1. Drywall

I am sure that everyone has mentioned this one before, and for good reason. Drywall, or the joint compound which is used to seal drywall is the number one major culprit for asbestos in the home. Before we knew that asbestos was horrible for us, asbestos was added to the mudding to improve strength and flame resistance. Whether it’s patching up a small hole or remodeling your entire main floor it’s best to get your drywall tested by a professional asbestos inspector at ASE Services.


2. Ceiling Texture


Love it or hate it (I don’t know a single person who loves it) ceiling texture is a staple in homes built before the 80’s. Almost everyone I know that’s buying an old home wants to get rid of this stuff. Worst part is, lots of times these textures were applied as spray on asbestos insulation. If you’re thinking about purchasing an older property and want to get rid of the popcorn ceiling, it’s best to contact the professionals at ASE Services and confirm if you’re dealing with asbestos.

3. Vermiculite Insulation

Often found in attics, vermiculite insulation is a mineral that looks a lot like tiny bits of gravel and was used in the 1960’s-1980’s to insulate homes. Although the vermiculite itself does not contain asbestos, the mineral was mined in the same open pit as asbestos, causing the insulation to become contaminated. Given that new, old, contaminated, and safe vermiculite are identical it’s best avoids disturbing the material yourself and call an inspector at ASE Services to sample the material.

4. Flooring


When you step into an old home built before the 1980’s and see four different types of flooring, you already know you are in for a few renovations. Whether it is vinyl sheet flooring or ceramic tile, the material along with the adhesive can contain deadly asbestos fibers. Often in older homes, previous renovations were conducted by placing new flooring on top of old flooring, like a morbid crepe cake of sorts. This often leads to homeowners discovering multiple layers of flooring mid renovation. When you come across any old flooring make sure to give a professional asbestos inspector at ASE Services a call.

5. Caulking


Asbestos being both waterproof, fireproof, and extremely durable made it the perfect material to be used for window caulking. Like other asbestos containing material, the fibers cannot be released into the air unless the caulking is damaged and requires removal. If you are thinking about replacing those old heat leaking windows it is best to have an asbestos inspection done by ASE Services on any suspect areas.

6. Roofing and Vinyl


As we have discussed previously, asbestos is a material that is both waterproof, fireproof, and durable, essentially a perfect material to be used on the exterior of homes. Whether it is stucco, siding, or roof tile, asbestos could have been used to reinforce those materials. Whenever you are unsure, contact ASE Services to grab a sample for analysis before proceeding with demolition.

7. Pipe Insulation


Often Asbestos pipe wrap is a paper-like material located on older pipe elbows and connective joints. Like all asbestos containing material, left undisturbed pose no threat. But how many people do we know have had a pipe burst in the spring. The constant heating and cooling of water in pipes can often lead to cracking. When you run into a situation where you might need to replace your old pipes give ASE Services a call so we can test to see if there is any asbestos.

According to a recent KPMG Poll: 72% of millennials say that their goal is to own a home, but 46% say that this is a pipe dream. With the steady decline in home prices as well as increased first-time buyer incentives this pipe dream might just turn into a reality. Nevertheless, buying your first home is an extremely huge undertaking.


Now imagine this: you have checked over all your finances, gotten approved for your mortgage and now you are ready to start house hunting! You come across this beautiful small two-story home located in a well-established neighborhood. Everything is perfect, you are even considering a few small renovations! However, the year the home was built: 1975. Uh oh. Then you remember that one time you heard about Asbestos.


What is Asbestos?
Asbestos is a cancer-causing mineral used in many common building materials between the 1940’s and 1970s. Virtually indestructible and non-flammable, Asbestos saw a huge rise in popularity and could be found in many different building materials such as:


  • Drywall
  • Floor-tile
  • Wall and Texture
  • Ceiling Tile
  • Vermiculite

Left undisturbed Asbestos is harmless and will not become airborne. But I already know what you are thinking when you see 4 different floor tiles and popcorn ceiling, trust me we have all been there. Whether it is renovation, emergency response to flood, or getting rid of it for safety reasons, removing and disposing asbestos safely and legally is a huge undertaking. The cost of asbestos removal can reach upwards of $15,000. That number is not something that lots of first-time buyer account for.


Aren’t Asbestos tests generally included in home inspections?
Short answer is no, not often. Although some home inspectors may be trained in identifying asbestos, but most do not have the qualification to do so. Often when asked they will generally contract this work out to a hygienist or environmental consultant. Our suggestion is, if you are in Alberta looking into purchasing a house built prior to the 1980’s give us a call and we’ll see what we can do.

