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Vinyl Asbestos

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Apr 21, 2013, 04:20 PM
RosyGlow
Vinyl Asbestos
We purchased our home in May 1981 which was built in March of that year. We had some extra vinyl floor tiles and I noticed it had va stamped on the back of them. I am assuming these contain vinyl asbestos. I also understand that asbestos was banned in the early to mid '70's. How come the builders were still allowed to use products with it in it? We have deteriorating vinyl tiles in the kitchen and they will need to be removed before laying a new floor. Do we have any recourse with the builder?
Apr 21, 2013, 04:51 PM
Jaybee
They didn't even start talking about banning it until 1980. As it was still legal to sell it in 1980, odds are it was still legal to install in 1981. You have no recourse with the original builder.

Still, don't panic. Several things to consider here:

1. It may not be asbestos at all. The VA stamp could be a manufacturers code. If you have a loose piece, take it to someone who knows what to look for (Hint: Not a big box store employee).

2. Vinyl Asbestos tile is very stable and is not considered hazardous unless it is ground up or sanded. This is the 'Official" word on vinyl asbestos flooring:

Flooring that contains asbestos, when intact and in good condition, is generally considered nonfriable and is not hazardous. Heat, water, weathering or aging can weaken flooring to the point where it is considered friable. Friable flooring includes any material containing more than 1 percent asbestos that can be crumbled, pulverized or reduced to powder with hand pressure. This includes previously nonfriable flooring material which has been damaged to the extent that it may be crumbled, pulverized or reduced to powder by hand pressure. Flooring can also be made friable during its removal. Friable materials can release asbestos fibers into the air. Once in the air, asbestos fibers present a health hazard to people who inhale those fibers.

In other words, the asbestos in vinyl asbestos tile is in such a small amount and any fibers are locked inside the tile. Unless the material has deteriorated to the point that it's dusty or unless you aggressively remove it to the point that it crumbles and creates dust there is not much danger involved. Basic precautions of wearing full covering and breathing filters with possible water misting to control errant dust will keep you safe.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: Jaybee,


Jaybee
May 10, 2013, 06:00 PM
joecaption
What's the plans on replacing it with?
May not even need to remove it depending on what you plan on going over it with.


joecaption
May 11, 2013, 07:33 AM
CommonwealthSparky
I too agree the VA may be more of a production code than a description of the products material list. But who knows?
As with lead paint, asbestos was allowed in the manufacturing process to a cut off day for an important reason. Manufacturing concerns [lobbyists} and bribe money delayed banning of such products with political clout. This is America and money talks when it comes to Congress. Yes I know a different department would be in charge of the task at hand. {I believe France banned lead paint about 1800 or so}.
While you can hire out to firm that can safely handle its removal you too can cover the product in question by yourself in most cases. Check you local listings.... Good luck, work safe...


Popeye only reached for the Spinach can as a last resort...