I am replacing my old vinyl flooring and I'm getting done as a favor
from my friend who works in construction. I gave him the keys but
didnt know when he would start. Then i heard someone tell me there
could be asbestos in the vinyl so i cut a sample and took it to a lab.
Meanwhile, i tried to contact my construction friend but he was out of
town. Then I got the lab results back and found that the vinyl
flooring tested positive for asbestos, 3%. So i drive to the property
immediately and found my friend already starting to tear out chunks of
the vinyl floor! I told him what i had found (3% asbestos in the
vinyl) and he seemed to not be too concerned and said that's a small
amount. I told him to wear a respirator mask for his own safety and
gave him a water bottle to wet down the floor so it wouldnt create
asbestos dust. I'm not sure if he'll follow my direction!
Question: What if my friend doesnt take any precautions as all and not
use the water bottle to wet down the floors while chipping away at the
vinyl (he cant peel it, it is too old and brittle). Will the asbestos
dust float around my house and get stuck in the walls? Will I have to
wash/paint all the walls? Wash the floors?
Is 3% Vinyl on the lower end of asbestos poisoning?
The asbestos is trapped in the vinyl so if he doesn't break it up too much
taking it out there isn't much danger. I know there has been a lot of hysteria
about asbestos but most of the people who were affected worked in a brake pad
plant, a shipyard or a mine.
It ain't plutonium.
Certainly your advice about the dust mask, or better a respirator and dust
suppression is a good idea but that is a good idea anytime you have a dirty
lets end a myth right now about 'dust masks'
those cheap paper 'dust masks' are designed to keep the person wearing it
from spreading germs when they EXHALE. to protect other people. surgeons
wear them so they dont spread germs to the patient they are working on. you
dont see the patient wearing one. they do offer some 'splatter' protection,
but their effect as an air filter for what the wearer is breathing is
minimal. there are some better fitting paper ones, but they are still
pretty useless cept to keep mosquitos and sawdust out.
if you are concerned about whats in the air and actually want to do
something, you need a respirator with cartridges rated for what will be in
the air, that will absorb it and not just shoot it back out when you exhale.
Good point Randy. Respirators are becoming common enough that the BORGs have
them along with an assortment of different filters.
It is really cheap insurance since the filters are fairly cheap and a good mask
will last a long time.
As of now, there is not a safe exposure level to airbourne asbestos.
The material is not toxic, it just accumulates in the lungs until it
does enough physical damage to start causing real problems. If you
were born anytime before the 1980's you have no doubt been exposed to
airbourne asbestos at one time or another. It is typically not the
acute exposures that cause problems, but the day to day exposures
(brake pad manufactuer, automotive brake repair, construction
insulation manufacture/installation, etc...) If your friend is in the
construction business, he should be careful, but not paranoid. Wetting
the floor is a good idea, but unless he uses a high quality air
respirator he will breath it just the same. If the tiles come up
easily in large chunks your risk will also be minimized. Probably not
a bad idea to seal of the area he is working on, but dont get carried
away with washing every wall, floor, and ceiling in the house. Most
importantly, if you do talk to someone in the actual "safety" business
be prepared for end of the earth as we know it type arguments. No one
knows exactly how much asbestos inhalation will cause problems, so it
is assumed that any whatsoever is dangerous. Not a bad idea until
people start shutting down buildings becasue someone found a chunk of
asbestos in the wall.
100% Asbestos isn't posionous! You can EAT it.
There is not now nor has there ever been any observable or detectable health
risk from any commercial product containing asbestos, in use, application,
removal, manufacture, transport, or anything else you could do with an
This includes brake mechanics who spend YEARS breathing asbestos dust from
their work and insulators who have likewise spent YEARS blowing the stuff
I agree that much of the asbestos scare is hype, but I think you
had better check some of your facts.
I know here, that the insulators' union has the largest retirement
fund. Not many of them collect. Aunt Irene has asbestosis from
shaking out and washing hubbie's clothes after coming home from
the shipyard. He had no asbestosis, he worked with it wet.
Keep the whole world singing . . . .
DanG (remove the sevens)
Admittedly, there are ancedotal stories such as your Aunt Irene. That
retired members of the union seldom collect may have more to do with the
union discouraging members reaching retirement age.
I cannot find any peer-reviewed study showing a causal relationship between
asbestosis or mesothelieoma and asbestos in a commercial product or
What exactly what you mean by that?
Medicine almost never _proves_ a direct causal relationship between
anything and anything else. It's easy know that the person died because
of asbestosis, but not be able to attribute it to a _specific_ exposure
or product, even one the person was in long-term intimate contact with.
[The fibers in the guys lungs don't have serial numbers on them...]
So they have to make sense out of statistical correlations.
It's likely true that the incidence of asbestosis when you're
only in contact with "finished product" is essentially non-existant.
