Flooring and Carpeting/asbestos tiles
QUESTION: hi ,I was wondering if you could help me with my concern.my son who is 7 and I, went into a dry cleaners today.there was a lot of the tiles in the store missing.they were the 9x9 tiles,white in color and I could see some black glue like substance on the ground and also like a grey color substance.they had fans going in the store and im wondering if these tiles are asbestos and did they pose a risk to my son,they are obviously replacing the tile but I am so worried that while in the store we were breathing in asbestos fibres.i would be so grateful if you could help in any way, you seem to know so much about asbestos.thank you for taking the time to address my concern
OK, first the bad news: The 9 x 9 tiles are probably asbestos, and the black glue that hold them may also contain asbestos fibers.
Now the GOOD NEWS: UNLESS the tiles and/or black glue is being abraded/sanded and you inhale the particles then they pose NO DANGER. The mere use of fans to circulate air cannot circulate asbestos fibers. Period. Even then, you would need prolonged exposure, and a quantitative amount of exposure AND a susceptibility to the type of cancer caused by the asbestos.
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 also worked in a retail store where we stocked and I physically stacked loose asbestos tiles. I am now 65 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.
Now, I am not trying to downplay the dangers of asbestos. But it is one of those things that the media has overblown to the extent of "casual contact" (i.e. no abrading or long term exposure. But 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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QUESTION: thank you so much for your prompt reply,with all the scary things you hear about asbestos I was just worried that my son was walking on a floor that had asbestos and was breathing in the fibres and as he is still young I was afraid of problems developing with his health but you helped to put my mind at ease a little.thank you once again
I was glad I was able to help and I thank you for your kind words. I know how it is to be worried especially for our children. Your little boy will be fine. But it is good to know what to be careful of. Hopefully by the time he is grown there will be less of that sort of thing to watch out for. Take care.