724, Bériault, suite B,
Longueuil (Québec) J4G 1R8

1250, av. de la Station, casier 6
Shawinigan, Qc
G9N 8K9

François Hamel, geologist



Patrick Usereau, geologist



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Asbestos is a generic term used to designate six different fibrous minerals which can be found in nature. For many years, these fibrous minerals were used in the making of numerous construction materials, due to their unique properties.

Asbestos is most commonly found in  :

  • Plaster or joint compound
  • Insulating materials in an attic (such as vermiculite)
  • Cement or concrete
  • Floor or ceiling tiles
  • Stucco decorative finishes
  • Flocking
  • Pipe insulating materials

However, asbestos may be found in materials which do not appear on this list.



At home

Asbestos is a threat to health when the fibers are disturbed and become airborne. In other words, asbestos is dangerous only if people inhale the fibers which are suspended in the air. Fibers may also be released into the air if the materials in which they are found deteriorate. 

If it is suspected that materials in your home contain asbestos, it is very important to make sure they are safe and do not show signs of wear. Furthermore, when considering renovations, we recommend you have these materials tested beforehand to avoid contaminating the entire household.


The fixed rate for sample testing is 145$ plus applicable taxes, regardless of material type. In case more than one sample is required, the rate for each extra sample is 90$ plus applicable taxes.

Samples may be brought in directly to our laboratory or mailed to the same postal address, form anywhere in the Province of Quebec. In that case, the sample identification form (available here) must be printed, completed and included with the sample. Because it features instructions for sampling, the form should be read carefully.

Samples must be mailed to our laboratory at 724-B, rue Bériault in Longueuil (Quebec), J4G 1R8.

Have you been exposed to asbestos?

Illnesses due to asbestos are usually the result of frequent and prolonged exposure to the fibers. The disease might only manifest a long time, possibly a decade, after the period of exposure. Here are a few tips if you suspect asbestos exposure:

  • Speak to a health care professionnal;
  • Avoid being re-exposed to any type of asbestos or reduce exposure to a minimum;

  • Avoid smoking, second-hand smoke or any other pulmonary irritant. Combined exposure to asbestos and cigarette smoke increases the risks of lung cancer.

    Translated from: Isolant de vermiculite pouvant contenir de l’amiante amphibolique, Votre santé et vous (Santé Canada)


Sample analysis is done following the IRSST 244 standard. This method, using microscopy, is used to determine the level of asbestos in a given material. In compliance with Quebec regulations, any asbestos dust or particles originating from friable materials must be submitted to certain regulations in regards to its manipulation and disposal, if concentrations in asbestos equal or exceed 0,1%. 

Effects on health

The effects of prolonged and unsafe exposure to asbestos on human health are well documented. The fibers are easily inhaled and carried to the lower parts of the lungs. From there, they may cause pulmonary fibrosis (asbestosis) as well as changes to the mucous membrane of the thoracic cavity (pleura). These health issues may lead to diminished pulmonary function and death. Long-term inhalation of asbestos fibers also increases the risk of lung cancer and Mesothelioma.

Cardiomegaly could also appear as an indirect effect due to an increased resistance of blood flow in the lungs.

Individuals are more likely to develop asbestos related health issues :

  • if they are exposed to higher levels of asbestos;
  • if they are exposed for prolonged periods of time;
  • if they are frequently exposed.

Translated from: Réponses SST portant sur l’amiante (CCHST) 

Risk management

A risk management plan is necessary when manipulating or using materials containing asbestos. The objective is to prevent asbestos fibers from going airborne or to reduce the occurence to a minimum. Employers must insure that a risk management program is devised and implemented in a way which meets with the requirements of regulations established by the relevant local authorities.

In general, a risk management plan concerns the following :

  • Confining workspaces concerned with asbestos.
  • Preventing asbestos fibers from going airborne.
  • Enginering measures, work methods, hygiene precautions as well as proper installations must be put in place in order to manage the risks of workers being exposed to asbestos.
  • Supplying workers with the proper instructions regarding expected tasks, including information about the risks as well as the necessary containment measures.
  • Providing, using and maintaining personal protective equipment and clothing.
  • Necessary methods and procedures for the monitoring of asbestos levels in the air and of workers being exposed.
  • Necessary decontamination methods, such as for workers’ clothing.
  • Sanitation and disposal of asbestos waste and related waste materials.

Translated from : Réponses SST portant sur l’amiante (CCHST)