What is asbestos?
Asbestos is a strong, fire-resistant mineral fibre.
In the past, asbestos was used as insulation against heat or noise and for fire protection. It was also added to materials such as cement and plaster to give them more structural strength.
Until the early 1980s, many products containing asbestos were used in house construction. Some products, such as asbestos-containing vermiculite insulation, were used in homes right up until the late 1980s. When you are renovating or demolishing an older house, there is a high probability of encountering asbestos- containing materials.
If asbestos-containing materials are in good condition and left intact, they do not pose
a significant danger of releasing asbestos fibres into the air you breathe. However, these materials are hazardous when they deteriorate or are disturbed, such as when they are handled, sanded, drilled into, or broken up so that they crumble. To avoid disturbing asbestos-containing materials, you must know where they are before you begin renovations.
Renovating or demolishing houses containing asbestos products can release asbestos fibres, which are extremely fine and can stay in the air for hours.