Although numerous building materials have been manufactured using asbestos, tiles are among the most common. In fact, asbestos tiles were used for both ceilings and floors for about 30 years between the 1950s and 1980. In general, asbestos tiles were popular because they were extremely durable, making them particularly useful for applications that demanded heat and fire protection. In addition, asbestos tiles may have been used for acoustical purposes. Asbestos floor and ceiling tiles can be found in homes and commercial buildings all over the world. Asbestos tiles are not hazardous when they are in good condition, but tiles that have been affected by water, heat, or age may be dangerous. This is because asbestos floor or ceiling tiles that are chipped or broken can emit tiny asbestos fibers into the air, creating a risk for mesothelioma and other serious diseases.
Installing Asbestos Tiles
Because installing asbestos tiles involves cutting, sawing, and grinding the tiles, many construction workers have inhaled dangerous asbestos fibers. For many, particularly those specializing in laying tile, this occurred on a daily basis. Although employers knew about the risks associated with asbestos exposure, many businesses chose not to warn their employees. As a result, many workers inhaled asbestos fibers for years without knowing they might later become very ill.
How to Deal with Asbestos Tiles
Because damaged asbestos tiles emit asbestos fibers into the air, trying to remove old asbestos tiles is dangerous. In fact, leaving old asbestos tiles alone is safer than removing them. As a result, the best way to deal with old asbestos tiles is to cover them up.
Covering old asbestos floor tiles with just about anything will prevent asbestos fibers from being released into the air. For example, covering the tiles with new carpeting, vinyl flooring, linoleum, or even ceramic tiles will do the trick. With regard to asbestos ceiling tiles, covering them with new ceiling tiles is probably the best option.
As a favor to future owners of a home with covered asbestos tiles, homeowners should make some note of the fact that asbestos tiles are under their new flooring or ceiling. That way, no one will be endangered years down the road when they start ripping up the new flooring and find asbestos tiles beneath.
If you or a family member has been diagnosed with an illness caused by asbestos exposure, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries.