I was just taking down ceiling panels from a drop ceiling in the basement
and got covered in dust; some of which may have been from the shredding of
the edges of the panels. It was only afterwards that it occured to me the
chance that there may have been asbestos in the panels!
The date of posession of the house when it was first built was 1978; and the
basement was definately not a part of the original install (none of the
houses in the area had finished basements). I'm also thinking that it was
done by one of the owners as opposed to a contractor, but who knows. The
fact is that the drop ceiling was installed in '78 or later.
What are the chances of the tiles containing asbestos, and how do I go about
getting them tested in Toronto, Canada? I've already written an email to the
govt, but they usually have a 2 day turnaround.
Can someone give me a ballpark answer about the chances of them actually
having asbestos though?
Slim next to none. Ceiling tile is and has been essentially a cellulose
Were they 12 x 12 tongue and groove or 2' x 4' ?
Keep the whole world singing. . . .
They are not likely to have asbestos. My house was built in 1971 and
none contain asbestos. Moreover, you will coughing if you came into
contact with it. Your body develops natural reactions to these
harmful material and will try to get it out of the system.
Thats funny, since you can cough after exposure to good old dust. I dont
know about some of this stuff I read...we are exposed to fiberglass, and
asbestos and all kinds of good stuff, and we cant tell what we got into by
the way the "body reacts"...
Bad advice there.
I worked in a commercial building that was completed in 1980, and the ceiling
tiles contained asbestos. It cost the company a fortune to have it replaced.
Some areas of the building also had vinyl tiles that contained asbestos, and had
to be replaced.
At the time, many so-called "experts" said that there was no chance that there
would be asbestos found. They were all found to be exactly wrong once testing
The only answer for you, is that it must be tested.
Maybe, but it is just as likely that if that commerical
building had drop down ceilings, the sp-ace above contained
pipes above were wrapped in asbestos which shed fibers and
contaminated the ceiling tiles. Why would ceiling tiles
ever be made with asbestos fibers? There was (or they
thought there was), however, a good reason for putting
asbestos in floor tiles.
On Sat, 27 Dec 2003 00:17:29 GMT, "George E. Cawthon"
The fact is, those white acoustical tiles used to be made with asbestos as a
component. Yes, the pipe wrap also contained asbestos and had to be removed, but
the ceiling tiles were manufactured with asbestos. There is nothing new or
surprising about this fact..
After a quick google search I found that some EPA sites
indicate that ceiling tile and layin pannels do contain
asbestos. Maybe the 1977 law didn't cover commercial
building but if it did, the contract, builder or whoever
should have been liable.
How do I go about getting them tested in Toronto, Canada? As I mentioned, I
contacted the govt, but with all the holidays right now and the weekend I
wont get a response for a while.
Also, if they do test positive, will they not come and put a tent over the
house, evict us, and invoice millions for the cleanup?
It is certainly possible, but not likely. More likely they are fiberglass,
which may prove to be just as deadly!
But, I wouldn't worry. The exposure you and your family are likely to
receive would be minimal, and the people who really need to worry about
asbestos are those who are in constant contact with the dust in a work
Just be sure to vacuum a lot for a couple of weeks. Wear a dustmask and eye
protection when you work to remove the ceiling.
Not to downplay exposure issues, because I am fearful as well! But your
risk is truly minimal.
The others have commented on the chances, which seem slim but only testing
can tell for sure. But even if they have asbestos, I wouldn't worry about
health effects from what you're doing. Asbestos is harmless unless
disturbed, so it's only during the recent work that there's any exposure.
And casual exposure, while undesirable, is not the damaging thing. People
got sick by being exposed to fibres for years on end, not occasionally
breathing the stuff in.
If you are talking about the 1/2 to 5/8 tiles in 12 inch
squares and 2x4 foot pieces, probably other sizes too, then
there is virtually no chance. It's got nothing to do with
1978. These things have been around since before the
1950s. Celotex was a major manufacture, don't know if they
are anymore. Look at the edges and if they are very granular
in appearance and if the tiles are very light weight you are
looking at a wood or fiber producted. There would be no
reason to put asbestos in those. A little asbestos wouldn't
cut down flamability and pure asbestos tiles would be heavy.
On Sat, 27 Dec 2003 00:02:18 GMT, "George E. Cawthon"
There was apparently SOME reason to put in asbestos, because the absolute fact
is that they did do just that. I think it was probably because the long strands
helped hold the other short fibered materials together.
I'll accept that some did, but I don't think they were in
Celotex. I can't think of a single reason to add them to
the tile. But then, I can't think why they would use them
in popcorn ceilings, but I know they did even though other
materials would work as well and just a cheap.
Thanks for the input..
from my perspective, I'm hoping that they don't contain any asbestos, and it
stands to reason that they shouldn't (in hindsight at least). When they get
installed, no matter how hard you try, the edges get frayed on these
things.. that's just the nature of a suspended ceiling. And when you pop a
tile you get covered in dust from when they were installed. Also since the
floor above is a floor, they are exposed to vibration. Of course I'm looking
at this from today's perspective of the stuff being dangerous when
The face is solid white (no holes or cracks like most acoustic tiles), they
are 1/2" thick, and the back looks sort of like a cross between a MDF look
and the stuff made for felt covered bulletin/pin-boards. When I get my hands
on the digital camera, I'll snap a few shots (in light of everything being
closed at the moment).
Unfortunately there are no labels on them whatsoever so I have no way of
knowing who the manufacturer was. I saw remarkably similar tiles at home
depot but still have no way of knowing if it is the same manufacturer.
As I said, the house was taken posession in 1978, and this room was finished
afterwards, probably a few years after the house was built (or the original
owners would have presumably had the builders do the finishing themselves).
Does anyone have any idea of the timeline of when asbestos was phased out of
Thanks again for all the input.
Things you need to know:
1. There has never been a scientifically documented case of human health
problem related to end-market asbestos. This includes people who breathed
asbestos dust from brake pads and shoes for 30 years.
2. Had there not been hysteria over asbestos, perhaps 1000 people would not
have lost their lives in the 2nd World Trade Center collapse (they quit
using asbestos insulation on the steel at about th 60th floor). The 2nd
Tower lasted only half as long as the 1st before collapsing.
3. If you tell ANYBODY (especially the government), you may have to pay the
cost of tearing down your house and moving all the resultant scrap to an
enviornmentally-approved landfill. Certainly the resale value of your house
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