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DougCam

04:16PM | 09/04/09
Member Since: 09/03/09
7 lifetime posts
Bvmisc
While wearing a P100 respirator in a room sealed off with plastic sheeting (painter's drop cloth plastic sheets) as I was removing some broken asbestos tiles, not knowing better, I ripped up a 4x8 piece of ancient VINYL SHEET that lay in one corner of the room, utterly splitting the paper backing so that half of it came up with the vinyl while the other half remained glued to the floor. I had no idea the cardboard-looking backing could also contain asbestos. Assuming it contains asbestos, am I up the creek in terms of contamination? How long does it take to settle out of the air so I can mop it all up? Is my house a hazmat site? Can I clean it up or do I need the guys in the spacesuits? How much risk exposure does a 4x8 piece torn out in this manner represent.

Stressed and in need of good advice. Tomh? Anybody?

Thank you.

DougCam

04:38PM | 09/09/09
Member Since: 09/03/09
7 lifetime posts
So here's what I did. I left the room alone for a couple of days hoping any asbestos dust would settle. Then I went back in (with P100 mask on) and mopped everything down until it was water-soaked, vacuumed with a HEPA filter-equipped shop vac (did the best I could to seal the tank with duct tape), sponged down the walls and ceiling and then dried them with paper towels which I subsequently threw away in plastic bags, then painted the old tiles and remaining backing from the vinyl sheet with a latex sealer (really an additive normally mixed with thin set for laying tiles). We also had a commercial steam cleaning outfit clean our carpets. We're going to mop all the hardwood too.

My biggest concern is that when I pulled up the approx. 4x8 piece of vinyl sheet (thereby separating the cardboard-looking backing that presumably contains asbestos, presumably releasing asbestos dust into the air), I'd failed to notice or tape off 1-a half-inch hole in the wall through which a TV cable used to run; or 2-a handful of gaps and slots in the structures of the can lights in the room, a couple of which appear to be set directly in the ducting for the HVAC (I can't believe someone would have done that).

I wonder how much asbestos dust could have gotten into the rest of the house through those gaps. The HVAC was off (it's still off, but I'll have to turn it on sooner or later). The backing of the vinyl sheet didn't crumble or anything like that, but it did separate when I ripped the sheet off the floor.

Any suggestions?

Many thanks.

tomh

04:20PM | 09/11/09
Member Since: 07/01/03
558 lifetime posts
Under the circumstances you did well having a mostly isolated work area, using wet methods, containing the materials and encapsulating any surfaces. There is no certainty you actually had asbestos containing material. For peace of mind, you may want to submit a sample for analysis at a local lab.

Assuming the worst, that the material had asbestos, it was not mechanically disrupted. Some release would have happened with the material being torn, but nothing to get too excited about. Some asbestos fiber is naturally occurring, and nearly everyone has some anecdotal exposure. You did exceptionally well handling this. My advise is not to worry, perhaps have a sample analyzed.

DougCam

06:32AM | 09/12/09
Member Since: 09/03/09
7 lifetime posts
Thank you very much for your response.

Does the stuff stay in the air a long time? Or does it settle out after a day or so?

tomh

10:01PM | 09/23/09
Member Since: 07/01/03
558 lifetime posts
My experience in clearance testing is that asbestos dust is not suspended in the respirable zone inside buildings for long periods of time. During clearance, we intentionally disturb the air with blower or fans to re-suspend particles and determine worst-case conditions. The objective in any cleanup is to use wet methods to minimize dust and maximize pick-up.

I have personally been in "disaster zones" with abundant asbestos materials scattered and piled on surfaces, and been unable to detect it in breathing zone air samples without aggressive techniques to re-suspend particles.

Does this help?

DougCam

03:42PM | 10/04/09
Member Since: 09/03/09
7 lifetime posts
Yes sir, that helps a lot. SOrry I didn't see this sooner.

Thanks for your help. I'll sleep better now.
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