Asbestos, a common building material, is one of the most toxic substances on earth.
One microscopic asbestos fiber can cause mesothelioma, a rare and aggressive heart-lung cancer, as well as other serious and fatal diseases. Builders widely used asbestos before the government started regulating it around 1980.
A lot of asbestos products have been banned because of the danger, but it is still technically legal to use asbestos in houses and other buildings.
So if your home was built or remodeled before 1980, you should use an easy flooring test for asbestos. If this toxic material is hiding in your floor tiles, it could be a serious health hazard not only for your family, but also to anyone else who comes into the house. Possible asbestos contamination could also lower your home’s value.
Are Asbestos-Laced Floor Tiles Dangerous?
When they are in pristine condition, no, asbestos-laced floor tiles aren’t dangerous. However, over the years, these tiles endure lots of wear and tear. At that point, they could crack and release asbestos fibers into the air.
Some warning signs include:
- Visible Adhesive: Builders commonly used cutback adhesive, or black mastic, to glue tiles to floors. This adhesive contained large amounts of asbestos, both as a filler and as a fireproofing material.
- Discoloration: Tile color usually fades before surface cracks or other structural issues appear. The discoloration is usually related to oil-based asphalt, a substance that usually contains asbestos. So, tile discoloration is basically an early warning sign.
- Age: This red flag is usually the brightest one. As mentioned, most builders used asbestos before 1980. The 1950s through the 1970s was the period of highest use. If your floor tile was made or installed during this period, it almost certainly contains asbestos.
Leading asbestos-laced floor tile manufacturers during this period include:
|Sears||Everwear Inc||Armstrong World Industries|
|American Biltrite||Kentile Floors||GAF Corporation|
|Amtico Floors||Congoleum Corporation||Montgomery Ward|
The presence of asbestos can only be confirmed by a laboratory test of a sample. So if you see any warning signs, this test is usually worth the money.
Homeowners should immediately take care of hazards like asbestos-laced floor tile. Cancer treatments, like mesothelioma treatments, can cost over $60,000 per month. If a person developed cancer or another asbestos-related disease because of a contaminated floor tile, the homeowner, or in most cases the homeowner’s insurance company, is financially responsible for these costs as well as other damages.
Incidentally, if you got sick at someone else’s home, you can file a negligence claim. These claims don’t “blame” anyone for injuries. Instead, they simply force people to take responsibility for the mistakes they make.
Additionally, as mentioned, the homeowner usually isn’t financially responsible for damages. In fact, homeowners usually aren’t responsible for any litigation-related expenses. That includes hiring a lawyer. True, the insurance company will most likely increase the homeowner’s premiums. But that probably would’ve happened anyway, legal action or not.
To make a legal claim, the victim must prove the homeowner had a legal duty and the homeowner knew, or should have known, about the injury-causing hazard.
Generally, the legal duty depends on the connection between the property owner and the injury victim. In most states, most victims are invitees. This Legalese word simply means someone who has permission to be on the property and whose presence benefits the owner. The invitation could be specific, like a dinner invitation, or general, like an open house. Owners have a duty of reasonable care where invitees are concerned. In these cases, owners must take steps to ensure their property is reasonably safe.
Somewhat similarly, knowledge could involve direct or circumstantial proof. Direct evidence in these cases usually means a laboratory test showing the presence of asbestos. Circumstantial proof usually hinges on the red flags mentioned above which point to possible asbestos contamination. The greater the number of red flags, the more likely constructive knowledge (should have known) applies.
AsbestosClaims.law is your comprehensive resource for all things asbestos. We hope this information helps you.
If you believe that your home was contaminated with asbestos, you could be entitled to significant compensation-money you could use to cover the costs of asbestos removal services, pay for medical treatment, and preemptively protect your physical well-being.
In addition to legal claims, veterans disability, social security and employment protection like workers compensation, FELA and The Jones Act for maritime workers, there are asbestos trusts that have been set up to compensate those harmed by asbestos without having to file a lawsuit.
If you have any additional questions or concerns related to asbestos, including testing for exposure or how to file a claim, please get in touch by email at [email protected], or call or text us at (833) 4-ASBESTOS (427-2378) or (206) 455-9190.