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Designated Substance Survey

At The Healthy Abode Inc. we perform Designated Substance Reports for homeowners, general contractors, design / architect and engineering firms, and demolition contractors in compliance with Ontario Regulation 490/09 and Ontario Regulation 278/05.  We are fully insured and WSIB compliant.

Our Designated Substance Surveys are Ministry of Labour compliant.  We are able to get you your final designated substance report in as little as 1 business day. 

Call for an estimate, 416-901-7527.

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Initial Meeting over Phone

When you contact The Healthy Abode Inc. regarding a designated substance survey, we will knowledgeably answer your questions and provide you with a detailed account of our services, if requested.

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Visual Inspection

A Designated Substance Survey is required by the Ontario Ministry of Labour (MOL) for residential and commercial construction.  A visual inspection of the property is performed in order to establish what materials will need to be sampled.

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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.)

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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 and dust sampling. For these procedures, we only perform the necessary sampling and we only use professional equipment. For a designated substance survey we would be looking for and performing asbestos testing and lead testing; typically for these samples we use a bulk sampling method.  All asbestos sampling is performed in accordance with Ontario Regulation 278/05.

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Sampling sent to a Certified Third Party Laboratory

We submit our sample(s) to a third party laboratory. The turnaround time for the lab is 1-4 business days for samples. All of our samples for the designated substance survey 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 by the laboratory. This maintains the integrity of your samples.

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Written Report of the Results

The laboratory provides a detailed written report of the analysis of the samples taken. It will identify the exact quantity of lead (PPM) and asbestos (%, type) is in the sample (if any), which is required information for the designated substance survey.

In addition to the laboratory report, The Healthy Abode Inc. provides you with our designated substance survey report. This report is an inclusive 25+ page report written for the purpose of being submitted to your General Contractor, Trades, Ministry of Labour (MOL) Inspector and Electrical Safety Authority Inspector.

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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 designated substance survey 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.

What is a Designated Substance?

The Occupational Health and Safety Act (OSHA), ONTARIO REGULATION 490/09 DESIGNATED SUBSTANCES (O. Reg. 490/09), allows for certain toxic substances to be especially designated.  This means that specific regulations have been constructed for the control of these substances.  There are eleven (11) designated substances:

  1. Acrylonitrile O. Reg. 835
  2. Arsenic O. Reg. 836
  3. Asbestos O. Reg. 278
  4. Benzene O. Reg. 839
  5. Coke Oven Emissions O. Reg. 840
  6. Ethylene Oxide O. Reg. 841
  7. Isocyanates O. Reg. 842
  8. Lead O. Reg. 843
  9. Mercury O. Reg. 844
  10. Silica O. Reg. 845
  11. Vinyl Chloride O. Reg. 846

Accordingly, each Designated Substance Regulation outlines the amount of the substance that a worker can be exposed to, ways to control the substance, personal protective equipment required and other safety measures, and ways to measure the substance in a specific environment.

Do I have to worry about all 11 Designated Substances on a Construction Site?

Five (5) of the eleven (11) Designated Substances are likely to be found on a residential construction site, namely asbestos, lead, silica, benzene and mercury.

Whose responsibility is it to have a Designated Substance Survey performed?

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)]
What is a Designated Substance Survey (DSS)?

A Designated Substance Survey includes a visual inspection (walk-through) of the site, to identify the readily-accessible areas for the presence of designated substances 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 a Designated Substance Survey (Assessment Report) that outlines materials of concern on the job site, lab analysis and results of materials tested, overall discussion of the materials (types, locations) found in the job site and conclusions/recommendations made according to these observations and testing.

What are “other Hazardous Materials”?

Some Designated Substance Surveys will also include inspections for other Hazardous Materials.  Depending on the Scope of the Project, the site and the building itself, this may or may not be necessary.  Other Hazardous Materials include:

  1. Mold (Mould)
  2. Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs)
  3. Ozone-Depleting Substances (ODSs)
  4. Radon
  5. Electromagnetic Radiation
  6. Urea Formaldehyde Foam Insulation (UFFI)

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.

 

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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.

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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.

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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.)

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Clearance Testing

Once asbestos abatement has been performed, if necessary, we will return onsite and take a final sample set, called Clearance Air Testing.  Both PCM and TEM Air Clearance Testing can be performed.  All sampling is Ontario Regulation 278/05 compliant for Type 3 clearance testing. 

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.

Common Areas For Asbestos In Buildings:

In the Home:

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

Construction 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

Asbestos may be present in other locations in the home such as fireplaces, furnaces and in soundproofing 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 Asbestos Containing Materials (ACM) in Homes:

Common Areas For Asbestos In Buildings:

In the Home:

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

Construction 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

Asbestos may be present in other locations in the home such as fireplaces, furnaces and in 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.

