction and supervision to protect worker health and safety [clause 25(2)(a)]

acquainting a worker or a person in authority over a worker with any hazard in the work and in the handling, storage, use, disposal and transport of any article, device, equipment or a biological, chemical or physical agent [clause 25(2)(d)]