How dangerous is 3% asbestos in vinyl flooring?

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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?
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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 environment.
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Greg wrote:

Even plutonium ain't plutonium.
Bob
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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.
randy
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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.
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xrongor wrote:

Well, those are just dust masks, so you don't get your airways full of dust and cough and choke. You're right that they're no good for preventing asbestos. But they do the basic job they're good for.

Correct. But dust masks are just that -- DUST masks.
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tv snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

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.
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tv snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

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 asbestos-containing product.
This includes brake mechanics who spend YEARS breathing asbestos dust from their work and insulators who have likewise spent YEARS blowing the stuff around.
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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) snipped-for-privacy@7cox.net
wrote:

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DanG wrote:

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 environment.
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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.
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wrote:

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 Biostatistics, 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 asbestos.
Geo
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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" snipped-for-privacy@home.here wrote in message

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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.
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On 24 Aug 2004 17:17:59 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com (Greg) wrote:

(page 86):
"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 industry:
'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
Geo
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That just shows that the industry has lawyers too. The truth is in the middle somewhere. 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.
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On 24 Aug 2004 20:56:17 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com (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? Geo
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On 24 Aug 2004 09:44:00 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@mindspring.com (mbrooks) wrote:

See reply to Greg.
Geo
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tv snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

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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tv snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote in message

If the tile has asbestos, the mastic also has a high probablity of asbestos. It can be encapsulated. Some communities require special disposal of asbestos containing material.
TB
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