Bead blasting of floor tile mastic on concrete floors leaves the cleanest surface but there are a number of considerations. Not all abatement contractors have bead blasting machines so they have to rent the equipment. Also the bead blasting machine cannot clean all the way to the edge of a wall so a floor grinder with a special scarifying blade should be employed. The grinder must be equipped with a cowl connected to a HEPA vacuum. A thin section of mastic will remain in the corner but the majority of that can be removed with a scraper. The major concern with Bead Blasting and grinding is dust control. The area must be under negative air pressure and adequate wetting must be employed. The project requires full containment and the mastic debris will be friable, requiring disposal as hazardous waste.
Larry Myers worked 40 years as an electrician, unaware he had been handling materials that could cause his death.
For the past two years, the 78-year-old man from Northern Indiana has been embroiled in a contentious legal battle against a number of manufacturers who he claims knowingly produced products that caused malignant pleural mesothelioma, a rare form of cancer that typically kills within a year of diagnosis. Myers was diagnosed on March 17, 2014, 15 years after he retired.
The cancer, doctors told him, resulted from years of exposure to asbestos in materials he had used, worked with and been around as an electrician. He also smoked a brand of cigarettes that had filters containing asbestos, according to court records.
The complex litigation reached the Indiana Supreme Court in early 2015. At issue is the constitutionality of a section of Indiana’s Product Liability Act called the statute of repose, which created a 10-year cutoff for allowing plaintiffs to sue manufacturers of asbestos-containing products. According to the statute, the 10-year countdown starts when a product reaches a user or consumer.
That posed a problem for Myers. Mesothelioma and other diseases caused by exposure to asbestos take decades to manifest themselves, sometimes up to 50 years. Indiana denied Myers any legal recourse because he became sick after the 10-year cutoff had passed. And unlike the state’s statute of limitations, which starts from the time a person discovers an injury, the repose could expire well before the injury occurs or is discovered.
“They could be injured, but there (are) no symptoms. That’s the problem,” said Linda George, one of Myers’ lawyers. “They’re sick, but they don’t know.”
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12-inch by 12-inch or 9-inch by 9-inch vinyl or asphalt Floor Tile…
OSHA says all asphalt or vinyl floor tile installed prior to 1980 is Presumed (PACM) to contain asbestos unless sampling proves otherwise. Pretty much all 9-inch by 9-inch contains some amount of asbestos. Typically, it contains less than 5% Chrysotile asbestos. It is common for 12-inch by 12-inch to also contain asbestos especially if it was installed prior to 1980. It is usually less than 3% Chrysotile asbestos.
Floor tile mastic often contains asbestos whether or not the vinyl or asphalt floor tile contains asbestos. This mastic is usually black in appearance and has been applied with a serrated trowel. It is not uncommon for this material to contain Tremolite asbestos but most often will contain Chrysotile asbestos between trace (1% or less) and 3%.
So what is the best way to remove floor tile mastic. Depends on the substrate and the intended new floor covering. On concrete floors, bead blasting with perimeter clean up utilizing floor grinders will leave a surface suitable for epoxy application or new mastic and flooring material. Wood surface is not suitable for bead blasting and chemical stripper will suffice. If the building is going to be demolished, cutting an old plywood floor out and disposing of it as asbestos contaminated may be more cost effective than mastic abatement.
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Researchers have found that Asbestos workers who also smoke increase their risk of contracting lung cancer 70 to 80 times greater than the general population.
Fortunately the exposures to asbestos available today are generally much lower, and the amount of cigarettes smoked daily much less, than in the 1950’s when these studies were conducted with shipyard workers. Obviously, it is better to avoid cigarette smoke and asbestos disturbance altogether whenever possible in order to eliminate as much risk as possible
People ask “which agency is responsible for asbestos regulations?” The answer is “Both”.The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 1982 was charged protecting the environment from asbestos in K-12 schools nationwide in the USA. Prior to that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) had developed regulations to protect Manufacturing employees. Later, OSHA promulgated regulations for the construction industry as well, which affect all employees.The EPA regulations require training for workers and specify responsibilities for local education agencies (LEA’s) and public building owners while OSHA regulations are primarily directed towards employer responsibilities. While there may be some overlap in the requirements, all must be addressed in order to comply.
Researchers in Baltimore studied children who were diagnosed as lead poisoned between 1931 and 1951
And were astounded to find that out of 283 children studied, almost one third died as a result of their lead exposure.
Since many of these children grew up in housing that was managed by the Housing and Urban Development Agency HUD was encouraged to institute guidelines which have become “state-of-the-art” for workplace guidance for regulators across the US. Since much of the exposure to lead comes from lead based paint it is imperative that workers are aware of the dangers and good work practices as specified by the Hazard Communication Standard. For more information
The California Department of Education has defined loose and peeling lead based paint on school buildings as a “Hazard”.
This followed release by experts of the astounding information that “an ingested paint chip the size of a dime, with 15% lead, could be fatal for a child up to 5 years of age.” Awareness of all workers is absolutely necessary in order to prevent availability of lead hazards for children, building occupants and staff.