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Hiring an Asbestos Decontamination Company

Last modified: 2022-11-15 | Approximate reading time 5 mins

Cynthia Pigeon

Is your home contaminated with asbestos? Call in a professional decontamination company!  Working with asbestos experts from a demolition company will save you from becoming just another number amongst those infected with asbestos in Quebec. Worldwide, 100,000 people die every year as a result of asbestos exposure.

Hiring an Asbestos Decontamination Company

As there’s no safe level of exposure, meaning a level at which exposure to asbestos is benign, any inhalation of fibres can lead to disastrous health consequences:

  • Pleural cancer;
  • Peritoneal cancer;
  • Laryngeal cancer;
  • Ovarian cancer;
  • Lung cancer;
  • Peritoneal mesothelioma;
  • Pleural plaques;
  • Asbestosis (fibrotic lung disease).

Furthermore, improper handling of asbestos millboard can release any number of airborne fibres, and be inhaled by your family members or by you. Even very small doses of asbestos can cause serious respiratory issues. For this reason, in Quebec, any work carried out on a construction site which involves dealing with asbestos imposes the following requirements:

  • Worker-related training on the risks associated with asbestos;
  • Worker-related training on working methods;
  • Providing a certificate of training completion;
  • Description of working methods implemented;
  • Forwarding this information to the CNESST.

Now you probably understand why hiring a decontamination company is a must. If you still have doubts, our section on the safe management of asbestos should clear them right up.

Decontamination Services Offered

Specialized asbestos decontamination and abatement companies also offer additional services:

  • Mould and vermiculite decontamination;
  • Ventilation ducts cleaning;
  • Demolition and reconstruction cost estimates;
  • Water jetting the pipes.

What's Vermiculite and Why Should it be Removed?

brick house

Source: Pexels

Vermiculite is a rock classified under the phyllosilicate group of minerals. It is widely used to insulate homes in North America, but has gained attention due to the natural presence of asbestos in its composition.

Asbestos found in vermiculite rocks was extracted from the Libby mine in Montana from 1919 to 1990. It has led not only to its widespread use in homes through insulation, but also to the contamination of 10% of the population of the town of Libby, to the point that, in 2019, a state of health emergency was declared.

Nowadays, insulation made from vermiculite is much more controlled, and the vermiculite that contains asbestos is no longer sold. In Canada, the Environmental Protection Act, enacted in 1999, and the regulations banning asbestos and asbestos-containing products enforce this ban.

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What should I do if there’s vermiculite in my attic?

If your home was insulated with vermiculite prior to 2000, there is a high likelihood that it contains asbestos. The Government of Canada offers the following advice on how to avoid asbestos exposure:

  • Keep attic space off-limits to your family members;
  • Do not use your attic;
  • Use a sealant to fill in the holes in insulated walls and ceilings;
  • Caulk attic access hatch and light fixtures.

Is your attic infested with mould and thus needs to be decontaminated? Check out this article for more information on the matter! (French only.)

Removing Vermiculite

As with any asbestos-contaminated product, vermiculite removal requires the services of trained professionals. It goes without saying that we strongly urge you to call on professionals in the industry. The reasons why? Because you are not only responsible for your health, but also for that of others.

Also, effective waste management resulting from insulation removal is indispensable. Transporting such waste materials must be done according to the rules of the trade, and so must their reprocessing. They cannot be disposed of in a public landfill, and especially not in nature.

Asbestos Training

teaching

Source: Pexels

Asbestos removal training is available through specialized professional training organizations. Before choosing one, make sure that it provides training that is recognized by the RBQ (Régie du bâtiment du Québec):

  • MGP Prévention + Formation;
  • Formation Construction (online training);
  • BEPPA Inc.

Asbestos-related training is intended for general and specialized asbestos decontamination contractors. These trainings, which rarely exceed 25 hours, provide insight on:

  • All the risks associated with asbestos;
  • Preventative measures to implement when carrying out asbestos-related work;
  • The best management practices to carry out asbestos-related work;
  • Steps to be taken according to the risk level (low, moderate, high).

These are subject to assessments based on a questionnaire, which attests that you have the required competence to work on job sites containing asbestos. 

Safe Management of Asbestos

Asbestos removal work has to comply with the Safety Code for the construction industry. The CNESST (Commission des normes, de l'équité, de la santé et de la sécurité au travail) ensures that all protective measures are respected, as they vary according to the health risks that the work poses to the workers.

If you still had some doubts about whether or not working with asbestos requires extremely serious measures, those are behind you now. As a result, you understand that hiring a Quebec-based asbestos decontamination company is a must.

A company specializing in asbestos decontamination handles not only the equipment, but also the demolition of a building containing asbestos. In addition, all the protective measures required to work in an asbestos-contaminated environment are put in place.

Want to learn more about it? Check out our article How Does Asbestos Disposal Work?

Cost of Asbestos Removal 

gavel

Source: Pexels

Forget about looking on company websites, because you won't find much without asking for a quote. That is why we consulted the only resource that can give us a definite number: court records.

Note that asbestos removal generally includes:

  • Installing a negative air machine fitted with a HEPA filter;
  • Getting a special waste container and transporting the waste to a dedicated waste disposal site;
  • Cleaning the site with a HEPA-filtered vacuum cleaner;
  • Encapsulating asbestos with CP-240 sealant;
  • Post-work air analysis with a certificate of conformity.

Therefore, expect to pay:

  • $12,000 for asbestos removal in the stucco siding (ceiling and walls) of a residential house;
  • $55,500 for asbestos removal in a building (decorative finish, joints, cement plaster);
  • $10,300 for vermiculite removal in a house (attic, walls, ceilings, basement);
  • $23,000 for vermiculite removal in a building.

So the price of asbestos removal depends on two things:

  • The asbestos-covered surface(s);
  • The quantity of asbestos-contaminated material.

For a house with asbestos-contaminated insulation, don't expect to pay anything less than $10,000, and for a building, no less than $20,000. But note that buildings built between the 19th century and 1985 in Quebec most likely contain asbestos. This hazardous material is also suspected of being used in homes built up until 1999.

This information must be taken into account when buying a house or building. Furthermore, these are the issues that have given rise to litigation in Quebec courts. So be vigilant.

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