Asbestos refers to a group of six types of naturally occurring minerals.
Asbestos minerals are made up of fine, durable fibers and are resistant to heat, fire and many chemicals.
However, any contact to the group of minerals can lead to major health problem caused by asbestos
exposure, aside from cancer, is a lung disease called asbestosis and pleural mesothelioma.
When a person breathes high levels of asbestos over time, some of the fibers lodge deep in the lungs.
Irritation caused by the fibers can eventually lead to scarring (fibrosis) in the lungs.
The asbestos fibers irritate and scar lung tissue, causing the lungs to become stiff.
This makes it difficult to breathe. As asbestosis progresses, more and more lung tissue becomes scarred.
Eventually, your lung tissue becomes so stiff that it can't contract and expand normally.
Although the severity and frequency of symptoms can vary among patients at the time of diagnosis, the most common asbestosis symptoms include:
Swelling in the neck or face / difficulty swallowing / high blood pressure / blood in sputum.
Crackling sound when breathing / shortness of breath / hyper tension / finger deformity.
Many homes built before 1980 contain asbestos in old floor tiles, ceiling tiles, roof shingles and flashing,
siding, insulation around boilers, ducts, pipes, sheeting, fireplaces, pipe cement, and joint compound used on
seams between pieces of sheetrock.
Manufacturing asbestos containing materials was banned in Canada in 1979 and has not been used in
domestic building materials since the 1980s but it was not until 31 December, 1985 that asbestos and all
products containing asbestos were banned throughout Canada.
It is illegal to import, store, supply, sell, install, use or re-use these materials.
Laws governing health and safety in Alberta's workplaces fall under the OHS Act, Regulation and Code,
and related legislation. Alberta Occupational Health and Safety is responsible for enforcing OHS laws through
inspections, investigations and prosecutions.