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cerfsud 12-06-2012 10:33 PM

Fumes from vinyl tile abatement
I had an asbestos abatement crew in yesterday (Wed, Dec 5) to remove some asbestos-containing vinyl tile and mastic. When they were done, they washed the floor with trisodium phosphate and then rinsed with water, apparently several times. The fumes from the mastic remover were still pretty strong, so they left their negative air machine running overnight.

It is now Thursday night, they've removed the machine, and the fumes are still very noticeable and permeating the whole house. It smells like paint thinner or mineral spirits. The bottom edge of all the drywall in the area where the tile was removed is stained brown/black from the mastic remover (and I'm guessing the brown/black is the mastic) wicking into it. Could this be a significant source of the smell?

The mastic remover they used was MastAway MA-33. Here is the MSDS:

Just reading through that makes me nervous enough (lines mentioning lung damage), and then reading up on one of the ingredients being a carcinogen makes me even more nervous. I have a pregnant wife and want to tear my hair out. I feel like I have nobody to go to.

Tonight was our first night using our gas range after the abatement, and a strong charcoal/lighter fluid-like smell permeated the kitchen, and we couldn't pinpoint the source. I know it's unlikely, but I have to wonder if it's the fumes combusting (which the MSDS warns is toxic)?

How have others' experiences with VAT abatement gone? Is this expected? Do I just need to be patient and give it a few more days for wherever the fumes are coming from to dry up? Unfortunately I can't leave the windows open all night because it's getting below freezing.

I have a fan, a dehumidifier, and a HEPA/charcoal filter running in the basement. I'll be calling the abatement crew tomorrow and seeing what they can do, but I think they're annoyed. All they say is that they're used to the smell so they don't notice it.

Thanks very much in advance.

cerfsud 12-07-2012 09:26 PM

Follow-up: it seems like the lighter fluid smells coming from our gas stove are indeed from combustion of the mastic remover fumes. Apparently this happens with other oil-based products (varnishes, paints, etc.). Many anecdotes online attest to this, and my gas utility company came in and tested things and confirmed this suspicion as well. Wonderful.

I suspect the lingering smell is due to the mastic remover wicking up into the drywall. Any ideas how long this might take to dry? How toxic this might be?

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