January 20, 2012

Testing for Asbestos Contaminated Floor Tiles

If you have an older home that includes certain types of flooring such as asphalt tiles, vinyl and even sheet vinyl, it may have been installed using asbestos. It may surprise many to learn that asbestos has been used for 100's of years in many cultures. It was used due to its strength, durability, and anti-inflammatory properties.
Unfortunately, during the industrial revolution, asbestos became very popular and, at the time, was thought to be a good material for use building new homes and businesses. Of course, by the 1980's, the link between asbestos and mesothelioma was no longer able to be challenged by the makers. It was clear that asbestos was not the safe, durable product that had been advertised.
Of course, the use of asbestos fell sharply, but many homes and businesses were left with asbestos walls, ceilings and flooring.
What if My Tile Floor Tests Positive for Asbestos?
Tile flooring that was installed between the 1950's and through the early 1980's may contain asbestos. If the tiles are in good shape, tightly intact and there is no reason to remove them. You cannot become contaminated by asbestos simply by walking on a tiled flooring in which asbestos was used. Generally, you cannot tell if the tile was installed using asbestos just by visually looking at it.
Asbestos becomes dangerous when you disturb it, by pulling up the tile and placing new tile or flooring. The dust and fumes can get into your lungs, and you may become sick several years later. Many people may have replaced their floor tiles without even realizing that they contained asbestos, which means that they took no precautions when replacing the flooring.
Many people who are exposed to asbestos when it is disturbed, by actions such as changing tiles, may be at risk for developing mesothelioma, a serious asbestos related cancer. Now that the health concerns regarding asbestos have been exposed, it is vital to avoid removing tile in your home if it was installed before 1980. Instead, you will want to have it tested by a professional to see if asbestos is present. If asbestos is present, then you have to decide with the help of the professional the best course of action. If the tile is loose and chipped, replacing it may be the best option.
You do not want to take on the removal process on your own. You will need to hire a professional to come in and change out the tile so that they do so without causing risk to you and your family.
Final Thoughts
Many people who have been unknowingly exposed to asbestos have become ill years later with several different kinds of cancers, breathing issues and heart problems.