Mold Testing

At The Healthy Abode Inc. we perform Mold Testing and Mold Inspection (both Initial and Clearance) and write Scopes of Work for mold remediation for homeowners, property managers, contractors and any other person or group who may require such a service in compliance with CCA-82.  We are fully insured and WSIB compliant.  Our reports are fully legal and certified.

Completed mold report in as little as 1 business day.  Contact us for an estimate, 416-901-7527.

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Initial Meeting over Phone

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

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Visual Inspection

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

Our objective when doing a visual inspection is to identify the source(s) of moisture intrusion into your home as well as identify the possible existence of mold.  

 

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Pre-Inspection Report

Before beginning the visual inspection and mold testing we will ask some important questions about your home (this is considered the pre-inspection report.)

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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 mold testing.  For these procedures, we only perform the necessary sampling and we only use professional equipment.

Purpose:

We will take at least 2 indoor samples (area(s) of concern, one per area of concern/floor) and one mandatory control sample taken just outside/or in an unaffected area of the building.  This control sample is used as a point of comparison for all samples taken in the area of concern.  The objective is to see if the samples indoors are in fact elevated in spore count when compared to the outdoor sample, or if they are similar.  The air testing provides us with both quantity and identification of spores.  

In addition to sampling, we will perform an inspection of the areas of concern, which includes using a thermal imaging camera, moisture meters, testing relative humidity.  

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Sampling sent to a Certified Third Party Laboratory

We submit our samples from your mold testing and inspection appointment to a third party laboratory.  The turnaround time for the lab is 1-4 business days for all types of mold testing, including Air, Bulk & Swab.  All of our samples are properly labeled and submitted with a Chain of Custody form, which allows us to trace possession of the sample form the point of collection to receipt from the lab.  This maintains the integrity of your samples.

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Written Report of the Results

The laboratory provides a detailed written report of the mold testing samples from your home. This includes the following information: spore identification (which identifies the type of mold found), spore description, certificate of mold analysis (which identifies the actual raw count and spore/m3 count.) This analysis allows us to determine if the levels of mold in your home are elevated or not. 

In addition to the laboratory report, The Healthy Abode Inc. provides you with our own mold testing report that explains the lab mold testing report in further detail, as well as outlines all of our notes and observations, including photos and meter results, taken throughout our inspection of your home.

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Verbal Explanation of the Reports

It is very important to us that you feel comfortable with both the laboratory and inspection reports.  This is why 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 regarding the mold testing, including providing recommendations.  If necessary, we will put you in contact with a professional certified remediation firm.

Please note your results are confidential.

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Clearance Sampling

Once remediation has been performed, if necessary, we will come back to your home and take a final sample set, called Clearance Mold Testing or Post Remediation Verification Testing.  This will verify that the proper removal of mold has in fact taken place, and reassure you that your home no longer possesses the health and structural threat of mold.

Got Mold?

Have you noticed a musty odour in your home or perhaps seen evidence of mold growing somewhere in your basement or crawl space? Perhaps you or one of your family members have experienced allergies and you are not sure what it may be attributed to, it could be mold.
Mold is often smelled or causes allergic reactions before it can be seen. Mold is a result of moisture intrusion issues in your home. It can cause health problems and it can affect the structural safety of your home.
Below are some useful facts to help your knowledge of mold and to help you better understand if you may require mold testing . According to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) in order to better understand mold growth one must know the following important facts:

  • mold can be harmful or helpful – depending on where it grows
  • mold needs moisture to grow
  • mold growing inside a home can negatively affect the occupants’ health
Do I need Mold Testing?

Mold can be Harmful or Helpful
As stated in the CCA 82 – 2004 Mould Guidelines for the Canadian Construction Industry:
“Mould, or fungi, has existed on Earth since life first began, and results in the natural decomposition (recycling) of organic materials. In the built environment, fungi and mould damages wood, wallboard and other materials and causes them to rot. The growth of fungi on materials in the built environment can affect human health, depending on the extent of growth, the length of exposure, and the health status of the exposed personnel. Because many regulatory agencies now consider mould growth a health hazard, there has been an increase in litigation, originally limited to the United States but now being seen in Canada.”
However, mold can also be helpful. The drug penicillin is obtained from a specific type of mold, as well as some foods and beverages are made by the actions of mold, one obvious example of this is cheese. The important differentiation between helpful and harmful molds is that the good types of molds are usually selected and grown in a controlled fashion. The bad types of molds, are the types that enter a building or structure and grown due to some sort of moisture intrusion problem. These are the molds that we can assess with professional mold testing and that if homeowners are not careful, can rapidly grow (24-48 hrs), and become a very prominent health issue. If you suspect you may have a mold problem it is important to contact a certified inspection and mold testing company sooner rather than later. If mold is caught quickly, remediation efforts and health affects will likely be greatly reduced.

