Unwittingly removed asbestos floor tiles.

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Old 06-17-10, 05:18 PM
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Unhappy Unwittingly removed asbestos floor tiles.

Can someone please explain something to me? What is the deal with asbestos? Really.
I recently removed a small, 17-square ft. area of old 9X9 1960ís VATís (vinyl-asbestos tiles) and didnít realize it until two weeks later. I used a little bit of adhesive remover and a heat gun and scraped them up. NO mask. And, in fact, while we were preparing the surface for the new floor, the scraps of VAT were sitting in a bucket and in my dry vac canister.
There was no dust.
Anyway, upon realizing what I had done, I called my doctor who said, "two weeks exposure is an extremely short exposure time, and thereís really no reason to worry." My daughtersí pediatrician said the same thing, more or less. Still, I didnít calm down or stop worrying because of the latency period thing. That is, I was worried that any one of the people living in my house could get sick 10 to 50 years down the road.
Now, Iím reading about how VATís are no/low-risk because the asbestos is bound-up in the compound. Itís "part of the matrix." A piece in the SF Gate even states that vinyl floor tiles that contain asbestos pose no risk even if they are disturbed because of the way they were manufactured. Also, from what I understand, VATís contain a comparatively low % of asbestos, anywayóespecially compared to other residential asbestos products.
Anyway, should I be worried? Or should I let it go? There seems to be a lot of doomsday-ish, very grim asbestos information on the web, but Iím now wondering how many of these websites are sponsored by law firms for whom asbestos torts = $$$. I have to admit, Iím hard pressed to find even a single instance (online) of a person ever developing a long-term illness from a popcorn ceiling, VATíS, or any other residential asbestos products.
 
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Old 06-17-10, 05:22 PM
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Well...welcome to the forums....but...

2 doctors told you not to worry....why would you ask us?

Don't WORRY!

All the doomsday stuff on the web is prbably from lawyers and the people they pay.

If you can avoid exposure..great..just like not working with PT lumber w/o a mask...but don't sweat a little contact.
 
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Old 06-17-10, 05:25 PM
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Let it go. Second hand smoke is far far more dangerous. It takes direct exposure to the asbestos fibers over decades to potentially get sick. You having nothing to worry about.
 
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Old 06-17-10, 05:32 PM
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Thanks. I've been told that I'm overreacting. Anyway, does anyone know anything specific about VAT's being an actual asbestos hazard, or are they stigmatized just because they contain some % asbestos, and the A-word sends shivers up the spines of weekend tinkerers and pulmonologists?
 
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Old 06-17-10, 06:50 PM
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It depends. Only way to know is to get samples taken, and then they will tell you. I deal with people asking if something is asbestos almost weekly at my job. I am a occupational safety & health manager for a large military installation, and when someone see's dust on tables, they go crazy thinking it's asbestos. We try to train and educate the workers, but they think we (the government) want to kill them and that everything is dangerous.
 
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Old 06-18-10, 08:59 AM
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I've also wondered what constitutes "exposure" exactly? Being in the same room as asbestos? Working with it? Or, actually inhaling it? This isn't clear to me.

According to this ring chart I found (The American Council on Science and Health), there's only a 1 in 80,000 chance of dying from asbestos. And since you brought it up, there's apparently a "0" chance of dying from trace chemical exposures--e.g., pressure-treated wood.

American Council on Science and Health - RiskRings, Exposures
 
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Old 06-18-10, 09:10 AM
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There was more asbestos in the adhesive than in the tile. Is there a risk, yes. But it is a low risk. The most dangerous asbestos risk was in insulation on heating ducts. If you ever do anything like that again, mist it with a spray bottle while taking it up. The danger come from the dust.
 
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Old 06-18-10, 10:19 AM
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Yeah, I probably only scraped up (using a heatgun) about 25% of the adhesive, and then decided that it was more trouble then it was worth. After I found out it was asbestos, I painted over it. The whole area is now safely underneath thinset, backer board, and ceramic tiles. The HEPA filter has been running for the past 10 days, and we had the couches professionally cleaned. I can't think of anything else I can do to address the situation.
 
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Old 06-18-10, 10:41 AM
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I've removed thousands of feet of VAT over the years and I'm still here.

If you ever do anything like that again, mist it with a spray bottle while taking it up. The danger come from the dust.
Yep. Keep it wet and scrape it up, don't sand or grind it.
 
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