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Old 11-10-2008, 06:33 PM   #16
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Assuming Asbestos Tile


The bottom line is that asbestos is one of the most abundant minerals in the Earth's crust, and we all get some exposure to it every time we go outside. Like every other mineral, asbestos is more common in some areas than others, so it's wrong to assume that the amounts of asbestos we're exposed to outdoors is very small. It isn't. It all depends on where you live. People enjoying the parks in the San Fransisco area can be exposed to levels that are far higher than would be allowed by the OSHA in a workplace without the workers wearing special protective equipment to prevent exposure to asbestos. That is, many of us get exposed to higher levels of asbestos just enjoying the great outdoors than we ever would removing the tiles in the floor we're talking about. And, that's the truth of the matter regardless of what your government tells you.

PS: You don't need to read the rest.

I think the one point that's not being mentioned is that we're all exposed to asbestos every time we go outside, and at concentrations a lot higher than we presume. Some of us are regularily exposed to high levels of the stuff on a regular basis without our even knowing about it.

But, the thing about asbestos is that some people can have a small exposure to the dust and contract mesothelioma right away, or years and even decades later. Other people can be exposed to much greater concentrations of asbestos dust and not have it affect them at all. Asbestos is a Y2K, it's something that we know is a potential hazard, but that seems to be the sum total of all we know for sure.

For example, did you know that asbestos is still being used to reline old brake shoes? Did you know that even though asbestos was banned in most products in 1986, that as recently as 2000 GM was still using asbestos lined brake shoes and brake pads on their Cavalier and Sunbird models?

People presume that brake shoes and pads don't contain asbestos anymore and that asbestos in brake shoes and pads MUST HAVE been banned by now, but that's the danger of making a reasonable assumption. (You can drown walking across a stream that has an average depth of 12 inches.) Apparantly, in the USA, various government agencies have been squabbling over who had the responsibility to regulate brake shoes and brake pads, and as a result, there simply hasn't been any regulation of brake shoes and pads so they were still being made of asbestos as recently as 2000 and probably still are being made of asbestos.

http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/uncivi...n/brks16.shtml

In fact, that article written in 2000 predicted that because of the time between exposure and the contraction of asbestos related lung diseases, we'd be seeing a PEAK in the number of deaths of automechanics from mesothelioma and other asbestos related lung cancers some time around 2012. Well, here we are only a few weeks away from 2009, and we aren't seeing any increase in the number of deaths of automechanics or brake and clutch technicians (from asbestos related lung diseases or any other cause either).

On the one hand, we wear moon suits to remove asbestos floor tiles from a house... tiles that, for the most part, break cleanly off the floor or into nice big chunks that hardly release any dust at all when they break. And, on the other hand, the mechanic in the garage down the street pulls off a brake drum and lets it drop to the concrete floor so that all the dust comes bellowing out of it in a brown clowd upon impact. Then he takes an air hose and blows off the backing plate to clean the dust off it in the mistaken assumption that asbestos must have been banned in brake shoes by now. And all this has been going on even in winter when the doors and windows of the garage are normally left closed, keeping the dust in the building.

So, how about it? Why aren't we seeing an alarming correlation between asbestos related lung cancers and people who worked as mechanics, especially as brake and clutch technicians? Why aren't the wives and children of garage mechanics also dying off from lung related diseases (since a mechanic who gets that dust all over his clothes and in his hair would contaminate his car and his home with asbestos dust too).

Don't bother answering. No one else on the planet knows, so any explanation that anyone offers up here would be, at best, a lucky guess.

My guess is that it all boils down to the fact that we're all individuals with different DNA and a different propensity to contract certain diseases. Also, probably like anything else, the liklihood of contracting an asbestos related lung disease depends largely on one's cumulative exposure to asbestos, and few of us ever accumulate enough total exposure to asbestos to contract a lung disease. But, that's the guess that one would expect, and nature isn't constrained to act the way we think she should. It could be something as simple as what a person had to eat or drink prior to being exposed to airborne asbestos fibers.

Did you know that the airborne asbestos fiber count in the PARKS in the San Fransisco area has been measured to be fifty (50) times higher than the OSHA would allow in a workplace without the employees wearing special protective equipment to protect them? It's true. Asbestos is one of the most abundant materials in the Earth's crust and the rocks in all of California and North Carolina are particularily high in asbestos content. This rock is used to make the gravel roads through the parks in California, and when cars drive over that gravel, the stones rub together and create airborne asbestos dust. On a long weekend where there's a lot of traffic, even being downwind of a gravel road in southern California will result in your being exposed to more airborne asbestos fibers than would be allowed by the OSHA in a workplace without worker protection.

Also, the rock around the Great Lakes is high in asbestos, and over the millenia the erosion of that rock has resulted in the soil and ground water in the Great Lakes region also being high in asbestos. Someone living in Duluth, Minnesota swallows approximately 7,000 asbestos fibers with every glass of drinking water that comes out of a faucet or water fountain or is provided free of charge in a restaurant. However, we're not yet aware of any health effects of swallowing asbestos fibers.

These facts came right from the OSHA's own web site on Asbestos abatement, but they have since removed those statistics, and that whole website since I haven't been able to find that source for some time now.

The bottom line here is that asbestos is one of the most common minerals on this Earth, and we simply can't avoid being continually exposed to it as long as we live on this planet. Most of us only get low levels of exposure, but even people who live where there is more asbestos in the rock and get higher levels of exposure to asbestos seem to live long healthy lives too. That's the connundrum of asbestos. The vast majority of us won't be affected by that exposure, but some of us will. That's just due to the diversity of evolution. If nothing else, diversity is the life blood of evolution. We are all different in minute ways, and those differences make some of us more prone to some diseases than others.

So, here we are talking about removing a floor which probably contains asbestos. In all liklihood, the home owner can pull out those tiles and the cutback holding them down too, and never be affected by the asbestos he becomes exposed to as a result. But, if he tried to hire someone to do that work for him, the person doing the work would probably be wearing a HazMat suit on the insistance of his employer who is only following the abatement requirements put in place by the government. And, it's all because we all know that if that employee ever contracts any form of asbestos related lung disease, then everyone is going to point to his job as the cause and be looking to decide who has enough money to sue over the matter.

Really, that employee could have contracted an asbestos related lung disease even if he'd worked making computer chips in a clean room, but no one can prove that, and that's what matters in court.

In that respect, we're kinda like the British Parliament in the 1830's. Back in the 1830's, the British Parliament seeking to protect Britain from the cholera epidemic that was sweeping across Europe at the time posted ARMED GUARDS at all British ports of entry. (Clearly an act of desperation.) They had no idea what caused cholera, and did the only thing they could... post armed guards. (Which did no good at all.)

Then, as now, we're simply doing whatever we can to deal with the unknown.


Last edited by Nestor_Kelebay; 11-11-2008 at 01:29 AM.
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Old 11-11-2008, 12:14 PM   #17
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Assuming Asbestos Tile


There was never a complete ban of asbestos in products manufactured or sold in the U.S. Where a suitable alternative could not be identified, asbestos has been allowed to be continued in use. No one can control the inadvertant exposure to asbestos fibers in the environment. It only makes sense therefore, to limit exposure where we can. Properly managing asbestos in one's home, where one spends the greatest amount of time is certainly one way to limit that exposure. The fact that it is a naturally occurring element should not be construed to mean that a given level of exposure is inevitable and therefore somehow made more safe. Radon, Radium, Plutonium, Uranium and others are all naturally occuring elements as is Asbestos. We are all exposed to different, naturally occurring background levels of these elements, however no one should be knowingly exposing themselves to "extra" unnecessary doses to any of these. Conducting some uneducated DIY asbestos abatement is doing just that. Exposing one's self and family to an extra unnecessary dose.
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Old 11-11-2008, 04:28 PM   #18
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Assuming Asbestos Tile


Apparantly I was wrong about there being no increase in auto mechanics dying of asbestos related diseases.

