Asbestos was a common and cheap material often used as a thermal and acoustic insulation decades ago. This is why this mineral is still present in many homes, schools and buildings built during the last century.

Unfortunately, asbestos is a dangerous material. It is now known that asbestos fibers, when suspended in the air (in the form of dust in particular), can cause serious respiratory problems to those who inhale them.

Enviro Urgence values the protection of the environment and values your wellbeing too. That is why we present an article in which we explain how to safely remove asbestos.


Types of asbestos-containing materials

When it comes to getting rid of asbestos, it is important to be able to identify it in order to remove it properly and effectively. There are two categories of asbestos: friable and non-friable (bound).

Learn to recognize it on contaminated materials in order to safely remove it.

Non-friable asbestos (bonded asbestos)

Non-friable or bonded asbestos gets its name from the fact that it is bound to another material: cement or glue. In this type of asbestos, the asbestos fibers are less numerous and closely attached, which makes it less of a health hazard if it is not exposed (i.e. broken, sawed, sanded or high pressure washed). If you do expose or damage this material, be sure to have your airways covered to avoid breathing in the released asbestos dust.

Also called fiber cement, asbestos cement is known as Eternit and is often found in the form of:

• Corrugated sheet

• Roofing slate

• Façade

• Gutters and other drainpipes

• Under roofing sheets

It is often bound and found in materials such as coatings, mortars, sealants, glues, joints, bitumen and paints.

It is also found in certain floor coverings such as plastic, lime and asbestos-based floor tiles. Since asbestos cement has been banned since the 1970s, it is normally no longer found in today’s materials.

Friable asbestos (loose asbestos)

This type of asbestos is made of fibers that are not bound to any other material, which makes them highly volatile in the air leading them directly to our lungs. This makes it a very dangerous type of asbestos for our health.

Friable asbestos is mainly found in the insulation of heating pipes or chimneys, but also in under-roofing, in attic wall plates, in boilers or in flat roofing, etc. 

It is most often found in the form of:

• Flocking: asbestos fiber coating used to protect against fire hazards, often found in public buildings or apartments. It can be recognized by its fluffy and crumbly aspect and white or even grey color. This material may contain loose fibers that can be dispersed into the air because of wear and tear or handling

• Insulation: insulation of heating elements such as boilers

• Woven asbestos fiber: found in various household items such as ironing board covers, oven mitts or fireproof clothing

How to properly isolate asbestos waste

The danger of asbestos lies mainly in its volatility. It is most harmful in the form of dust. If you need to dispose of asbestos, there are a few precautions to take, especially if you are doing construction work.

1. Separate and store the asbestos waste

As mentioned in section 3.23.10 of the Safety Code for the construction industry, before you consider sending your construction debris to a landfill, it is important to separate asbestos-containing debris from other debris in a suitable airtight container.

It is also important to dispose of the debris by using a vacuum cleaner with a high-efficiency filter or wetting the debris with a wetting agent. If your renovation or construction work is done outdoors, the employer must prevent the dispersion of contaminated material debris using membranes.

2. Label the contaminated materials

It is also important to label any container with asbestos materials as required by section 3.23.13 of the Safety Code.

The label must be permanently attached and easily read the following:

• Asbestos-containing material

• Toxic by inhalation

• Keep container tightly closed

• Do not breathe the dust

Disposing of asbestos in a certified landfill

Once the asbestos-containing materials (ACM) are placed in properly marked airtight containers, it is possible to dispose of them in a landfill.

Before you go to the nearest landfill, be aware that the transportation of ACM must be done in accordance with the Transport of Dangerous Goods Regulations from the Ministère des Transports du Québec. This means that you may need to have your waste transported by a company that has a certification to transport hazardous materials to dispose of the asbestos.

You should know that many landfill sites do not accept this type of classified dangerous good. You should choose a site that has a special authorization to bury waste containing asbestos such as: floor coverings (tiles), asbestos-based insulation and flocking, false ceilings, coatings and glues.


Entrust a company to remove your asbestos material

Asbestos is a dangerous material and to limit the health risks it presents, the management of this unsafe material must be done in full compliance with regulations or else you may face a fine.

If you want to get rid of waste containing asbestos in a safe and compliant manner, take no chances and entrust it to a company authorized to do so.

Please note that at Enviro Urgence, our team specialized in environmental waste management and industrial cleaning does not offer asbestos removal services and cannot dispose of asbestos-containing waste.

Contact us to learn more about our services.