Do you work for a company that renovates buildings built prior to 1990?

Do you work for a company that renovates buildings built prior to 1990?

We had a successful first year at the Homestyle’s show with many contractors and home & building owners coming to our booth with questions about mold, asbestos and radon.

I was prompted to write this article after one particular visitor came to our trade show booth for some answers and explained his concerns of his employer not testing for asbestos on their job sites. This gentleman told me that since the downturn in the economy the well known Saskatoon company he works for has moved from constructing new buildings to demolition and renovation work, just as many other builders have done in an effort to keep their businesses afloat.

The story is that they are running into vermiculite and other questionable building materials that most likely contain asbestos and when it has been brought up by himself or other employees, they are told that the materials most likely don’t contain asbestos. They are also told that in order to have the materials tested and analyzed, it would take a couple weeks for results and that they would have no work for employees in this case. The truth is samples can be analyzed within 24 hours of testing. To me this is a very sad and scary situation to think that an employer is so desperate for work that they would be negligent and put their employees and customers life at risk just to keep busy. WorkSafe BC has stated in this youtube video that “Since the year 2000, more workers have died from asbestos disease than any other workplace injury”.

If you work for a contractor that does demolition and renovation work in buildings built prior to 1990 without first having a hazardous building materials survey/audit performed, you must speak to your OH&S committee and state your concerns. If the company does not have an OH&S committee, you may want to consider finding a different job or go directly to OH&S. Here is the Saskatchewan asbestos abatement manual & regulations, your employer and all employees should be familiar with this manual.

Key lessons to be learned from this story are as follows:

1. Before starting a renovation project, your employer must hire a professional consultant to determine whether the building has materials that contain asbestos.

2. Determine whether or not the project will potentially disturb the asbestos.

3. Determine if the materials are friable or non friable which will help determine if the project requires low, moderate or high risk abatement.

4. If the consultant finds that the renovation project could release asbestos fibres into the air, then your employer must have an abatement plan in place by working with a professional abatement contractor.

got mold?™ At the Homestyle’s Home Show in Saskatoon

got mold?™ At the Homestyle’s Home Show in Saskatoon

We invite you to come join us at Homestyle’s in Saskatoon at Prairie Land Park, 503 Ruth Street West this weekend. You can enter both of our draws, one for a free Radon test kit, and another for a mold and asbestos assessment/survey with a detailed report.

We are in row 500, directly across from Boryski Butcher Block Ltd., so you can grab some sausage, jerky or a tub of meat and cheese to snack on and don’t forget to take some home. Right beside us is Power roofing Systems and GT Showers & Doors.

There are several other great exhibitors such as J&H Builders with their featured tiny RTM homes, True North Log Homes and many more.

You can also come down and donate to the Children’s Hospital Foundation and purchase tickets from Gary Viden at Team Diabetes for your chance to win a trip for two to anywhere West Jet flies.

Wether you are renovating, thinking of renovating, looking for a tiny home (J&H Builders), need a brand new home, are in need of a new roof, new cookware (Treasure Chest Distributors), cutlery (Cutco) or anything else home related, this trade show is for you.

There’s plenty of candy, balloons and other treats for the kids, come out and show your support for local trusted contractors.

Show times for the weekend:

Saturday, March 11 10 am – 9 pm
Sunday, March 12 10 am – 5 pm

Tickets Cost:

Your ticket includes Main Stage and Bistro programming. Seating may be limited. See schedules for complete details.

Adults: $12.50
Seniors: $10.00 (55+over $8.00 on Thursday)
Children 12 & under: Free

Get your tickets at the door (CASH ONLY)

Parking:

Prairieland Park offers an abundance of free parking.

Speakers:

This year we’ve brought in HGTV stars, along with our local experts. Click HERE to see the schedule.

For more information visit the Homestyle’s web site.

We look forward to seeing you at the show. Keep posted on the winners of our two draws by checking our blog after the show.

Air Sampling Methods for Airborne Mold

Chaetomium and other mold spores

Nonviable Air Sample

Exposure to indoor airborne mold spores and toxins commonly occurs, and can cause allergic, toxic, and irritant symptoms and diseases. It is known that mold spores and hyphal fragments are normal components of both indoor and outdoor air. The difference between healthy and unhealthy environment is determined by the amount of mold, the types of mold spores present, and a persons sensitivity or susceptibility to mold. To determine whether the air is contaminated with elevated levels of mold spores and their composition, air samples are collected and sent to an accredited laboratory for analysis.

Air Sampling Methods

Culturable Air Sample

Culturable Air Sample

There are two methods for sampling air for airborne mold. Each method has it’s advantages and disadvantages. The method selected depends on the objective of the investigation. At times both methods may have to be used. The most commonly used method is to impact air on an inert clear sticky substance. Airborne particulates including mold spores, pollen, insect parts, skin cells, and others are trapped onto the sticky surface and can be visualized under a microscope in the laboratory. Samples collected using this method are often referred to as nonviable or non-culturable samples. The terms “nonviable” or “non-culturable” are rather misleading but they are supposed to mean that the samples are not cultured in the lab. Nonviable samples are collected using cassettes such as Air-O-cell, Allergenco D, Micro 5, and many other similar cassettes. The second method for airborne mold sampling involves impacting air on some growth media. These samples are normally referred to as culturable or viable samples. Once sent to the lab, these samples are incubated for mold to grow for identification. It is important to know when to collect nonviable or viable air samples. Sometimes you may need to collect both types of samples depending on the data needed which in turn depends on the purpose of investigation.

Airborne Mold Samples Results Interpretation

Interpretation of airborne mold samples results is not easy. The large number of mold species and strains that can occur in indoor environment and the large inter-individual variability in human response to mold exposure make it difficult to set exposure limits. Therefore, the determination of whether or not a building is contaminated is often based on a comparison of the mold spore concentrations and composition in the indoor air with outdoor air. The types of mold present can tell us a lot about the building condition. For example, presence of Chaetomium or Stachybotrys is an indication of existing or previous moisture damage.

Congratulations Canada!

Congratulations Canada, You have now joined the rest of the developed world! Last week Canadian parliament finally adopted legislation that has banned the use of all asbestos containing materials. Why? Well if you ask Justin Trudeau he might say something like, “Because it’s 2016”. While I joke about it, it’s not a laughing matter. I was listening to the radio on a recent trip to Calgary, and they had a government official on, and she was giving the stats on the number of people exposed to asbestos in the work place every year, the numbers were staggering. By government estimates, 150,000 Canadians are exposed to asbestos every year through their work, this number does not account for the thousands of people that do their own home renovations and unknowingly expose themselves and their loved ones to asbestos. Please take the time and listen to this segment on asbestos, and asbestos related diseases. https://omny.fm/shows/danielle-smith/full-show-xenophobic-legislature-exchange-russia-h  You will have to fast forward to the 42 minute mark. It’s worth a listen.

Happy Holidays from got mold?™

During the holiday season, our thoughts turn gratefully to those who have made our success possible. We are grateful for all of our wonderful employees, customers, suppliers and our shareholders.

It is in this spirit that we say thank you and best wishes for the holidays and New Year in 2017.