This web site:
http://www.asbestos.com/automotive/

includes the following item:

Deaths expected to Rise
It is estimated that more than six million mechanics have been exposed to asbestos in brakes since 1940, and those exposures are now resulting in about 580 excess asbestos-related cancer deaths a year. Many analysts also believe that over the next 10 years, the expected rate of mesothelioma deaths as a result of exposure to break dust will reach 200 (sic: prolly means "2000") a year, acknowledging that for every mesothelioma case diagnosed there may be dozens of cases of asbestosis. Deaths caused by exposure to asbestos brake products had been previously expected to peak around the year 2012, however, because asbestos is still in some brakes being sold today, it could mean the deaths would continue to climb.

So, apparantly, asbestos is still being used in some car brake shoes and pads even today.

Unfortunately, there has to be something wrong with that web site's math. Even if there were now 600 (instead of 580) excess asbestos related cancer deaths per year because 6,000,000 people were heavily exposed to brake dust since 1940, it would take 10,000 years for all of those mechanics to croak. Even if we assume that the dying goes on at the peak rate of 2000 per year, that peak rate needs to be maintained for 3000 years before every last one of those 6 million mechanics dies. Obviously, no one is going to live for 3000 years.

The only thing one can presume from this is that either their estimate of 580 deaths per year or 2000 deaths per year is way out to lunch, or that no more than 1 in 30 mechanics that were frequently exposed to heavy doses of asbestos dust would die of an asbestos related cancer. I got that 1 in 30 guestimate by saying that if it takes 3000 years for ALL of the mechanics to die of asbestos related cancers, and no mechanic is going to live past 100, then only about 1 in 30 will die of asbestos related cancer. The others will die of other causes.

Also, if you Google "naturally occuring asbestos" mesothelioma California, you'll that there's been plenty of studies done in California that show that the risk of contracting mesothelioma increases in people that live near naturally occuring asbestos deposits.

Apparantly, 10 percent of all the people who die from mesothelioma in the United States had no known exposure to asbestos fibers. Since exposure to asbestos is the only known cause of the disease, it is believed that these 10 percent died from exposure to naturally occuring asbestos.

This web page:

http://www.asbestos.com/states/california/

relates the results of studies done by the California EPA into asbestos exposure in the very affluent "El Dorado Hills" area in El Dorado County in California which was built right on top of a large naturally occuring asbestos deposit:

"In February 2002, during the constructions of two new soccer fields at the community's Oak Ridge High School, veins of minerals bearing asbestos were discovered. When a citizen petitioned the EPA to test for asbestos, the EPA decided to assess the threat of NOA in the area - regardless of strong opposition from some civic leaders in El Dorado Hills. In October 2004, donning protective white jumpsuits and safety respirators, EPA agents played in parks as local children would, tossing balls, kicking soccer balls around, biking and running - all the while taking air samples. More than 450 air samples were taken throughout the community, and in May 2005 the EPA released its findings. Almost every one of the samples contained asbestos fibers. Oddly enough, the EPA didn't feel it necessary to detail the results, as the report does not specify the toxicity level of samples, nor does it clearly quantify the potential health risks to residents. Instead, the report simply states that test results and exposure levels are "of concern."

