Flooring and Carpeting/Asbestos tile office

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Question
Hello,
I read your response to a concern about asbestos floor tiles and how safe it is to be in an area where they are disturbed.  I have a similar concern.
I work in a school building where there are still asbestos floor tiles.  I was given an office that was a store room.  There were a few disturbed tiles and so they ripped up half of them about 8 weeks ago.  I have been told they are going to put down new tiles, but this has not happened. My concern is that they did a really bad job cleaning up.  They told me I could not sweep the floor (although there was a broom left in the room after they removed the tiles)that they had to use a filtered vacuum and that they would vacuum.   There was dust and pieces of floor tile clearly visible on the floor. I waited and waited, until I finally demanded that they clean it.  They supposedly used a shop vac with a filter.  I have been using the office approx. 2 times a week since they disturbed the tiles for at least 8 weeks.  They have told me there is no danger.  However, I would like someone else to confirm this.
Thank you,
Carol

Answer
The only way you can ingest the asbestos is to inhale the loose particles. You stated that there was dust in addition to the tiles. If the dust was from the tiles, AND there was enough air movement (fans, air vents) you may have inhaled some. But, you need prolonged exposure, and a quantitative amount of exposure AND a susceptibility to the type of cancer caused by the asbestos. Using the room 16 times (2 x week times 8 weeks) would not be a prolonged exposure.
    As I stated in a previous answer: Long term quantitative exposure to asbestos can be harmful. A limited exposure to asbestos is extremely unlikely to be the cause of any cancer. I was an installer for 10 years, from 1966-1976 and periodically ripped up flooring with asbestos. Back then there was no masks, no protective gear because we did not know of the dangers. This was when I was 18 till I was 28. I am now 63 and have no history of cancer. Here's a link that might also make you feel more at ease: http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/asbestos/asbestos/health_effects/. It discusses the fact that asbestos related cancer occurs with repeated long term exposure.
    Bottom line here is that no, I do not think you have to worry, and if I were you I would not lose sleep over it.

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R Adams

Expertise

Certified Installer 1966-1976, Certified Carpet Cleaning Instructor 1976-1985, Certified Commercial and Residential Floor Inspector since 1985 is available to answer questions on problems with carpet or other flooring, and carpet cleaning. I can guide you as to whether you may have a valid claim against a manufacturer/installer/dealer/cleaning company.

Experience

Floor covering Installer 1966-1976 Carpet Cleaning Instructor 1976-1985 Floor Covering Inspector 1985- present

Organizations
Floor Covering Inspector Training School; FCITS Floor Covering Inspection Technical Services; FITS Certified Claims Inspectors Association; CCIA

Publications
Hartford Courant

Education/Credentials
B.S. Chemistry 1971 A.S. Physical Science 1969 Armstrong Certified Installer 1972 3M Certified Carpet Cleaning Specialist 1976 FCITS Certified in Carpet and Hard Surface, Commercial and Residential

Past/Present Clients
GE, Phoenix Insurance Group, McDonalds Corp, WTNH, US NAVY, Xerox, Time Warner, Pitney Bowes, Conair, Yale New Haven Hospital, UCONN, Price Waterhouse, Pepsico.

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