Remember, it is always better to be safe and prepared before taking that leap into home ownership.

Since opening its doors in Calgary in 2005, ASE Services has successfully launched offices in Edmonton and Lethbridge. Now we are excited to announce that ASE Services has a new office in Red Deer, Alberta located at 4915 – 54 Street.


John MacDonald, CEO of ASE Services, says “We feel it is important to offer businesses in Red Deer and Central Alberta as an alternative to the current environmental health and safety companies in the area. We have earned an excellent reputation because of the level of service and expertise that we provide for our clients. We work with our customers to achieve their project goals.”


ASE Services offers the following extensive list of hazardous materials and hygiene consulting services:


Project Management

  • Identify Hazardous Materials (ie: Asbestos, Mould, Lead, PCB’s, etc)
  • Develop a Building Management Plan to Prevent or Control Occupant Exposure
  • Create Scope of Work and Tender Package for Renovation or Demolition Work
  • Contractor Walkthroughs, Selection, and Hiring
  • Air Monitoring, Inspections, and Procedural Review During Project
  • Project Close-out – Final Package Including all Clearances Necessary for Re-occupancy or Disposal


Hazardous Building Materials Assessments/Surveys


  • Phase I Environmental Assessments
  • Phase II Environmental Assessments
  • Hazardous Materials Surveys (ie: Asbestos, Mould, Lead, PCB’s, etc)
  • Grow-op Remediation Assessments


Industrial Hygiene Services (Testing for Worker Exposure to Hazardous Contaminants)


  • Oil & Gas
  • Construction
  • Industrial
  • Commercial


Indoor Air Quality Monitoring


  • Asbestos, Mould, CO, CO2, Relative Humidity, VOCs, etc




  • Asbestos Worker Certification Course
  • Awareness Courses (Asbestos, Mould, Confined and Restricted Space, TDG)
  • Client Specific Safety Training (Due Diligence, Safety Program Development, Roles and Responsibilities)


Contact Us today at 587-377-8977 or toll free at 1-877-520-0963 to assist with your project.

Mould is a common issue around the world. However, there are some cities, or climates that have better conditions to harvest mould growth. Unfortunately Alberta and more specifically, Calgary and Edmonton are two cities that experience extremely cold winters and hot summers – perfect conditions for mould growth.

These cold winters and hot summers contribute to the creation a perfect environment for mould. When ice and frost are on your windows they create moisture that often seeps down your walls. With winter often lasting over four months this can lead to entire walls being warped with mould.

Cold conditions also cause issues with pipes. With cold weather pipes can burst or break and leak moisture into the home without you even noticing. This leakage can also create a perfect environment for mould. The best way to deal with moisture in your home or office is to have an air quality specialist investigate the quality of air to ensure you are not being exposed to mould. To read more of the article Calgary Home Inspectors: Why Mold Is More Likely to Occur in Calgary follow the link

It is hard to manage the unknown, so managers first must know the hazardous materials present in their departments and facilities, including quantities and locations.


Managers can achieve this goal through an audit of hazardous materials. Managers can start by having employees generate a list of chemicals purchased for use in the department, perform a walkthrough inspection of the department, and focus on storage areas, tool kits, and carts. Once inspectors have identified chemicals, managers can get material safety data sheets (MSDS) and review them to determine if the chemicals are hazardous.


This review should ensure:

• Labels clearly identify original product names or full chemical names and hazards
• Containers of non-hazardous substances, such as water, are labelled explicitly to avoid confusion
• Incompatible chemicals, including solids, are segregated by U.S. Department of Transportation hazard classes at a minimum
• All segregated chemicals — liquids — are kept in secondary containment
• No hazardous materials are stored next to or above sinks
• All chemical containers are capped and sealed, except when workers are adding or removing materials from them
• Flammable liquids, including flammable liquid wastes, are stored outside of a storage cabinet if more than 5-10 gallons
• Employees have completed hazard-communication training
• Full-size compressed-gas cylinders are chained or strapped in a one-third, two-thirds manner.

Managers also should identify chemicals in containers, including pipes, as well as chemicals generated during maintenance operations.

Organizations in various industries use hazardous materials regularly. With the use of hazardous materials comes the concern of proper storage of these materials. They need to be stored in a methodical manner in which management and staff alike are able to determine which materials are stored where, how long they have been there and what they are used for.