That web page goes on to talk about one of the large nature preserves in California that just happens to be located in one of the largest naturally occuring asbestos deposits in the world:

"Another location of EPA focus in California is the Clear Creek Management Area (CCMA), an enormous and extremely popular area of recreational land. Geologists are not surprised by the EPA's concern for the area, as CCMA is located on one of the world's largest naturally occurring asbestos deposits. Each year, thousands of visitors enjoy CCMA's scenic landscape, rugged terrain, barren slopes, bald ridges, and unique ecology. The 70,000-acre area encompasses a 30,000-acre deposit of serpentine rock, and holds a rich history in the mining industry. In September 2004, the EPA began the first of four sampling events at CCMA.
Sporting protective clothing, safety respirators, and air monitoring equipment, crews of federal contractors and the U.S. Coast Guard's Pacific Strike Team took air samples while riding ATVs and dirt bikes, hiking, driving SUVs, pitching tents, and other common activities guests enjoy at CCMA. When compared to health standards, test results revealed recreational users of the management area are exposed to "very high" levels of asbestos. The EPA's website states samples taken in November 2004 and February 2005 are currently being analyzed, and that a final report will be released after the final sampling event (which was scheduled for July 2006). Though 2008 has arrived, no final report or updated information has been made available by the EPA."

My guess is that the EPA doesn't want to issue a final report because according to it's own standards, all the people involved in gathering those air samples should be dead (or close to) by now. Really, this is a case where the government doesn't want to take action because they know that any action they do take won't solve the problem. There's abundant naturally occuring asbestos throughout California (and many other states as well), so what can you really do? Tell people not to disturb the ground or create dust by building anything?

If it wasn't so serious, the notion of EPA scientists playing in parks and riding ATVs in California parks wearing protective moon suits would be comical.

Regarding the gravel roads in California and the danger they pose, this web site:

http://www.asbestos.com/states/california/

states the following:

"Even though mankind has been aware of asbestos' health hazards since the time of the Greeks, it wasn't until 1990 that the California Air Resources Board (CARB) began to regulate the amount of asbestos in crushed serpentine and ultramafic rock used in surfacing applications (such as gravel on unpaved roads). With an original limit of asbestos contamination (in rock and soil for surfacing) set at 5 percent, the CARB revised the allowable limit to less than 0.25 percent in 1998. The board also added regulations regarding dust emissions from construction, grading, and surface mining in areas with serpentine and ultramafic rock. The California Environmental Protection Agency reports several sources of naturally occurring asbestos emissions, which include unpaved roads or driveways surfaced with ultramafic or serpentine rock, construction activity in ultramafic or serpentine rock deposits, or rock quarrying activities where ultramafic or serpentine rock is present."

I expect that that air sampling study that determined the airborne asbestos fiber content in the parks in the San Fransisco area was 50 times higher than allowable in a workplace without worker protection musta been done prior to 1990 when they made gravel roads entirely out of that asbestos containing serpentine rock.

So much for the notion that we're only exposed to low doses of airborne asbestos fibers outdoors. Most of California is loaded with asbestos bearing rock, and most Californians are exposed to dangerous levels of the stuff simply by being outdoors.

So, the question remains: Why isn't all of Southern California coming down with asbestos related cancers? I still contend that it's because our science cannot account for the fact that we're all different, and those differences make some of us more susceptible to asbestos related diseases than others. So, you simply can't determine a "safe" level of exposure to airborne asbestos fibers because what's safe for most of us will be a lethal dose for some of us. So, how do you regulate exposure to asbestos? The method the government is using is to assume we're all highly susceptible to the stuff and set the exposure limits accordingly.

That makes those exposure limits silly for the vast majority of us.

Last edited by Nestor_Kelebay; 11-11-2008 at 05:27 PM.
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Old 11-11-2008, 06:42 PM   #19
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Assuming Asbestos Tile


Nestor you are a smart man!
and long winded.....

Asbestos was removed from flooring products in 1976 but the stock in production and in the warehouse was not affected by this action. It was allowed to be sold so....for the next few years it was a toss up to see if you had some flooring with asbestos in it or not,nobody knew. It was still being sold in offending stock as late as 1980.

The glue; cutback also contained asbestos, when it was removed the glue started losing its bond with everything so it had to be reformulated as well.

