Alarmist and misleading

Published April 20, 2012

The headline Killer buildings [April, p. 3] was catchy. It was also alarmist and misleading.In the early 80s, my company was considering the purchase of a rental apartment building about 12 blocks south of the train station in Calgary. During our inspection, we panicked when we discovered that there were vinyl asbestos floor tiles and asbestos pipe wrap throughout the building. We hired a well-known consulting firm to tell us how much of a problem the asbestos would cause. I was surprised when the consultant didn’t seem to take things very seriously. He explained that asbestos doesn’t cause problems unless it is disturbed. He bet me that the count of asbestos fibres outside the building and a few doors down the street wouldn’t be much different than inside. He was right. The count inside was actually somewhat lower. So what useful purpose listing this building in an asbestos registry would have isn’t obvious. In any event, I’m not clear why an article on “killer buildings” would find its way into your newspaper at all.Barry F.H. GrahamToronto


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