Above simply complying and meeting provincial or federal set regulations, management should keep track of all materials they have on site and specifically those that may present health risks to employees or customers if stored improperly. Basic ideas to achieve safety with hazardous materials are outlined in the article below and include ideas such as; labelling all containers, keeping all hazardous materials away from sinks or drains and have all employees educated in handling the materials. Understanding the importance of proper handling and care of hazardous materials is imperative to the health and safety of employees and customers.


To read the article and management tips on dealing with hazardous materials in the workplace, click the link below:



Did you know that over 250 different species of mould have been indentified in Canadian buildings? While not all of this mould is hazardous to your health, the majority does have a negative effect on your health and on the indoor air quality of your office, school or home.

Mould can be grown and harvested in a controlled manner that we can use to our advantage to fight off viruses, as is the case with the mould species penicillin. The more common case however, is mould that negatively impacts our health. This mould can be found within the walls of our offices, buildings and schools, it can be toxic and cause harm to everyone who is exposed to it. It is these types of mould everyone needs to be aware of and educated on.
The Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation recently released an article discussing several important areas of mould that you should understand. In the article are facts and information regarding the types of mould, what makes mould, how much mould is growing, when and how to seek professional help, why moulds are a concern, when it is a mould problem, how to tell if it’s mould and how to clean up small mould problems yourself. ASE Services works alongside contractors to ensure proper indoor air quality levels are met and to aid in suggestions regarding any necessary removal or further steps to deal with the issue.

The article also outlines steps to prevent mould and steps to mould-proof your home.

Mould and mildew are often discussed together. Why is this you ask? Mould and mildew are similar fungi that both spread in spores and thrive on moisture. They are similar in many ways however they are also very different.


In terms of color, mildew is typically gray or white and has a powdery or downy texture. The powdery mildew is the type you would find on flowers while the downy mildew is more commonly seen on agriculture products such as potatoes or grapes.


In comparison, the color of mould varies but it can be black, green, red, or blue. Mould often looks fuzzy or slimy and will eat through structural building materials such as wood. Mould also contains toxins called mycotoxins that may cause an allergic reaction or other illness in some people. As mentioned in previous blogs, symptoms of mould exposure may include headaches, asthma, and coughing. Irritation of the eyes and throat may also occur as a result of breathing mould toxins.


While mildew can often be removed with household cleaners, mould will continue to grow if it is not properly contained and removed. To ensure that you are not breathing in harmful mould toxins in your home or office have an indoor air quality inspection done. If you are concerned that your office may have a mould issue ASE Services does inspect large buildings in complexes.

Mesothelioma is a form of cancer that covers the internal organs in the body. With about 2000 diagnosed cases each year, it is not one of the most common forms of cancer, however it can be fatal. The primary cause of this cancer is exposure to asbestos. With 80% of cases involving those who have worked with or around asbestos, there is no confusion regarding the connection.


This statistic alone should encourage those working with asbestos to exercise proper safety procedures when dealing with the hazardous material. If you are employed in a position that requires you to work with or alongside asbestos, be sure that you have received the proper training to deal with the material. Short two day courses are offered by ASE Services to educate you on the proper handling and use of asbestos.


To learn more about mesothelioma cancer including the symptoms and diagnoses, click here.

ASE Services successfully remediates another grow-op in Calgary, Alberta

Calgary, Alberta (March 1st, 2011) – Alberta Safety and Environmental Services (ASE Services) successfully finished another grow-op remediation in the City of Calgary that was passed by Alberta Health Services.

“At ASE Services we use our knowledge and expertise to accomplish the remediation process correctly the first time,” explains CEO of ASE Services John MacDonald, “90 percent of companies that conduct grow-op remediations don’t know what they’re doing and the remediation doesn’t get passed by Alberta Health Services.” ASE Services conducts several grow-op remediations’ each year, all of which have been passed by Alberta Health Services.

The grow-op remediation took place in a 1.5 million dollar home located in the community of Lynx Ridge in Calgary, Alberta. “Every aspect of the entire environmental remediation process was managed by ASE Services,” concludes Director of Corporate Services at ASE Services, Tara Viccars.

About ASE Services

Alberta Safety and Environmental Services (ASE Services) is a professional, experienced, and results oriented environmental health, safety, and hygiene company. We specialize in helping our clients identify and address hazardous material concerns, with a focus on mould and asbestos. With over 30 years of professional industry expertise, ASE Services has successfully assisted with, and/or managed, over 1500 hazardous materials projects that range from small scale residential to million dollar commercial contracts.