As Jaz has said it is the nofriable type but it is still not advised for self removal and certainly if any one in the house has any type of lung issue.

The nightmare in the 911 call center mentioned is the kind that put abatement companies out of business! That is blatant ignorance and they should have shut them down! I know OSHA would have ran them out of town on rail and they would never have worked in the abatement industry again.
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Old 11-11-2008, 09:25 PM   #20
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Assuming Asbestos Tile


I just wanted to drive home the point that asbestos is abundant on this Earth, and we're routinely exposed to far more of it than we realize. But, the vast majority of us are unaffected by it.

California is particularily bad, but there are asbestos outcroppings all over the world.

So, I'll stop now and let people draw their own conclusions about people dressing up in moon suits with taped gloves and booties and full head respirators to remove floor tiles that contain asbestos. Especially if they're removing it from a house in California.

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Old 11-12-2008, 11:17 AM   #21
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Assuming Asbestos Tile


Quote:
So, I'll stop now and let people draw their own conclusions about people dressing up in moon suits with taped gloves and booties and full head respirators to remove floor tiles that contain asbestos. Especially if they're removing it from a house in California.

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I think a good point would be that you could go ahead and drive without a seatbelt and probably be fine.
But if we were to SUGGEST one way or another...as a PRO..we should suggest the safest route.
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Old 11-12-2008, 06:12 PM   #22
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FloorCraft:

Wearing a moonsuit to remove vinyl asbestos tiles from a house in (most of) California is like wearing a seat belt on the way to play Russian Roulette.
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Old 11-12-2008, 08:42 PM   #23
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Assuming Asbestos Tile


Quote:
wearing a seat belt on the way to play Russian Roulette
And I would suggest you do NOT do that
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Old 11-13-2008, 04:15 PM   #24
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appreciate all the advice but fortunately dont need to worry as it was tested and it doesnt contain asbestos
so i am okay...to tear away....wooo hoooo
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Old 11-13-2008, 05:22 PM   #25
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Go nutz.
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Old 11-13-2008, 07:21 PM   #26
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ha ha the drama continues, no asbestos concern, but the whole floor is built up in the basement, therefore the bar and all walls etc...
I tried peeling some tiles to see what was there. So herein lies my problem, I cant get down to the concrete, as the whole basement is built on this subfloor, is there anything I can put over this tile to get adequate subfloor to lay tile, as my wife isnt happy unless its tile
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Old 11-13-2008, 07:49 PM   #27
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Install the Ditra right over the tile!

Somebody tell Jaz he owes me an apology.
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Old 11-13-2008, 08:26 PM   #28
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I'll gladly apologize....but I'm not sure for what.

Now I'm confused and not sure what the situation is.

I would bet a lot of $$$ that those tiles contain asbestos. If they were made in the '70's or earlier they should contain asbestos. The only possibility is if they are rubber tiles, which is highly unlikely! Do you trust the test? Are the tiles from the '70's, or could it be the '80's?

I am also confused about the construction of the basement floor. Apparently someone build a wooden floor over the slab. Is the plywood bonded and fastened direct to the slab, or was it built up? Either way, this is not an approved method, but it is done now and then.

In any case it is possible to install tile over vinyl floors, it's just not a good idea since the bond between the vinyl tiles and the substrate can easily fail.

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Old 11-13-2008, 08:39 PM   #29
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trust the test, it was done at a large industrial lab, they grounded up the tiles, and clue etc, and came back negative..reputable source..Could be the tiles are from the 80's, I am unsure but defenitley trust the source.The floor is built up off the concrete ~1" and is throughtout the basement. I probally should have left the existing subfloor that was screwed down to the tiles, but thought there would be concrete underneath. Now I was going to rescrew 1/2" spruce down, and then apply tiles...
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Old 11-13-2008, 08:47 PM   #30
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Well......IF the tiles are from the '80's, then that changes everything!

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