Asbestos can be found in a variety of construction materials, including tile. While some forms of asbestos tiles have been replaced due to renovation, damage, or building demolition, many still remain today. This poses the question, what is the best way to remove asbestos tile, and can it be done safely? Here’s what you should know.
If you believe that you were exposed to asbestos, even as a child, speak to a healthcare provider about tests and screening to help diagnose lung-scarring and screen for asbestos-related diseases.
|Nearly every building constructed before the mid-1980s contained asbestos products and building materials.|
Asbestos was the Amazon
Today the company Amazon is arguably the most readily used company in America. In fact, when you look at the branding symbol for the company there is an arrow drawn in the shape of a smile that moves from the ‘A’ to the ‘Z’ in the word. This subconsciously tells us a message: Amazon has everything from A to Z to give you happiness and peace of mind.
|Asbestos is highly resistant to heat, pressure and corrosion, so it was used in many products, vehicles and buildings. In particular, many workplaces like factories, refineries, foundries and shipyards involve high amounts of heat, and were built with a lot of asbestos.|
You might say that asbestos once enjoyed an ‘Amazon’ status in the construction and manufacturing world. Before the era of readily available medical research, litigation, and major restructuring of corporations, asbestos was praised as one of the greatest minerals of the modern era. It once served as the chief economy in regions of South Africa where asbestos was mined for Western manufacturing companies, and even some American appreciation for asbestos can be seen in the naming of cities and even the rock of the State of California.
Nearly an Inexhaustible Source
Asbestos is a durable mineral, and that is in fact where the name comes from in ancient Greek, meaning indestructible or inexhaustible. These durable qualities include things like:
- Fire and heat resistance
- Corrosion resistance
- High in Strength
- High in Insulating Properties
We could say that asbestos had the A to Z of qualities needed in constructing buildings and structures that needed to withstand the elements such as heat, cold, rain, and fire. Due to the relatively low cost to manufacture this naturally occurring mineral, asbestos could easily be minded, manufactured, and sold to buyers. The result was hundreds if not thousands of household and commercial products that were either made from or contained asbestos in some form.
What are the Hazards of Asbestos Floor Tile?
One of these materials included tile, both floor as well as roof tiles. Asbestos flooring tile was made with asphalt and was also commonly sealed with a black adhesive underlayment which also contained asbestos. Some of the sizes of asbestos tile could vary, but if your home was built in or before the 1980s and contains flooring tile with a black underlayment, it is reasonable to assume that both contain asbestos.
What are the Hazards of Asbestos Roof Tile?
For asbestos roof tile, the general rule of thumb is the same. Asbestos was used in asphalt roof shingles, tile, and roofing underlayment/paper. Since roofs deteriorate faster than other building materials due to being exposed to the elements, it is less likely for an asbestos roof to hold up all the way to the present day. However, that does not mean that asbestos roofs no longer exist.
Homes with the same owner for a long time that have not been renovated, abandoned homes purchased by auction or repossessed, and commercial buildings that aren’t well-maintained could still contain asbestos roofing tile. One general rule of thumb is, that if the tiles look quite aged and different from the textures seen on modern roofing materials, you should assume that they contain asbestos.
The importance of using a licensed professional with asbestos testing and removal
It’s important to stress that for both flooring and roofing tile, the only way to determine whether they contain asbestos is to have them professionally tested. This process means obtaining a sample of the material and sending it to a certified lab for analysis.
Learn more about asbestos testing:
DIY Removal Carries Unnecessary Risks
In theory, this can be done by anyone, but in actuality, it is a risk to undertake without the proper safety gear and practices. Asbestos exposure is a health hazard because the microscopic fibers that break off from damaged or exposed materials can pass through the air and into our bodies by breathing or swallowing them.
Getting a sample of a material believed to contain asbestos will require disturbing it in some way, which can easily result in agitating the fibers and exposing them to the surrounding area. Asbestos fibers can also attach to clothing, tools, and other objects which can result in exposing others to cross-contamination.
Asbestos diseases have a long latency.
