Until the late 1980s, asbestos was used in more than 3,000 building products in homes.

If an older home has acoustic and vinyl tiles, insulation, linoleum flooring, roof felt, and shingles or stucco, asbestos is likely present.

It's harmless unless it's disturbed during a renovation or demolition.

Once disturbed, however, it may be inhaled, causing lung cancer and death. It's so dangerous it's the number one occupational killer in BC.

Yet not many people know about asbestos, and even fewer know what to do about it


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A new survey by WorkSafeBC finds:

  • half of those surveyed (51 %) believe home owners are responsible for making sure testing for asbestos is conducted before undertaking renovations;
  • one-third (36%) of those who renovated a home built before 1990 in the past five years tested for asbestos before renovations;
  • one-third (32%) didn't know to look for asbestos before doing small home renovations in a home built before 1990; and
  • just nine per cent know asbestos related disease is the number one occupational killer in BC.

To let home owners know just how dangerous asbestos is, WorkSafeBC has launched a new awareness campaign.

What you can do

  1. Before you begin a renovation or demolition on a home built before 1990, hire a qualified asbestos testing company or asbestos surveyor.
  2. If asbestos is discovered, WorkSafeBC requires a survey for hazardous materials be completed before work begins.
  3. Any hazardous materials must be identified, removed, and recycled or disposed before a building is demolished.
  4. In Metro Vancouver, before a municipality issues a demolition or renovation permit, the property owner must submit a Hazardous Materials Report Form as per WorkSafeBC regulation 20.112.

It's in everyone's best interest to comply with WorkSafeBC.

WorkSafeBC information

Asbestos awareness for home owners
Potential sources of asbestos in the home
10 Simple Steps to complying with asbestos abatement