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smithers76 08-19-2010 07:30 AM

Terrified about possible asbestos tile removal.
I remodeled my kitchen 1 month ago. The person who did the new kitchen floors tore up what was a small 10x11 section of 12x12 tile. He cut through the tiles with a circular saw into the subfloor which was ply. The tiles were never tested to find out if they were Asbestos. Ive been doing some research lately on the topic, and I am now very worried about the possibility of having inhaled any asbestos fibers after cutting the tile and releasing any fibers. The house was vacant for about a week while the work was being done and A/C's were running. I did walk in the house while the work was being done, but our family was not living there. Are we in danger of asbestos related illness? If so, is there anything that can be done about it? How long could this potentially hazardous condition stay in our home? Is there a way to get rid of the fibers?

rusty baker 08-19-2010 09:30 AM

Asbestos tile were very low risk.

smithers76 08-19-2010 09:41 AM

I understand they are low risk; however, some of them were cut with a circular saw. Is is really that common to find 12x12 asbestos containing tiles? Should i get the whole house tested and move out in the mean time. If asbestos fibers are found, how would they get removed?

BigJim 08-19-2010 10:00 AM

Just my experience with asbestos, I have worked with and around it a lot in my career in older homes and am 67 and have suffered no ill results for being exposed to it. As a child we had the old type heaters where asbestos was installed openly in the back of the flame. I forgot, I was also exposed to it in the ship yards in the Navy. JMHO

Blondesense 08-19-2010 11:12 AM

Not an expert here, just been reading these boards way too long.

When my mother was young she worked in a factory that used a lot of asbestos. She said you could see it floating in the air. She is going to turn 80 this year and has no medical issues related to asbestos.

I don't want to minimize the issue, but I wouldn't lose any sleep over your situation. Just be careful in the future pulling up anything else.


How long could this potentially hazardous condition stay in our home? Is there a way to get rid of the fibers?
The general consensus is to let sleeping dogs lie. It is really only a health concern when the fibers are airborne (like when cutting them with a power saw) or tearing them out. As far as anything stirred up from your remodel, I suspect the a/c and routine cleaning/vacuuming took care of that already.

If there is still more anywhere in your home the safest thing is probably to leave them where they are.

onion 08-19-2010 01:46 PM

I have been certified to do asbestos surveys and removals several times over the years (let it lapse almost every time because I hate the work and don't need the work).

If it were my home I would probably change the filter in the AC unit...maybe wipe down the immediate area with a wet rag and not worry about it anymore.

I certainly wouldn;t be terrified.

poppameth 08-20-2010 05:51 AM

Asbestos tile was generally 9x9 but this is some 12x12 out there with asbestos in it. The whole deal with asbestos and floor tile was way overblown anyway. New studies are finding that he asbestos content of that tile is much lower that it was thought to be anyway.

the1hangingchad 08-25-2010 12:11 PM

When I was remodeling our basement last year, I discovered the same type of tiles underneath the carpet. I wasn't worried but my wife was terrified. I sent a few samples out to a lab and they confirmed it was asbestos but it was the non-friable type. I'm no expert in this area (but I did stay a holiday inn express last night) and did a lot of Googling on the subject and it seemed that non-friable isn't as much of a risk as the friable type. I guess the friable type is more likely to become dust when broken, cut, etc. The non-friable is more binding since its held together with cement and stuff like that.

I ripped up about half of mine and then decided it wasn't worth the work and just put the new floor (Pergo) right over it.

Again, I'm not an expert on the subject but I did enough research to sleep comfortably at night, even knowing the floor has asbestos in it.

retired guy 60 08-25-2010 01:43 PM

I agree with onion. No need to be terrified. If you have not already wiped down all the surfaces then maybe you can find some of the remaining dust or even a piece of remaining tile and have it tested. Under a microscope the dust looks like fish hook barbs. A qualified professional will know right away if it is asbestos. There may even be a chemical test as well. Check the Internet. If you've wiped surfaces and changed the air filter then there is nothing more you can do. If you used a vacuum cleaner after the tile removal it is time to discard the filter.
As a science teacher (now retired), I frquently handled and worked with asbestos. While there was nothing done which would create dust, which is the big problem with asbestos, I am not concerned.
If you think you were exposed think about the hapless worker using the circular saw. Did he even have a 50 cent paper filter covering his mouth and nose? And he's probably done this type of work dozens if not hundreds of times. Sometimes the lowest paid laborers endure the most severe health risks, unfortunately. And also unfortunately, they are ignorant of the hazzards they come in contact with. Then 20 years later they get some fatal illness and everyone is shocked. Sorry for the rant.
Bottom line, I would not be terrified.

Aaroncarpet 08-26-2010 07:21 PM

9x9 is the asbestos number
if they aren't 9x9 then no worries VCT

rusty baker 08-26-2010 09:55 PM

Aaron carpet, some of the 12x12 were asbestos, too.

Garage Guy 08-28-2010 01:58 PM


Originally Posted by rusty baker (Post 491844)
Aaron carpet, some of the 12x12 were asbestos, too.

As asbestos was being phased out, the change had already been made from 9x9 tiles to 12x12 tiles. So for a short time, the 12x12 tiles did contain asbestos, the non friable type, which has been noted above. The accranims also changed once the asbestos was removed and silica was used in its place. VAT(vinyl asbestos tile) VCT(vinyl composite tile).
The non friable asbestos is encapsulated with in the tile, and posses no health threat as a tile floor. Once cut or sanded, the asbestos will become airborne. In 23 years of installing, and testing asbestos tile, all the labratory results have always been less than 1% of asbestos in 12x12 tiles. This is an extremely low risk asbestos content, IF, your 12x12 tile even contained asbestos at all. I have only had higher results in 9x9 tiles, and only up to 3%.

rusty baker 08-28-2010 02:08 PM

Cutback adhesive has tested as high as 44% asbestos, so that would concern me more than the tile. It is estimated that leftover stock of the VAT was sold into the mid 90's.

Garage Guy 08-28-2010 02:41 PM

This is true of cutback adhesive. I started the trade in 1986 and our shop was no longer using cutback when I started. In our area, it was soon phased out along with VAT.
As long as the area described in the first post is wiped clean, the asbestos exposure would be neglagable. I wouldn't be loosing sleep over it.

Aaroncarpet 08-28-2010 03:06 PM

they were having us use cut back in the nineties for institutional jobs but otherwise it was clear thin spread...even asbestos floor tile removal is considered almost harmless and does not require a hazmat team....I've done flooring since 1995 and I'm not dead yet....speaking of which did anyone see that thriller Session Nine...(asbestos removal turned into psycho murder)?????????

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