Asbestos floor tiles were popular in construction throughout the United States till about 1980. Asbestos is a good insulator, resists chemical attack, and is highly durable. However, it also poses several serious health risks. Several facts about the dangers of this building material have been uncovered and asbestos is rarely used in flooring nowadays. However, many older homes may have asbestos floor tiles, or flooring that contains asbestos. Asbestos is only dangerous in floor tile that is cracking or breaking. The removal of floor tile containing asbestos often requires professional assistance to avoid contamination of the air indoors.
1. Can Cause Asbestosis
Asbestosis or pulmonary fibrosis is a serious breathing problem caused by the inhalation of asbestos particles. It is characterized by scarring of the lung tissue and it makes it difficult for the lung to intake air and exhale carbon dioxide. Some of the symptoms of asbestosis include chest pain, difficulty breathing, coughing, and an inability to perform strenuous activities. Untreated asbestosis can lead to hypertension and heart problems.
2. Can Cause Mesothelioma
The mesothelial lining is a type of tissue that forms a protective cover around the different organs in the human body. Exposure to asbestos dust and minute particles can cause mesothelioma, especially if the exposure is long-term or if the asbestos is concentrated.
3. Can Cause Lung Cancer
Asbestos exposure is a leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers. If the asbestos tiles have cracks or openings, the asbestos particles may become lodged deep inside the lungs. Symptoms such as shortness of breath, loss of weight, and coughing may not show up until much later.
4. Difficult to Detect
It is very difficult to detect the presence of asbestos in your home. You must consult an asbestos detection/removal expert if you suspect that your tiles contain asbestos and to confirm that there are no surface imperfections that could be letting out asbestos particles.
5. Difficult to Replace
Asbestos tiles are very tough and attempts for removal can be quite dangerous because of the possibility of breakage. If a tile breaks, asbestos contamination is a certainty. Also, the glues or adhesives used during the tiling process may also contain asbestos. For safety purposes, it is always advisable that you hire a professional to carry out renovation or repairs involving asbestos floor tile. Most experts discourage the removal of asbestos tile, especially if it is free from cracks. It is safer to install a new layer of tile over it.
6. Leads to Long-term Contamination of Indoor Air
If there are any accidents involving asbestos floor tile, the contamination indoors could lead to long-term problems. The particles can stay in place for a long time. Sweeping, vacuuming, and dusting increase the risk of particles becoming unsettled. It is therefore always desirable to wet mop floors if there is a chance of asbestos contamination.