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HAZMAT

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Hazardous Materials Testing & Assessments

We conduct hazardous materials assessments to identify hazardous building materials that may be disturbed when an area is renovated or a building is demolished. Our main focus is to find materials that contain asbestos and lead, although other hazardous materials may be noted if found. The steps involved in an assessment are:

  • Collecting samples from specific locations
  • Analyzing samples to determine whether or not the material contains asbestos, and if it does, to identify the type and percentage of asbestos
  • Writing a report that draws conclusions from the sample results and identifies the location of all hazardous materials within the scope of work

Why they are needed

  • An ethical obligation to protect workers
  • Compliance with WorkSafeBC Regulations
  • To obtain permits for demolition or renovation work
  • For risk management


 

Air Monitoring – Asbestos and Lead Abatement

On-site air sampling is WorkSafeBC Regulation required, and helps assess exposures and the effectiveness of control measures in place to ensure that exposure is not above recommended limits.


Mould Assessments

There are several types of mould assessments that Safety's Best Solutions can perform. The assessment will be tailored to your needs and purpose, whether it be an assessment to establish the airborne spore contamination level, the detection and identification of specific airborne contaminants, or to confirm whether visible stains or discolourations are from mould growth. Safety's Best Solutions also conducts air sampling to ensure that abatement of affected areas has been successful.

Asbestos Management Programs

A Building’s Management Program Is Most Effective When Used Together With an Asbestos and Lead Inventory.


Given how our line of work at Safety’s Best Solutions involves technical matters, it may be quite a challenge for potential clients to fully understand the safety regulation services we provide. So you can get a better idea of what we can do for your government agency, construction company, or demolition company in British Columbia, contact us to schedule an inspection and discuss what this will look like for you.



Asbestos

What Is Asbestos? 

Referred to as the ‘miracle mineral’, asbestos is the generic name for a set of six naturally occurring minerals. The word ‘asbestos’ is derived from a Greek adjective that means inextinguishable. In its raw form, asbestos is a long fibrous crystal, and each of its fibres is composed of microscopic fibrils. There are two classes of asbestos: the Serpentine class (curly fibres) and the Amphibole class (needle-like fibres).

Why Is Asbestos Used?

Asbestos has been used in various building materials because of its properties. Its fibres are resistant to both heat and chemicals and add tensile strength to materials. Additionally, they are good insulators and flame-retardants. The fibres of asbestos are added to concrete, sealants, coatings, and other materials to give them these properties.


Houses constructed before 1990 are most likely to have been built with asbestos-containing materials (ACM). These homes pose a risk to homeowners and workers involved in demolition or renovation projects.


Common building materials that may contain asbestos include insulation, linoleum, floor tiles, roofing, and drywall taping compound. Additionally, one can also find ACM in pipes, steam boilers, and other objects in structures that can withstand high temperatures.

What Are the Dangers?

Every form of the asbestos mineral is a known carcinogen. Airborne fibres can be inhaled into the lungs. This can lead to serious chronic health conditions such as mesothelioma, asbestosis, pleural thickening, and asbestos-related lung cancer.


Additionally, asbestos is recognised as one of the ‘hidden killers’ because more often than not, people do not know they are being exposed to it. Disturbing materials with asbestos can release microscopic fibres into the air. While airborne, they can remain suspended for hours, and this can lead to inhalation by people.

Asbestos in Your Home

For the most part, many people have been able to live harmoniously with asbestos in their homes for decades. However, it only becomes an issue when modifications are made during complete demolitions, large-scale renovations, and small DIY jobs. Common activities that have the potential to disturb ACM and put individuals at risk include:Disturbing Textured Ceilings Through Dusting, Vacuuming, and Painting

                  • Doing Work in Attics or Crawl Spaces
                  • Maintenance of Furnaces or Old Pipes
                  • Removing/Replacing/Drilling Into Drywall and Plaster
                  • Removing Vinyl Sheet (Linoleum) Flooring and/or Floor Tiles

Lead

What Is Lead?

Lead is one of the elements in the periodic table’s carbon group as well as the heaviest non-radioactive element. Its symbol is Pb (from the Latin word: plumbum). Additionally, lead is the heaviest metal that is commonly found on earth, and people have used it for thousands of years.

Why Is Lead Used?

Lead has had many uses over the years. It can be found in pipes and plumbing, tetraethyl lead (TEL) in fuel, glass, paints, pesticides, and more. In addition, lead paint has been used in houses and buildings because it increases durability and decreases drying time. Lead pigments are usually added to white, red, orange, and yellow paints to make the colour more vibrant.

What Are the Dangers?

Lead is poisonous to both humans and animals. It causes blood disorders and damage to the nervous system. Once ingested, lead accumulates in your bones and soft tissues because your body cannot excrete it.


Small children are the most at risk of being poisoned by lead. With their small body size, less lead is required to reach toxic levels. Additionally, kids are known to put everything in their mouth. There is a chance that they will ingest lead if they are in an area with peeling paint, paint chips, or paint dust.


