“99% of 9 X 9 tiles have asbestos!”
If your house was built (or remodeled) in the 1950’s through the 1980’s, there is a very good chance that asbestos was used. All tiles, as well as sheet linoleum, insulation, ceiling tile and even the mastic (construction glue) and plaster had between 1% and 7% asbestos fibers. Which makes sense; the product is inexpensive, lightweight and very strong.
The reason for concern is the damage those fibers can cause if you breathe them in.
When inhaled, these fibers can cause serious health problems, including lung cancer, mesothelioma, and asbestosis. The risk of developing these diseases is higher for people who are exposed to asbestos fibers over long periods of time.
And for folks that smoke tobacco, the risks are a lot higher.
But do you have to be concerned?
As long as the product is encased in vinyl (the fancy term is “encapsulated”), the fibers won’t become airborne, and therefore wont hurt your lungs.
One would free those fibers by grinding, sanding and pulverizing whatever the asbestos was in.
So don’t do that, okay?
According to the folks at InspectAPedia, the best course of action is to leave the product undisturbed. What they actually said was;
Asbestos is safe and legal to remain in homes or public buildings as long as the asbestos materials are in good condition and the asbestos can not be released into the air.
So there’s that.
If you are remodeling and need to remove something that has (or may have) asbestos in it, you can hire that part of the job out, or do it yourself with proper precautions.
And bring the stuff to a hazardous waste site. It’s easy to find out how to do that. The EPA has great guidance on that. Click HERE.
In conclusion, we will never live in a world without asbestos, but with proper precautions, we can still be safe.
To read another, related blog with more information, click HERE