older homes with Mario Kyriacou,

No some of the Googles I read said it was put in the mix. after they had soaked the hair and beat the lumps out of the hair.
I was told this same thing many years ago.

Good article Mario, you guys just helped me learn about the horse hair and arsenic. thanks .

Thanks and you are welcome Jerry!!

I just purchased the actual newspaper, this article is half the page!!

Remember rotary saw only so you do not destroy the old plaster.
NACHI where we all help each other No place like it.

Soak it down!

Interesting topic seeing I personally demo this stuff every other project.

I thought I would supply this to see if it helps.

The only sure way to find out is have it tested.

Horsehair in Old Plaster May be Arsenic-Laden, Investigator Warns

A Delaware engineer investigating old tannery sites is warning remodelers of a possible risk of arsenic exposure from old plaster that contains animal hair.

Tasked with evaluating former tannery sites in Delaware, Kevin Hansen of the environmental firm Tetra Tech looked into the history of tanning in the area, which dates back to at least the early 1800s and continued up to the 1950s. Historical documents and interviews with surviving workers revealed that the leather-making industry routinely used arsenic to strip hair off animal hides. On the side, says Hansen, the tanneries sold horsehair to the plaster industry.



Horsehair used in old plaster may have been soaked with arsenic, making plaster demolition particularly harmful to remodelers. “The hides were soaked in a slurry of lime and arsenic,” he explains, “which was enough to soften the hair and cause it to begin to fall out. The workers would scrape the remaining hair off, so they were soaking themselves in the arsenic.” Tannery workers often developed a malady called “blackfoot disease” from the arsenic exposure.

“The waste product was a cake containing horsehair, lime, and arsenic,” says Hansen. “The arsenic amounted to a few percent by weight of the total mass of lime.” Plasterers mixed the whole mess into their product, he says, but the proportions were held as a trade secret.

It’s clear that the tannery’s lime cakes were toxic, says Hansen: “Their other big customer was the folks selling rat poison.” But he can’t say for sure whether today’s remodelers risk any harmful exposure: He’s not a health expert, and he hasn’t tested any old plaster. “That would be the next step,” he says.

“This is the first indication I’ve seen in the literature that this is a potential risk,” says Hansen. “It obviously raises a whole lot of questions that I can’t answer. I can’t say that the presence of hair means that there is arsenic, because I can’t support that. But one has to wonder, where did the hair come from? And in this case the obvious answer is the tanneries. My hope is that people will be spurred to caution, and that people will investigate.”

Any good industrial lab can measure arsenic levels in plaster for about $50, says Hansen. And given the known risks of silicates and allergens, he points out, dust protection is common sense anyway for workers doing demolition. “My intention is just to get the word out,” he says. “Ninety percent of the benefit is simply warning people.”

I thought this article fit the debate.

Marcel :slight_smile: :smiley:

Marcel, very good info! As usual! Thank you.

I thought this article fit the debate.

Marcel :smile: :grin:
Thanks Marcel!!


Aren’t you glad I asked? :slight_smile:


I was told this many times, including from our friend Roy. I have a lab report from a sample and for the life of me I can’t find it. I will post it here when I do.

Great job as usual in posting this fine article, Roy.
Thanks for all you do.:smiley:

I find it amazing that both you and Roy failed to mention Mario in your praise.

All Roy did was to ride the coat tails of a fine inspector and to bask in his glory!

Take a careful look at older homes TheStar.com - living - Take a careful look at older homes
Faulty wiring and insufficient insulation common problems

