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Ranger1227 08-21-2011 01:50 PM

DIY network and asbestos removal
Last night I was watching a show on the DIY network call Renovation Realities where people take on major home renovations themselves. In this episode, a couple was removing asbestos tiles from their basement. Although they wore ventilating masks, it did not look like they did any other precaution to keep asbestos from the rest of the house. It was in the basement, but they also had waterproofing contractors in the next morning and they alos have 2 small kids.

Am I mistaken, or is this somewhat unsafe? Doesn't asbestos removal require professional work?

gregzoll 08-21-2011 03:27 PM

Yes it does, but you have to remember that you were watching "reality" tv, as in "Do not perform the stunts that the possible "Darwin Awards" are doing. As for the tile, most likely it does not have Asbestos in it, so I would not worry about the show you watched, they were wearing masks though, so I am sure they thought they were safe. You also have to have extended esposure to the fibers being airborne for a long time, to be considered in risk. Only way to really find out if the tile had asbestos in it, was to have it tested.

oh'mike 08-21-2011 03:46 PM

Removing asbestos is fine for a homeowner to do----most states post instructions.

The asbestos flooring is the safest of the common types encountered in home renovations as the fibers are completely embedded in vinyl and can not become airborne easily.

gregzoll 08-21-2011 04:32 PM

Tell me about it Mike. We had a incident last month at one of the grocery stores that was doing renovation. The local newspaper & tv station blew it completely out of proportion. When the tests finally came back from the health department, it was noted that no fibers were found anywhere in the store. Over all, the store gave back thousands of dollars in gift cards, because of the "Chicken Little" effect that our oh so glorious news & tv outlets made it to be. It was really bad, when the tv station used the Skull & Cross bones haz-mat placard on the background graphic behind the newscaster.

Ranger1227 08-21-2011 05:34 PM

Thanks for the informative replies.

Maintenance 6 08-22-2011 03:14 PM

Kind of irresponsible to air a TV show and have people doing stupid things, but that is what TV shows are made of today. Yeah, asbestos tile is one of the least dangerous forms of asbestos you can encounter in your home, but there are still some guidelines to work by. (Not necessarily true of the mastic used to adhere the tiles which often contains asbestos too.) It's true, most people that have had health problems related to asbestos are those with higher exposures over longer periods of time. That is what you would expect to see. That doesn't mean that a homeowner couldn't set himself up for an exposure hazard with sloppy removal techniques. A carpenter is more likely to get splinters. That doesn't mean that no-one else gets splinters. Asbestos fibers can stay airborne for weeks or even months before settling out and then become airborne all over again by walking past them. That is the type of condition that becomes a potential long term exposure hazard and is easily created by sloppy removal.

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