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Old 11-24-2010, 06:10 PM   #16
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Asbestos in shower tiles???


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Originally Posted by Paragon View Post
Mr. B I encourage you to read my posting and notice that I stated that it depended upon what kind of fibers are present if any. I am not into inciting panic in people and encourage you to read the information in the link above and here is an excerpt from that report...
1.4 How can asbestos enter and leave my body?


If you breathe asbestos fibers into your lungs, some of the fibers will be deposited in the air passages and on the cells that make up your lungs. Most fibers are removed from your lungs by being carried away or coughed up in a layer of mucus to the throat, where they are swallowed into the stomach. This usually takes place within a few hours. Fibers that are deposited in the deepest parts of the lung are removed more slowly. In fact, some fibers may move through your lungs and can remain in place for many years and may never be removed from your body. Amphibole asbestos fibers are retained in the lung longer than chrysotile asbestos fibers.
If you swallow asbestos fibers (either those present in water or those that are moved to your throat from your lungs), nearly all of the fibers pass along your intestines within a few days and are excreted in the feces. A small number of fibers may penetrate into cells that line your stomach or intestines, and a few penetrate all the way through and get into your blood. Some of these become trapped in other tissues, and some are removed in your urine.
If you get asbestos fibers on your skin, very few of these fibers, if any, pass through the skin into your body. Please see the toxicological profile for more information on how asbestos enters and leaves your body.

I do not intend to minimize the exposure or the effects that the poster has or will experience so please excuse me if I conveyed that message. Asbestos is serious and some fibers do stay in the body for long periods of time up to and including forever but I don't want to say that is the only effect as some do leave the body and do not intend to make the poster feel like they have asbestos in their body and now it is time to sue the handyman who was merely trying his best, he should have been more precautious but his actions were not intentional. I also do not want the poster to think that they now have this big scary problem that they are going to die from, we are all going to die from something.

The thing to remember about these exposures are levels of exposure. As with lead and Asbestos no amount is good but the levels in ones body vary from person to person and each persons body processes the materials different. If the poster has some exposure to asbestos they will probably process the contaminates out in due time but yes, you are correct the contaminates MAY stay forever again depending on the material. Also a person must keep in mind that the effects and amounts are going to be different for a person working in the field than for a homeowner.

I must now correct you on lead exposure and its effects. You do not notice the effects of lead immediately it also has an incubation time depending on the amount ingested. It also varies from adults to children and the number of micro grams of lead per deciliter of blood (μg/dL). The lead tends to move into the brain of children quicker than in adults but the absorption does not occur immediately it happens due to extended periods of exposure. Once again I do not subscribe to panic but rather to information and if an exposure has occurred it needs to be addressed immediately and completely. If there is asbestos in the dust it should be taken care of by a licensed and certified individual and not taken with anything other than the utmost urgency however the poster probably is not going to die tomorrow because of the exposure.

SO please do not make this out to be a pandemic that is going to kill the homeowner and all of the homes occupants however it does need to be addressed and the poor handyman needs to take care of it, you are right, but I am thinking that they probably won't. This is going to get ugly if in fact there is asbestos present in the dust however Mister B have you ever scraped paint prior to testing it? Have you ever cut a paint laden board prior to testing it? Ever vacuumed up dust and paint chips in a window sill without prior testing it? When you did this did you contain the area and isolate? Did you use the approved HEPA filter in your vac to prevent contaminating the area with lead dust? Did you then call an approved testing laboratory or a consultant to come do a wipe test of the affected area prior to taking down the barrier? Do you know how much lead dust is acceptable during a wipe test? The point I am trying to make is we are all guilty of doing these jobs without concern or consideration of what might be present. Do you present your clients with the required lead brochure if in fact there is a possibility that lead exists in the project you are working on and have you had you required by law blood test and if you have employees have you had them tested by law to measure the levels of lead currently in their blood? Yes, we should all test, we should all be aware of what is in the work environment but do we? All the time, every time?

So let's not beat up the handyman and say what he should have done because it could have been us in there. I think he went overboard on the dremmel and I would have used the least invasive process and use a hand diamond tipped grout removal tool but then that is just me and I was not running the job.

So before you judge him please reflect on this situation with greater objectivity. Contact the handyman tell him of your concern tell him you would like to have the material tested and then tell him that you will expect him to take care of any liabilities associated with this process.

Good luck and let us know how it turns out!
I like your post thank you for the instructive info... I personaly dont test everything and apprichiate a level headed responce to a scare about asbestos..Glad the whole world isnt full of schizophrenics

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Old 03-15-2011, 09:16 AM   #17
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Asbestos in shower tiles???


I would recommend you get the dust and debris tested. Depending on what state you are in, there should be a licensed or certified testing lab you can use. In most states you have more latitude since you are a homeowner and it is in your home. In Texas, if it were a public building you would have to use a licensed individual and the sample would have to be sent to a licensed laboratory for analysis. Typically the tile itself would not have asbestos in it unless it is a vinyl tile rather than a ceramic tile. In some applications the ceramic tile is fired directly onto cinderblock and in these products there could be an asbestos mud on the curved tiles used to make rounded corners but this is more of a commercial application rather than residential. The grout and thinset could contain asbestos at low percentages typically trace to 4% chrysotile. In additiona to the grout, if the wall construction is sheetrock (typical in most homes) then the adhesive (usually tan or yellow) may also contain asbestos at a level of 1-6% chrysotile. If the seams on the sheetrock have been "mudded in" then it too could contain asbestos at a level of 1-5% chrysotile. Most sheetrock wall board used in homes is non-asbestos but some sheetrock manufactured for specialized applications has been found to contain asbestos but I have only seen it in power plants in the control booth but we test it anyway because the specialized applications typically contained higher levels of asbestos. If you are going to redo the shower pan as well then I would have it tested as well. The ceramic tile, grout, and thinset are suspect as well as the moisture barrier if present used on the metal shower pan itself. You would be looking for a black waterproofing sealer usually but if you find any type of sealer go ahead and test it as well. If any of the materials come back positive for asbestos I would recommend you contact a licensed/regisitered professional with references and recommendations that should be able to help you.

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