That means people exposed to asbestos may not discover their asbestos-related disease until 20-50 years later.
Asbestos: a slow and silent killer
Because asbestos also has no smell or taste, and generally does not produce an immediate reaction, people may not know they’re breathing asbestos. Asbestos fibers can be microscopic.
But the American Lung Association notes that there is a risk that once inhaled, some asbestos fibers will never leave the body.3
Safe Removal Means Professional Removal
With this in mind, it is actually safer to leave undamaged asbestos tile alone or cover it with new flooring than it is to remove. The process of removing tile can involve chiseling, scraping, cutting, and other actions that may result in high levels of asbestos exposure. Air systems in the home can disperse these fibers throughout the entire house relatively quickly as well.
The health risks of asbestos exposure can include:
|Mesothelioma: cancer of the mesothelium, the thin layer of tissue surrounding the body’s organs. This cancer is only known to be caused by asbestos exposure.|
|Laryngeal cancer: cancer of the larynx (section of the throat called the voicebox)||Ovarian cancer|
|Stomach cancer||Colon cancer|
|Pharyngeal cancer||Abestosis: a chronic lung disease associated with asbestos exposure|
|Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)||Atelectasis (collapsed lung)|
|Pleural effusion (collection of fluid around the lungs)||Pericardial effusion (collection of fluid around the heart)|
Why Professional Removal is Best
Because of this, reaching out to a licensed asbestos abatement company can be one of the safest, most powerful, and most comprehensive investments to protect yourself and others in the case of dealing with asbestos tile. The reasons for this include:
- These professionals can take the health risks away from you and handle the testing, removal, and cleanup process from start to finish.
- A licensed abatement company can remove asbestos according to local and state regulations.
- You can rest assured knowing that the exposure threats have been removed and the rest of your home has been tested for exposure levels.
- Selling or renting a home with documentation from a licensed company can provide you with legal protection from theoretical litigation in the future.
Compensation is available for asbestos exposure.
Considering the cost of asbestos testing and abatement
Not always cheap – but usually worth it.
It’s easy to be concerned about the potential cost of reaching out to an asbestos abatement company, but it’s important to ask yourself, what is my health worth to me?
Choosing the DIY route or ignoring the issue could result in large amounts of money spent on medical bills or litigation in the future, both of which can be avoided with no threat to your health if an abatement company handles the danger for you. Again, it is possible to safely remove asbestos tiles yourself, but the risks taken and the skills needed are simply not worth it.
Asbestos claims aren’t just a day in the office for Justinian C. Lane.
Our founder, Justinian C. Lane, understands the devastating impacts of asbestos firsthand.
Both his grandparents and father, all asbestos workers, passed away from asbestos-induced cancers without realizing their eligibility for asbestos lawsuits or other forms of compensation.
We aim to prevent such tragic oversights by informing and guiding victims and their families through their legal options.
If you or your loved ones have suffered as a result of asbestos exposure, you could be eligible for considerable compensation. These funds could provide for medical treatments, asbestos removal services, and safeguard your health.
In addition, asbestos trusts offer compensation without the need for a lawsuit, providing a quicker, simpler path to justice.
Beyond legal claims, we also advise on veterans’ disability, social security, and employment protection like workers’ compensation, FELA, and The Jones Act for maritime workers.
There’s no risk or cost to connect with our experienced team about your rights. Our commitment to your well-being means no fees unless you receive compensation.
|For further queries or concerns about asbestos, explore our website and YouTube page, featuring infographics, videos, and answers to common questions on asbestos-related topics.|
We’ve also introduced W.A.R.D., the Worldwide Asbestos Research Database. It’s the most comprehensive resource for asbestos-related information.
W.A.R.D. assists in pinpointing potential exposure scenarios, asbestos-containing products, and can indicate the types and potential amounts of compensation you may be entitled to receive.
Don’t delay — get in touch with us today!
1 National Cancer Institute (NIH), Asbestos Fact Sheet.
2 National Cancer Institute (NIH), Asbestos Fact Sheet.