Activities that may release dust into the air such as sanding, scraping, and removing painted surfaces also carry a high risk of lead exposure.


Lead concentrations that are as low as 90 mg/kg may present a risk to pregnant women and children. Under the Hazardous Products Act, the Federal Ministry of Health defines lead-containing material as ‘paint or other similar material that dries to a solid film that contains over 90mg/kg (0.009% dry weight of lead).

Lead in Your Home

In 1978, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) banned the sale of lead-based paints and the use of lead-based paints in residences and other areas where consumers had access to painted surfaces as well as on toys and furniture. Leftover paints may have been used for many years later. With this said, it is important to void disturbing painted surfaces until you get it examined for lead.


Avoid being exposed to lead by pointing out some of the common hazards, which include:

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  • Chipping/Peeling Paints

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  • Opening/Closing Old Windows That Slide Over Painted Surfaces to Open

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  • Sanding/Scraping/Removing Paint From Walls, Windows, or Other Objects

Lead in Your Home

If you are concerned about lead exposure, then get in touch with us. We have a team of qualified professionals who will determine if lead testing should be conducted and recommend appropriate safe work procedures.

Mould

What Is Mould?

Mould is a fungus that naturally occurs in the environment. There are many types of mould, all of which require water or moisture as well as organic matter to grow on and thrive. 


It has the ability to grow in dark places because it gets its energy from organic matter, not photosynthesis. Wood, a common building material, is organic, and it is a potential place for mould growth.

What Are the Dangers?

Mould can be harmful to individuals living or working in and around affected areas. The spores that moulds release in the air are potential allergens.


These spores can cause symptoms such as nasal and sinus congestion, eye irritation, difficulty breathing, throat/skin irritation, and even worse conditions. Some species, such as Stachybotrys (black mould), produce mycotoxins that are dangerous and can lead to neurological problems and, in some cases, death. 

Prevention of Moulds

Mould can be harmful to individuals living or working in and around affected areas. The spores that moulds release in the air are
potential allergens.


These spores can cause symptoms such as nasal and sinus congestion, eye irritation, difficulty breathing, throat/skin irritation, and even worse conditions. Some species, such as Stachybotrys (black mould), produce mycotoxins that are dangerous and can lead to neurological problems and, in some cases, death. 

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  • A Strange, Musty Odour
  • Brown/Water Spots on the Walls or Ceilings
  • Building Damage
  • Clean Bathrooms With Mould-Killing Products
  • Do Not Carpet Bathrooms or Kitchens
  • Ensure Adequate Ventilation of Bathrooms, Kitchens, Basements, and other Humid Rooms
  • Excessive Rain/Flooding in the Region

  • Health Symptoms
  • Keep Humidity Levels Low by Using a Dehumidifier, Air Conditioner, or Heat
  • Maintain or Replace Roofs and Gutters When Necessary
  • Make Sure That All Wet or Damp Materials Are Dried As Soon As Possible Whenever Spills or Leaks Occur
  • Pipe Bursts or Overflows in Bathtubs and Sinks
  • Warning Signs of Mouth Growth

Prevention of Moulds

If you suspect that there is mould present in your home or workplace, then request an inspection. It can help determine the severity of the problem and the potential health risks. 

Silica

What Is Silica?

One of the most abundant chemical compounds on earth, silicon dioxide is a major constituent of sand. Also known as quartz or silica, it has many uses in the areas of construction and manufacturing. Removing impurities from sand such as iron creates glass and semiconductors used in computers and other technology, hence the name ‘Silicon Valley’.


In terms of a health hazard, silica refers to crystalline silica. This includes five minerals with differing surface properties and biological reactivities. Quartz is the most common form of crystalline silica that workers are exposed to. Engineered stone contains 93% or more silica, quartzite has 95% silica, and sandstone has approximately 60%. Additionally, silica in granite ranges from 10% to 45%.


The other type of silica that poses a health hazard is Cristobalite. It is found in refractory products, diatomaceous earth, and devitrified silicate glasses such as ceramic fibres.

How Does It Affect the Body?

rystalline silica is one of the three major classes of inorganic dust that can cause interstitial lung disease. The other two are asbestos and coalmine dust. Similar to that of asbestos, the main adverse consequence of silica exposure is the induction of lung fibrosis (silicosis).


Silicosis develops when fine crystalline silica particles are inhaled into the alveolar sacs in the lungs. This damages the tissue and leads to the formation of scar tissue. In addition, prolonged exposure can damage the lungs enough to cause extensive scarring. This will reduce lung function substantially.


Chronic exposure to silicates has also been associated with immune alterations as well as an increase in scleroderma. It has also been linked to an elevated risk of lung cancer in humans.


While most silicosis cases are a result of occupational activities, there are some reported instances of simple silicosis in people who live in arid places with dust storms and soil that has high silica content.

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