damaged asbestos tiles around furnace

christians1March 6, 2013


So I had an asbestos scare when pulling up my kitchen floor, It turns out that the floor was tested and was not asbestos which is great news.

But, the back of my basement has the 9x9 tiles on the floor. my house was built in 1970. i know I should assume they are asbestos, but, is there any change they are not??

The reason I ask is, since my scare with my kitchen floor, it has really opened my eyes to realize the basement tiles probabaly are asbestos as well. I just kind of didnt think they were a big deal since we are not pulling them up or scraping or sanding them.

We have a fridge down there, we do our laundry down there and that is where our furnace is.

Most tiles are in good condition but there are some that are cracked and you can hear a crack when you step on a few of them.

Now my biggest concern is my furnace!! It was replaced about 5 years ago. It looks like they pulled up about 4 tiles and also it looks like they cut one in half to put the new furnace down. Now im thinking all that dust if it made a lot of dust keeps getting blown through out my house.

How much of a concern is this. I am going to cover these with another floor.. but how do I address under the furnace and under the hot water heater?? i cant pick them up for the new flooring.. or can I??

I am a mess thinking about what damage may have been done to my family.. my wife is also concerned but I am a mess and its affecting my sleep my work.. I have two small kids and am worried sick.

sorry this is so long just very concerned....

Any suggestions or comments are very appreciated.

thank you

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So...I'm going to assume that this is a serious post and that you're not putting us on.

That said, you can rest assured that the 9" X 9" tiles are asphalt asbestos. Can they release asbestos fibers when disintegrating? Yes. Are yours just loose...or are they falling apart?

Now here is something for you to lose sleep over and to help put this in some perspective for you... I recently responded to a poster who was just as concerned as you are about possible exposure from an asbestos containing material. I am copying my response to that poster for your possible benefit:

"I highly doubt that your casual contact with asbestos, if you even had any, is going to be of any consequence.

Most important thing for you or for anyone else is not to smoke tobacco products or any other smoking product that introduces particulates and chemical compounds deep into the lungs.

To put this in perspective for you: Here is an excerpt from an article published by the American Society for Clinical Pathology that describes "the background level" of asbestos in ambient air.

"In regard to the first factor, studies indicate that everyone is exposed to background levels of asbestos in the ambient air. Studies have shown that members of the general (nonoccupationally exposed) population have tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of asbestos fibers in each gram of dry lung tissue, which translates into millions of fibers and tens of thousands of asbestos bodies in every persons lungs."

Churg A. Nonneoplastic disease caused by asbestos. In: Churg A, Green FHY, eds. Pathology of Occupational Lung Disease. 2nd ed. Baltimore, MD: Williams & Wilkins; 1998:277-338.

Roggli VL, Pratt PC, Brody AR. Analysis of tissue mineral fiber content. In: Roggli VL, Greenberg SD, Pratt PC, eds. Pathology of Asbestos-Associated Diseases. Boston, MA: Little Brown; 1992:299-345.

You cannot eliminate your exposure to asbestos fibers anywhere on the planet, except maybe in industrial 'clean rooms'. However, being aware of situations that will introduce fibers in large quantities by repeated exposures is a prudent thing to do."

If this is of continued concern for you, then by all means spend the money to have the tiles taken out and carted away. To obsess needlessly over this makes no sense. Were you a worker in an industry where you were repeatedly exposed to hazardous fiber levels, as I was, then you'd have something to maybe lose a few nights sleep over.

My best advice? If you smoke, quit now.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2013 at 11:29PM
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Even if you ripped up sanded smashed and any other way of destroying those tiles without dust protection the odds of some complications to your health are extremely low given you are in good health to start with.
Abestos is dangerous when inhaled in large quanties over a long period of time.

A tiled floor in a home is not a concern.
Should it be dealt with? Yes if its worrying you.
Should you pull your hair out stressing over this? No

    Bookmark   March 7, 2013 at 12:48AM
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Thank you for the quick responses.

yes, this is a serious post.

Wow this is unbelievable - ( general (nonoccupationally exposed) population have tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of asbestos fibers in each gram of dry lung tissue)

I know that we can be exposed to small levels in our daily lives but didnt know of the numbers.

The tiles are are not crumbling, they kinda look like the installers actually cut them with a sharp knife and put them back down. So the actual furnace sits on concrete and the return duct sits on the tiles.

Thanks for the info. Its just really scary with this stuff. Its kinda like well just wait and see if will affect you and or your kids. Not much I can do.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2013 at 6:09AM
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You will have a better chance of winning the lottery, than of developing an asbestos-related disease due to casual exposure.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2013 at 7:30PM
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