Mold Needs Moisture to Grow
There exists some estimated 300 000 species of mold in the world. In Canada, there are over 1 000 varieties. The specific species of mold and quantity of spores should be identified by a certified laboratory, as a result of a professional taking a proper sample during your scheduled mold testing appointment.
Mold exists to a certain extent everywhere. There are microscopic spores in almost every location on the globe. Mold only becomes a problem when it starts to take over an existing surface, like a wall or bathroom tiles and grout. This is when the mold growth, because of its’ extreme concentration in these such cases, can become a health hazard and/or a structural problem for your home.
Mold is a very simple life form that needs only moisture and a food source (which could be almost any surface found around the home.) Mold exists in two stages and can complete its’ growth process in 48 hours. Moisture is the most important component that mold needs to grow, as it does not need light or any specific food source or surface. Of course, mold will grow easier on a porous surface such as concrete; however mold may grow even on non-porous surfaces such as glass. A swab or bulk sample during your mold testing appointment can determine whether mold is in fact growing on a specific surface.

Mold Growing inside a Home can negatively affect the Occupants’ Health
As most people are aware it is now considered fact by the scientific and health care communities that mold does negatively affect human health. Depending on the individual, their exposure and the type of mold the affects may vary from a very minor allergic reaction (sniffling, congestion, hay fever) to exceptionally severe, invasive disease such as asthma and other lung issues, as spores may enter the lungs. Some molds, such as stachybotrys, may produce extremely toxic (potent) mycotoxins. Exposure to these toxins can occur through inhalation, ingestion or dermal exposure.
Mold can grow in your home without necessarily being seen (i.e. behind the drywall, in your HVAC system). Even though you may not see the mold, it can still affect the health of you and your family. If members of your family start to exhibit such symptoms as coughing, hay fever, asthma symptoms, nail infections etc. you may want to consider having a mold testing professional check your home.

Lead Testing

At The Healthy Abode Inc. we perform Lead Testing.  Typically Lead is tested in both paint and / or water. We are EPA certified and test in compliance with the Ontario Lead Guideline and the RRP Rule issued by the US EPA. We are fully insured and WSIB Compliant. Our reports are fully legal and certified.

Completed lead reports can be issued in as little as 2 business days. Contact us for an estimate, 416-901-7527.

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Initial Meeting over Phone

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

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Visual Inspection

A discussion regarding your lead concerns will assist in determining what testing may be required. 

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Pre-Inspection Report

Before beginning the visual inspection and lead testing we will ask some important questions about your home (this is considered the pre-inspection report.)

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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), dust sampling and water testing for the purpose of detecting lead.  For these procedures, we only perform the necessary sampling and we only use professional equipment.

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Sampling sent to a Certified Third Party Laboratory

We submit our samples from your lead testing and inspection appointment to a third party laboratory.  The turnaround time for the lab is 2-5 business days for all types of lead testing, including Water, Bulk & Dust.  All of our samples are properly labeled and submitted with a Chain of Custody form, which allows us to trace possession of the sample form the point of collection to receipt from the lab.  This maintains the integrity of your samples.

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Written Report of the Results

The laboratory provides a detailed written report of the lead testing of your job site/home.  It will identify the quantity of lead in the paint, dust or water, if any, that are present in the samples from your job site/home.

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

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Verbal Explanation of the Reports

It is very important to us that you feel comfortable with both the laboratory and inspection reports. This is why we will discuss with you the results and explain them in a manner that satisfies your understanding. At this point we will answer any questions you may have regarding the lead testing, including providing recommendations. 

Please note your results are confidential.

Lead Paint: The Issue

Was your home built before 1976?
If the answer is YES, there are a few important things your need to know about lead-based paint:

  • Lead can harm children’s brains and developing nervous systems, causing reduced intelligence, learning disabilities and behavioural problems. Lead is also harmful to adults, particularly pregnant women.
  • Lead in dust is the most common way people are exposed to lead; this dust is often invisible.
  • Projects that disturb lead-based paint can create dust and endanger you, your family and your pets.

Few People in Canada may be aware of the amount of lead that still exists in many of our homes. It wasn’t until 1976 that the Canadian government completely banned the use of interior lead-based paint. Although known to be harmful, lead-based paint was used for its’ superior colour and durability. In fact, it is the lead in paint that makes the colours of painted roadways and bridges so brilliant today.

It would appear, therefore, that lead may no longer be a threat, or is it?

The lead paint that has been on the walls of your home since it was built is still present under many layers of paint. This lead shouldn’t pose a threat, until it is disturbed. Lead-based paint that has been disturbed due to renovation such as removal of walls and window/door fixtures, has become a major cause for concern in recent years. In fact, in both the United States and Britain, federally mandated regulations are now law regarding the appropriate clean up and disposal of lead dust that results from these types of activities.

