What Makes Some Old Homes In Winnipeg Contaminated?

All about contaminants found in old homes that causes cancer and other health problems. 

Many old homes in Winnipeg are contaminated, and homeowners may not even be aware of it. These old homes present challenges that make them unsustainable and dangerous to people’s health.

In this Paragon Design Build blog, we’ll talk about reasons why some homes in Winnipeg are contaminated - making them unsafe and in some cases, unlivable.

It’s important to note that these contaminants should be handled with care as well as inspected and removed by professionals. Consult an expert if you plan to get rid of or deal with any of the contamination mentioned in this blog.

Asbestos And Vermiculite Insulation

Asbestos was one of the most common building materials used from the late 1800s until the late 1980s. It makes products durable, fire-resistant and long-lasting. Asbestos was also used for insulating homes and buildings from noise and cold weather. But did you know that asbestos is harmful to your health?

When inhaled, asbestos can cause lung cancer and other diseases such as asbestosis and mesothelioma.

Vermiculite is a mineral found in homes from the 1920s to 1990. Vermiculite is used as insulation material and is found to contain asbestos fibres.


Another harmful material found in old homes is lead.

Lead is a soft bluish-grey metal naturally found in the earth’s crust. When a person is exposed to lead, it builds up in their system and can cause health issues. The higher and longer the exposure, the worse the effects will be.

According to Manitoba Health, lead can impact the kidney and digestive systems, disrupt blood production, and increase blood pressure. Higher exposure can lead to heart disease, depression, fertility problems, nerve damage, memory loss, fatigue and difficulty sleeping. Extremely high exposure, such as digesting lead or inhaling fumes, can lead to lead poisoning.

In Winnipeg, you can find lead in houses built before 1960 as they were painted with lead-based paint. Small amounts of lead can still be found in homes built between 1960 and 1990.


Mould can be found in parts of your home that are damp or wet - like the bathroom or under the kitchen sink. The dampness in these areas promotes moisture leading to mould, poor air quality and health problems.

Mould exposure can cause eyes, nose and throat irritation. It can also cause coughing, shortness of breath, severe lung infections, and other allergic and asthma reactions.


Colourless, tasteless and odourless, radon is a radioactive gas found naturally in the environment. Radon comes from uranium in soil and rocks as it breaks down and seeps through the soil and into the air we breathe. This dangerous gas can enter homes through cracks and gaps in the wall and foundation.

Radon gas leaking is the second leading cause of lung cancer after smoking and can cause other health problems. And Manitoba is the second-highest province in Canada that has radon contamination, according to Take Action on Radon.

The longer you are exposed to radon gas, the more likely you are to develop lung cancer.

You can find radon test kits in Manitoba here.

Changing Winnipeg, One Home At A Time

As one of the leading infill developers in Winnipeg, Paragon Design Build tears down contaminated and derelict homes and buildings in Winnipeg, replacing them with sustainable, high-end homes free from contaminated materials. Paragon constructs new foundations after demolition of these derelict homes, making sure gaps and cracks are effectively sealed. Paragon also replaces the sewer and water lines, uses energy-efficient insulation with sustainable materials, as well as many other features. Paragon Design Build developments create safe, worry-free homes.

Infills are new buildings or homes in the city’s mature neighbourhoods where shopping, schools, entertainment, public transit and other community amenities are within close proximity to each other. So, not only does infill provide sustainable buildings, but it also offers housing options in areas in the city that are walkable and bike-friendly.

Follow us on social media to learn more about the real estate industry in Winnipeg. We are on Instagram, Facebook and Linkedin!

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