Asbestos in homes can be dangerous |

Across Canada about 250,000 detached and multi-family homes built from 1920-1990 may contain vermiculite attic insulation.

This insulation may contain asbestos fibres, which can cause lung diseases such as asbestosis, lung cancer and mesothelioma.

Health Canada advises there is little risk if vermiculite insulation is sealed behind wallboards and floorboards, isolated in an attic, or kept from exposure to the interior environment.

However, if the insulation contains asbestos and is disturbed, it could release fibres into the air.

A caution to home owners

Home owners should never:
• disturb the insulation or attempt to remove it themselves; or
• begin renovations unless a professional inspection has been done to determine if vermiculite insulation is present.

To help home owners, WorkSafeBC provides Ten simple steps to complying with asbestos abatement .

This publication is also available in Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese, French, Korean, Punjabi, Spanish, and Vietnamese.

WorkSafeBC inspections

From time to time, WorkSafeBC prevention officers conduct inspections of single-family demolition worksites.

The goal is to ensure home owners, hazardous material survey contractors, asbestos abatement contractors, and consultants are informed and equipped to safely remove asbestos containing materials and are complying with the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation.

To help home owners, WorksafeBC has the following guides:

• Asbestos: Frequently Asked Questions (2-page pdf)
• Asbestos Hazards When Renovating Older Homes (2-page pdf)
• Safe Work Practices for Handling Asbestos (128-page pdf)
• Asbestos video for home owners who plan to renovate (2-minute video)

Home owners should always seek the services of qualified contractors if asbestos is found in an older home that is being renovated or demolished.