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Flooring and Carpeting/possible asbestos in carpet glue

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Question
Hi
Thanks for taking my question.

We pulled out very old carpet (30+ years) that was glued to floor tiles under the carpet.  The carpet came off very easily and no damage was done to the tiles.   My concern is that the glue/adhesive may contain asbestos. The glue/adhesive can be seen on the bottom of the carpet and lightly on the floor tiles.  The color of the carpet glue/adhesive is yellowish light brown.   Should I be concerned about this?

Answer
Asbestos was used in carpet adhesive up until the mid 1980's or so then its usage dropped dramatically due to lawsuits.  So obviously the later the better in your case. Next, and this is not a hard and fast rule, I have never known carpet adhesive that is yellow like you describe to contain asbestos. The very dark brown or black mastics typically are the ones that have asbestos. Next, a small exposure like you had is extremely unlikely to be the cause of any cancer. The particles must become friable (airborne such as from sanding) AND the exposure has to be relatively long term (years). Lastly, think also of all the older buildings you have been in in your life that may have contained asbestos. I know of no reports of epidemic cases of lung cancers from people that used these buildings. (FYI 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 67 and have no history of lung 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.
If you are still in doubt you can submit a sample for testing and/or order an air quality test that specifically tests for airborne asbestos.  You may have such facilities near you. Or you can check the web or write back and I will assist you.
Good luck

Flooring and Carpeting

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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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