Leaky roof cement patch (C) Daniel Friedman Asbestos Hazard Levels in Tile Mastics, Cutback Adhesive, or Roofing Sealants & Mastics

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Asbestos hazard in flooring or roofing adhesives, mastics, or sealants: This article provides opinion & comment on the hazard of friable asbestos release from flooring or roofing adhesives, mastics, or sealants.

This article series answers questions about floor tile, sheet flooring, or roofing cutback adhesives or mastics that may contain asbestos.Does or did roofing mastic products & sealants contain asbestos? What are the hazards of demolishing or working on floors or roofs where asphalt-based asbestos-containing mastics, cutback adhesives, or sealants were used? Page top photo of black mastic floor tile adhesive provided courtesy of reader G.M.

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Does Flooring Mastic, Cutback adhesive or Roofing Sealant/Mastic Contain Dangerous Levels of Asbestos?

Leaky roof cement patch (C) Daniel FriedmanIn our roof sealant photograph (left) we are inspecting a roof that was patched in the 1980's - it would be reasonable to treat this roof flashing cement or patching compund as Presumed Asbestos Containing Material (PACM).

Certainly as we see in Rosato [23], the asbestos industry was constantly looking for uses of asbestos mining waste products that included granular asbestos dust and short asbestos fibers. Asbestos fibers were used as a strengthening material in roof flashing cements as well as in flooring mastics and cutback adhesives.

Asbestos was used in those forms in vinyl-asbestos flooring in both floor tile and sheet flooring forms.

And as we document at CERAMIC TILE, ASBESTOS / LEAD?, asbestos was used in mixture with ceramic fibers (for certain products such as filters) and in ancient pottery applications.

Our photo (left) illustrates a floor tile installation in Barcelona, Spain. These floor tiles are estimated at more than 50 years old.

At ASBESTOS IDENTIFICATION IN BUILDINGS - we point out that the EPA and other expert sources note that

... not all asbestos-containing products are dangerous. A health risk exists only when asbestos fibers are released from a product [into the air where they are inhaled for example]. Products that are friable (easily crumbled or made into dust that is easily airborne) are more dangerous than products in which binders immobilize the asbestos fibers.

EPA also indicates that not everyone exposed to asbestos will develop an asbestos-related illness or disease. Most people exposed to small amounts of asbestos do not develop asbestos-related health problems. Cigarette smokers are at much higher risk of asbestos-related disease. [1][2][3][4][5]

It is usually reasonable to cover over an asbestos-suspect floor, thereby significantly reducing the risk of sending asbestos fragments or particles of flooring or floor adhesive into the air at detectable levels. And by leaving the flooring material in place you actually expose the building to less asbestos hazard risk than by removing it (in most cases).

Watch out: demolition projects that disturb any asbestos containing material may produce friable asbestos debris, dust and thus airborne particles at dangerous levels, particularly if EPA or other expert advice is not followed.

For example, see ASBESTOS REMOVAL, Wetting Guidelines.


Continue reading at ASBESTOS-MASTIC REMEDIATION or select a topic from the More Reading links or topic ARTICLE INDEX shown below.

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ASBESTOS-CONTAINING MASTIC DANGEROUS? at InspectApedia.com - online encyclopedia of building & environmental inspection, testing, diagnosis, repair, & problem prevention advice.

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