Health Risks of Lead

(Note: Lead in dust is the most common way people are exposed to lead (EPA))

Children under age six are most at risk from small amounts of lead (EPA)

Children are at a greater risk that adults because their bodies are developing. During normal and frequent playing or hand-to-mouth activity, children may swallow or inhale dust from their hands, toys, food or other objects.

In children, lead can cause

  • Nervous system and kidney damage
  • Decreased intelligence, attention deficit disorder (ADD), and learning disabilities
  • Speech, language and behavior problems
  • Lead affects every organ system in the body, excluding lungs

Among adults, pregnant women are especially at risk from exposure to

lead (EPA)

Lead is passed from the mother to the fetus and can cause:

  • Miscarriages
  • Premature births
  • Brain damage/
  • Low birth weight

Health effects of lead in adults include: (EPA)

  • High blood pressure
  • Fertility problems and sexual disorders in men and women
  • Digestive problems
  • Nerve disorders
  • Memory and concentration problems
  • Muscle and joint pain

Water Testing

Regulated Drinking Water Testing Info
The Healthy Abode Inc. offers water testing in accordance with Ontario Drinking Water Standards.
Our third party laboratory is licensed by the Ontario Ministry of Environment for specific parameters as requited by the Ontario Safe Drinking Water Act and its associated regulations.

The Issue & Potential Sources
Water testing is useful in such situations as testing drinking water in residential or commercial buildings.  Water contaminants can come from the water source itself or the pipes that it runs through.

Water testing
The Healthy Abode Inc. is able to test for many different water concerns, including testing for heavy metals including lead and mercury, various bacteria including E. Coli and Total Coliform, Legionella and many other potential concerns. Please contact for specific concerns.

Our Comprehensive Water Testing and Reports
Reports are typically presented to the client in 5 business days from the day of sampling although faster turnaround times are available.

VOC Testing

The Healthy Abode Inc. offers specialised services geared towards solving difficult odour and health issues that can be a result of indoor air.  One useful air testing method is open-characterization, commonly referred to as VOC or Volatile Organic Compound Testing.

The Issue & Potential Sources
Indoor air quality (IAQ) has increasingly become a significant and complex issue due to various factors including increases in certain indoor pollutants and the more recent design of energy efficient buildings which reduce the amount of fresh air drawn into the building. Many airborne organics exist in indoor environments due to building materials, consumer products, personal activities, cigarette smoking, mold growth and poorly vented heating appliances etc. In working environments, the sources can be extensively more diverse and complex. Complaints of odours, headaches, eye, nose and throat irritation, as well as other health problems are common and widespread, which subsequently have impacts on the productivity and quality of life.

An excellent example of VOCs are the "new car" smell most of us are fond of. The odour, not surprisingly, comprises a great variety of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), arising from adhesives, plastics, carpets, cleaners, polishes, lubricants, paints, leather and vinyl treatment. Currently, there is no government standard regulating air quality inside new vehicles. Although the VOC concentrations are not very high in new vehicles, the cumulative effects of these compounds can pose health problems to those with chemical sensitivity and with long term exposure especially in summer months when the heat vaporizes more VOCs into the closed car interior. Some of the most common VOCs identified in a new car with leather interior include ethanol, acetic acid, benzyl alcohol, propylene glycol and acetone.

VOC Testing
With VOC testing (open-characterization) we have the ability to recognize the unusual patterns, odourous compounds, microbial (MVOC), VOCs from emission sources as well as the chemical reactions taking place. All of these findings are included in our comprehensive reports to allow for better understanding of the testing results.

Our Comprehensive VOC Analysis and Reports
Reports presented to the clients in 10 business days of sampling include identification of the top 35 compounds in order of descending concentrations, their semi-quantitative concentrations, as well as total volatile organic compound (TVOC) concentration. TVOC value is an important measure of total airborne organic concentration and over 200 compounds may be detected. The report also includes common sources, odour description and exposure limits.

Bacteria Testing

The Healthy Abode Inc. offers bacteria testing of both surfaces and drinking water.

 

The Issue & Potential Sources
Bacteria testing is useful in such situations as sewage back ups or in cases where dirty water has likely entered the living area of a house or commercial building. Typically bacteria testing is performed in water loss (flood) environments.

 

Bacteria testing
With bacteria testing,, we have the ability to test for the following bacteria:

  • Endotoxins
  • GRAM stain
  • E.Coli
  • Total and Fecal Coliforms
  • HPC

Typically swab samples are taken of surface area(s) affected.

 

Our Comprehensive Bacteria Testing and Reports
Reports are typically presented to the client in 5 business days from the day of sampling although faster turnaround times are available.