No Airborne Asbestos Found in Sydney Public Housing Units

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first_imgAir quality tests conducted at two public housing complexes in Sydney over the weekend show no airborne asbestos at either location. An air quality consultant has confirmed that test results indicate no signs of asbestos in the air at Rose Terrace or May Terrace public housing units. David Muggah, president of Atlantic Indoor Audit Company in Sydney, conducted eight hours of air monitoring on Sunday, April 9, in each of three public units — two occupied units and one vacant. Samples from all three came back without a trace of airborne asbestos. Some tenants have expressed concerns about the possibility of asbestos in the insulation becoming airborne when they were accessing their attics or when maintenance work is carried out. “To duplicate the effects of workers who may have disturbed the insulation in previous work, I opened the attic in a vacant unit and intentionally disrupted the insulation to collect a material sample. During the next eight hours of monitoring, no asbestos was detected in the air,” Mr. Muggah said. “These test results are very reassuring,” said Joan McKeough, director of the Cape Breton Island Housing Authority, “but we have more work to do. We want our tenants to feel safe in their homes. Our tenants’ health, safety and their concerns are also this housing authority’s concerns.” The Cape Breton Housing Authority is notifying tenants of the two communities of the test results today, April 11, along with any staff and outside contractors who may have worked on some of public housing units in question. The housing authority is also holding meetings in both Ashby and Whitney Pier for area residents to address any questions or concerns the tenants may have about the testing. The first meeting will be today, April 11, at St. Alban’s Church Hall, St. Alban Avenue, in Whitney Pier from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. The second meeting will be at the Bi-Centennial Gym, Cabot Street, Sydney, from 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. A report from October 2005 indicated that the vermiculite insulation in attics at Rose Terrace in Ashby contained asbestos particles. Public Health Canada and environmental experts say asbestos found in vermiculite insulation is not a risk as long as it is not disturbed. Additional testing is being conducted to identify the quantity of asbestos in the insulation. Those results are expected in seven to 10 days. A comprehensive follow-up plan to deal with the insulation is being developed. As an initial step, the housing authority will seal off the attic hatches in all units and make them air-tight, ensuring the insulation cannot be disturbed. In addition, ceilings adjacent to the attic, and any other areas where vermiculite insulation may be present, will be inspected and sealed. The housing authority will inform residents of the next steps in the asbestos management program. Seven housing authorities provide affordable, quality housing to about 20,000 Nova Scotia families and seniors on behalf of the Department of Community Services.last_img

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