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Mould and Asbestos: Health Risks and Symptoms
Mould and asbestos are common problems everywhere, including the Edmonton area. While both are hazardous to our health, they are of very different concerns.
Mould contamination is a concern because of various associated health and comfort implications. Moulds are common contaminants in the indoor environment; however, it is the amplification of fungi and the distribution of mould spores in higher than normal concentrations that may be of concern. High humidity, reduced ventilation, tighter buildings, and HVAC systems that have water or condensate present allow for the growth and distribution of various mould species.
Symptoms of mould exposure
Indoor mould growth has been linked to a range of chronic conditions. According to Health Canada, North American and European studies have shown a relationship between mould and the following symptoms:
- Eyes, nose and throat irritation
- Coughing and phlegm buildup
- Wheezing and shortness of breath
- Allergic reactions
People’s reaction to fungal exposure is quite varied, and although anyone can be affected, some people may be more susceptible and at greater risk, including: infants and children, the elderly, pregnant women, individuals with respiratory condition or allergies and asthma and persons with weakened immune systems.
It is important to remove any existing mould and minimize dampness in order to reduce future growth.
What is asbestos?
Asbestos is an umbrella term given to a group of minerals made up of microscopic fibres. It was extensively used in building materials a few decades ago which, in more recent years, was discovered to have a serious adverse health effects.
When building materials containing asbestos are disturbed, chipped, drilled into or allowed to deteriorate a fine dust containing asbestos fibres is released into the air. If inhaled over time, these fibres can accumulate and cause scarring and inflammation, known as asbestosis, which can affect breathing and lead to serious health problems. Respiratory problems related to asbestos exposure can take 10-25 years to appear.
Symptoms of asbestos exposure
- Shortness of breath
- Persistent cough
- Fatigue (extreme tiredness)
- Chest pain
People with asbestosis are also at a greater risk of developing lung cancer and other potentially life-threatening conditions, including:
- Pleural disease—The membrane covering the lungs becomes thicker, further contributing to breathlessness and chest discomfort.
- Mesothelioma—A type of cancer that affects the membrane covering the lungs, heart and gut.
Asbestosis can worsen over time and severe cases can significantly impact a person’s health and shorten their life expectancy.
Asbestos removal and mould inspection in Edmonton
Your best defence against exposure to mould and asbestos is to have a professional inspection and removal of it from your home or workplace. If you are in the Edmonton area, we can help.
Cascade Environmental Consulting Ltd. provides mould inspections, asbestos assessments, and air monitoring services for residents in Edmonton and the surrounding areas. Our fully qualified team maintains the highest standards in sampling procedures and air quality testing in accordance with protocols developed by the ACGIH, AIHA and Health Canada.
If you think you might have a mould or asbestos problem, we will help you eliminate it! Don’t hesitate, contact us today.