Asbestos in Vinyl Floor Tiles
The low cost, durability, and wide range of color options made vinyl floor tiles a popular choice in homes built throughout the mid-twentieth century. Unfortunately, many of those floor tiles were made with asbestos, a mineral that is now known to cause such serious diseases as mesothelioma—a particularly aggressive cancer that affects the lining of the lungs, heart, or abdomen. And while asbestos as an additive in products of all types began to be phased out in the 1970s due to growing concerns about its health effects, many asbestos floor tiles remain intact and in place in older homes today.
How to Tell if Floor Tiles Contain Asbestos
A visual inspection won’t determine if old floor tiles contain asbestos. For that reason, vinyl floor tiles should not be removed for testing by anyone except a trained, certified asbestos contractor.
What to do if Floor Tiles Contain Asbestos
If it turns out the floor tiles are made with asbestos, a homeowner has three options:
- Do nothing. Provided the tiles are in perfect condition, with no worn or torn areas, it is an option to leave the floor tiles as they are. The EPA states, “Asbestos-containing materials that aren’t damaged or disturbed are not likely to pose a health risk.”
- Cover it. Contain the asbestos by covering it with a new flooring surface such as carpeting, vinyl or linoleum. Covering the asbestos tile will prevent any of the dangerous asbestos fibers from potentially becoming airborne. Should those fibers be swallowed or inhaled, they can lodge in the lining of the lungs or abdomen and cause serious, asbestos-related cancers.
- Remove it. The only safe way to remove asbestos tile is to have the work done by a professional asbestos abatement company. Simply removing the tile does not fully eliminate the problem, as any leftover tile adhesive may contain asbestos particles that could be released into the air if sanded or even if scrubbed too vigorously. Asbestos removal professionals will do all that is necessary to ensure all traces of asbestos are removed along with the floor tiles.
Thanks to the rise of "quick fix," do-it-yourself home renovation television shows, many people feel empowered to tackle their own home beautification and repair projects. While the impulse is admirable, it’s important to know that older homes may contain unseen risks. The health affects of asbestos exposure are documented and very real. Exercise caution.
Exposed to Asbestos? Contact a Mesothelioma Lawyer Today
If you believe you were exposed to asbestos and have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, you may want to contact a mesothelioma attorney to explore your legal options. Mesothelioma attorneys have helped thousands of mesothelioma patients win compensation for lost wages and medical costs related to their disease.