Designated Substance surveys

Eleven substances are “designated” in Ontario, which include acrylonitrile, coke oven emissions, arsenic, asbestos, benzene, ethylene oxide, isocyanates, lead, mercury, silica and vinyl chloride. Four of these designated substances are commonly found in building materials used in the construction of homes, offices and commercial buildings.



These 4 materials are:


Asbestos – Found in many buildings materials;


Lead – Found in paint coatings, solder, bell & spigot pipe fittings, etc.;


Mercury – Found in thermometers, pressure gauge's, electrical switches, relays, etc. ; and


Silica – Found in concrete, masonry, stone, refractory, etc.


A Designated Substance Survey (DSS) is required when renovating or demolition of a building. Designated substances found in building materials might cause danger to people working in the building as well as those in the immediate area of where proper precautions are not employed.


The Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act requires that a list of all designated substances at a project site be provided to all bidders at the tendering stage. A Designated Substance Survey (DSS) identifies the designated substances present, their locations and concentrations.


Ontario's Designated Substances

Occupational diseases

Chemical hazards

Occupational diseases,” which are disorders of health that result from conditions in the workplace, typically exposures to physical, chemical and also psychological hazards. These are environmental factors that occur in concentrated form in workplaces; treating and preventing these diseases forms the purview of occupational medicine.

A distinction can be drawn with “work-related diseases”, conditions that may arise from, or be exacerbated by, a person’s working conditions but that also reflect other aspects of their life. For example, cardiovascular disease or low back pain may develop over the long term and might have occurred in the absence of work strain, but may also be aggravated by a person’s work.

The field of “occupational health” involves both the management of occupational diseases and their prevention and the improvement of work settings in general . It is based on a simple relation:


can cause irritant contact dermatitis. Skin can be destroyed by strong acids, alkalis, high concentrations of formaldehyde, strong ammonia, chromic acid and others. Some chemicals cause cumulative damage through continued exposure; common examples include kerosene, turpentine, carbon tetrachloride, and detergents. Metals, such as beryllium, chromium, cobalt, copper, gold, silver and zinc can produce skin reactions.

You will encounter a wide range of occupational conditions

Lung disease such as asthma, hypersensitivity pneumonitis (like hot tub), lipid pneumonias and chronic reduction in lung function;


Skin effects such as irritant and allergic contact dermatitis, folliculitis, oil acne (due to blockage of the hair follicles by grease and various dusts) and neoplastic lesions: papillomas, keratoses and skin cancers;

Increased risk of larynx, rectum, pancreas, skin, scrotum, and bladder cancer. The time-delay between exposure and the appearance of a cancer is often 20+ years, so you will have to assess exposures for the mid-1980s or earlier.


Psychological disorders (almost half of all claims)

Musculoskeletal injuries and diseases

Lung disease

Cancer *

Traumatic injuries

Occupational cardiovascular disease

Reproductive disorders

Neurotoxic disorders



Get your survey done today

Canada sees 4 to 5 workplace deaths each working day; 1,097 work-related deaths were recorded in 2005, or roughly 1 death per 15,000 workers per year. (Reference: Centre for the Study of Living Standards. See also and search for occupational injuries and diseases)



 The main routes of exposure are:


by inhalation (hence affecting the respiratory tract and lungs),

by skin contact (or mucosa),

by ingestion (GI), or


HAZARD 1,097

Get your designated substance survey done by a professional. Canadian Invironmental Services will send out a qualified  team to give you the piece of mind you need and save you and your people form any unnecessary harm.




10485 keele st.

Toronto, Ontario

N2G 3M7

Toll Free: 1 (888) 388 MOLD





626 Cataraqui Woods Drive,

Suite 11, Kingston, Ontario

K7P 1T8

Toll Free: 1 (888) 388 MOLD



Bradford-Orillia North

118 Lee Avenue

Bradford, Ontario

L3Z 1A9

Phone: (905) 716 2275

Fax: (905) 775 5078

Toll Free: 1 (888) 388 MOLD




207 Madison Avenue South, Unit #2

Kitchener, Ontario

N2G 3M7

Toll Free: 1 (888) 388 MOLD




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Designated Substance surveys