But, people who work with the bare stuff (eg: insulation installers)
do have a considerably higher incidence of cancers.
I would suggest that asbestos in vinyl flooring is definately
not a danger as long as you're not actively and continuously
disturbing the stuff.
Wash or wax the floor occasionally, and don't worry about it.
If you do decide to replace the flooring, leave it where it
is, and put the new flooring on top.
Chris Lewis, Una confibula non set est
It's not just anyone who gets a Starship Cruiser class named after them.
Occup Environ Med. 2004 Sep;61(9):757-63.
Occupational and environmental exposures and lung cancer in an
industrialised area in Italy.
Fano V, Michelozzi P, Ancona C, Capon A, Forastiere F, Perucci CA.
Epidemiology of pleural mesothelioma in Italy.
Filiberti R, Montanaro F.
National Cancer Research Institute, Environmental Epidemiology and
Mesothelioma Registry of Liguria, Genoa, Italy.
The incidence of malignant mesothelioma (MM) in Italy is
increasing and is assumed to be a consequence of high levels of
asbestos exposure. Establishment of the National
Mesothelioma Registry (ReNaM) and the co-operation of five regional
centers has allowed the estimation of the incidence of malignant
mesothelioma in major parts of Italy and the definition of exposure to
Did they control for smoking? I've glanced at a few of the mining
studies in USA and it would seem SMOKERS are the ones coming down with
lung disease after exposure to toxins. They've already insulted their
body's ability to clear the lungs and respiratory tract, and loaded
themselves with immune system damage.
"GEO" firstname.lastname@example.org wrote in message
Since these "studies" are usually driven by the plantiff's lawyer, they usually
try to ignore anything that puts the liability anywhere but in the deep pockets
of the defendant.
Simply because the study comes from some "public interest group" sounding name
doesn't mean it is not lawyer funded.
On 24 Aug 2004 17:17:59 GMT, email@example.com (Greg) wrote:
"By 1960, 63 scientific papers on the subject of asbestosis had
been done, 11 of which were sponsored by the asbestos industry, the
other 52 coming from hospitals and medical schools. The 11 industry
studies were unanimous in denying that asbestos caused lung cancer and
minimizing the seriousness of asbestosis -a position diametrically
opposite to the conclusions reached in the nonindustry studies.
...The history of industry denials was neatly summarized by David
Ozonoff from Boston University, who served as a witness in asbestos
litigation and describedthe series of defenses used by the asbestos
'Asbestos doesn't hurt your health. OK, it does hurt your health
but it doesn't cause cancer. OK, asbestos can cause cancer but not out
kind of asbestos. OK, our kind of asbestos can cause cancer, but not
the kind this person got. OK, our kind of asbestos can cause cancer,
but not at the doses to which this person was exposed. OK, asbestos
does cause cancer, and at this dosage, but this person got his disease
from something else, like smoking. OK, he was exposed to our asbestos
and it did cause his cancer, but we did not know about the danger when
we exposed him. OK, we knew about the danger when we exposed him, but
the statute of limitations has run out. OK, the statute of limitations
hasn't run out, but if we're guilty we'll go out of business and
everyone will be worse off. OK, we'll agree to go out of business, but
only if you let us keep part of our company intact, and only if you
limit our liability for the harms we have caused.'
'Trust us, we're experts' (2001)
Sheldon Rampton and John Stauber
That just shows that the industry has lawyers too. The truth is in the middle
If you had a job grinding up asbestos all day you probably had a bad effect
from it. If you fixed copiers, toner caused you problems. If you work in a
concrete plant the cement hurt you.
Everything causes cancer if you get too much of it in your system
Face it, the world is a dangerous place, it kills us all eventually.
On 24 Aug 2004 20:56:17 GMT, firstname.lastname@example.org (Greg) wrote:
Sometimes the truth is not in the middle. That shows that those with
money can buy, or postpone, justice.
One has to make the difference on whether thar risk is accepted
knowingly, or whether is imposed without our consent. An example of
the first would be if one were to take up rock climbing; on of the
second would be car manufacturers that sold cars (or trucks) with a
known safety defect, but without disclosing it to the buyers.
Do you expect that drugs will be tested for safety? Or you accept
the risk that the next time you need to take a medication you might
die? Do you expect your food be safe?
More to the point, there may be rules violations or worse.
Asbestos embedded in materials isn't considered the main problem, so
leaving asbestos in place is generally always considered a safe option.
But breaking it up could create contaminated dust, and there are
specific rules about handling it (watering is one, but so is
respiration, and so is disposal).
A local church was having some demolition done just like this, and the
handyman-quasi-contractor ripped out a lot of asbestos ceiling tile*
before the authorities got wind of it (may have been an anonymous tip).
He was sentenced to a felony with three years probation, IIRC.
* admittedly more crumbly than floor tile, but still
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