1. #1

    Join Date
    Jul 2009

    Default At Home Hazmat Issue

    Yesterday my handyman started to retile my bathroom. My house is about 50 years old and I was unsure if the old linoleum tile had asbestos in the tile or mastic, so I told him not to remove the old tile, but to install the new tile over it.

    Unfortunately there was a bit of a language barrier and things got lost in translation. By the time I got back to check on him, he had removed and broken up and vacuumed about 70% of the old linoleum tile. I immediately told him to stop and had someone come out to check the tile and mastic. I just got their $350 report back today and it indicates the old tile and mastic had 7% asbestos and some small pieces of even older tile had 10% asbestos.

    They want to come out tomorrow and do further checks of the bathroom and hallways around it for roughly another $650 or more, to determine my degree of contamination and what measures should be taken (at an additional cost) to decontaminate the area.

    I realize it's hard to comment from my brief description, but in general, what kind of potential exposure are we looking at from 7% tile and mastic? I'm in Southern California. Do the prices quoted seem out of line for testing?


    As a follow up, the tile is gone. While I tried to convey that there was an inhalation hazard by gesturing about air going into my nose and down to my lungs, I believe my handyman interpreted this to mean I was complaining about the smell and did not understand about the actual dangers and friability issue. So, when I came back, all the loose tile had been bagged and removed from the house and the area vacuumed up. Then he installed the new tile over the old area. After the health systems guy took his samples from the bag, it disappeared. I (really) have no idea where it went. My assumption is that my handyman, still not comprehending the health hazxards and friability issue, took it whereever he disposes of all his construction trash.

    Now the question is. how much asbestos was let loose in the air when he hammered and peeled out the old linoleum, how much asbestos he tracked through the house and how many asbestos fibers the vacuum motor blew through the house when he tried to clean it up. What I'm trying to figure out is:

    What level of exposure (number of particles present in a residence) is the threshold before it becomes a health hazard requiring a formal clean up?

    Am I over reacting to all of this?

    Is my testing/abatement company taking advantage of me?

    Thoughts anyone?
    Last edited by Speedbump; 07-31-2009 at 03:51 PM.

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