March 22, 2008
Heather Greenwood Davis
Special to The Star
If you’re a first-time home buyer considering the purchase of an older home you’ll want to have some extra money at your disposal before signing on the dotted line.
At the very least, you should be prepared to fork out a few hundred dollars for a home inspection. At the worst, you may need to budget thousands for unexpected upgrades and repairs.
So says Mario Kyriacou, the 2007 recipient of the NACHI (National Association of Certified Home Inspectors) award for Inspector of the Year. The Toronto inspector (360degreeshomeinspections.com) says that while he recommends inspections for newly built homes as well, the potential hazards in an older home make it a necessity.
Kyriacou says he routinely runs into faulty wiring, insufficient insulation and poor renovations when inspecting homes that clients were just about to purchase.
“It makes them aware of the condition,” says Kyriacou. “They can budget for upgrading the services or decide not to purchase that home altogether. My job is to inform my clients to make the correct decision in purchasing their home. They have a budget and they’re burdened if they have to unexpectedly upgrade the furnace.”
And not all of the things he finds are simply financial hazards. Older home builders often used materials that would make any homeowner wary. (Asbestos anyone?)
Here are some of the main culprits that you’ll want to ask about before falling in love with that cute vintage down the street:
1**. Knob and tube wiring **
**How you’ll know: **“Typically a knob-and-tube home would be built in the 1950s or before with 60-amp service. It’s something that you can usually see in the furnace room,” says Kyriacou. But watch out for the “bait and switch” he warns, where the previous homeowner has simply updated what you can see: essentially putting a shiny cover on an old system.
“I recently did a home inspection where it was a 60-amp service but they had installed a new breaker panel in the basement and labelled it as 100 amps,” he says. “All the wiring in the electrical panel was all updated, but when I went into the furnace room and dug around some more I saw that the knob-and-tube circuits were still active.”
**If you take it: **Be prepared to pay. “It’s not enough power for today’s homes,” says Kyriacou who points out that newer homes typically have between 125 and 200 amps.
You may also have trouble getting home insurance: " Most carriers do not want to underwrite a policy with any knob and tube in the home," he says. “A few carriers will carry you if you have less than 5 per cent knob and tube. They’ll underwrite the policy at a premium.”
**2. Aluminum wiring **
**How you’ll know: **“It consists of black fabric covered wiring and is typically found in homes built in the 1970s,” says Kyriacou.
**If you take it: **There’s an increased risk of an electrical fire, particularly in homes where some of the wiring, but not all, has been updated or replaced. “It’s something that most homeowners don’t realize,” he explains. “When they go to Home Depot or Loews to purchase wiring now it’s all copper and they mix and match copper and aluminum. This is not good: Aluminum corrodes when in contact with some other metals and copper is one of them.” Changing the wiring will cost several thousand dollars depending on the size of your home.
**3. Missing insulation in attic **
**How you’ll know: **The house seems drafty and energy bills are high.
**If you take it: **Be prepared to spend the money required to upgrade it so you’re comfortable. Though the missing insulation may not be a building code violation it can add significant amounts to your heating and cooling costs.
**4. Hazardous material **
**How you’ll know: **Chances are you won’t. It will take a trained eye and some tests to be sure, but older homes are more susceptible, says Kyriacou. “In the older days asbestos was used widely in wrapping supply ducts in a home,” he explains. “A lot of the homes used hydronic heating – radiators – and those pipes are wrapped in asbestos wrap and that can be potentially dangerous if disturbed.”
Vermiculate insulation can also be problematic if tampered with. And then there’s the arsenic.
“In older homes in the plaster they used horse hair to bond the plaster together and horse hair was treated with arsenic,” says Kyriacou. “I see this all the time, people taking saws to cut door openings or remove walls entirely in the home without taking precautions to wear respirators or masks.”
**If you take it: **You’ll want to factor in the cost of having professionals handle any renovations you have planned.
“The average homeowner doesn’t know how to handle this stuff and protect the rest of the home from contamination,” says Kyriacou.
**5. Oil-to-gas furnace conversions **
**How you’ll know: **The telltale sign is two holes into the foundation wall of the home or a pipe sticking out of the ground in the backyard. “Often the connecting tubing has been removed but the tank itself is still underground,” says Kyriacou.
**If you take it: **" It can be really costly to remove an oil tank that is leaking into the backyard," he warns. “Often times, the current owner didn’t even know it was there.”
Reach Heather at heathergreenwooddavis@yahoo.com.

Thank You Mr. Canadian Home Inspector for being observant, I bet you are a great Home Inspector!

Thank you for your kind words but Roy Cooke “Riding your coat tails” should have been clear to even a “Rookie Inspector.”

Look how he tried to take credit and steal an award for something that he did not invent.

He even went so far as to request that his “Fellow Committee members” recommend him for the “Inventions & Innovations” that he clearly was trying to steal!


For all the respect I give to all of my Canadian Inspectors, you sir are demising the credability of what is trying to keep the relationship of all.
On a similar token, your statements are in grave erroneous state of all.

Please use your own name and stop demoralizing my Canadian Friends.

If you can not speak the truth nor say anything nice, please refrain from saying anything.

Thank you sir.

Marcel :frowning:

This is like what’s going on at my house right now. We have a House Cat and a Yard Cat, both of them are growling and hissing at each other thru the glass, and it really pisses them off, that they can’t get to each other! The other day, they managed to break a glass in the bedroom. If they break my Picture Window, I am going to tie their tails together and hang them on the clothes line! But it will be too late then, hunh! Where are those Coyotes when you need them?

Marcel you hit the nail on the head:
No Name = No Respect

Unsigned opinions are like unsigned cheques - worthless.

You should be ashamed of yourself!

YOU and Roy Cooke have done great damage to NACHI!

It is obvious that YOU and ROY COOKE only process nominations of people that you like and YOUR friends!

*]You should be embarrassed and YOU should resign from the TAINTED “Awards” committee!

Marcel you hit the nail on the head:
No Name = No Respect

Unsigned opinions are like unsigned cheques - worthless.