Asbestos in Flooring Products and Other Building Materials
Flooring materials include floor tiles as well as installation materials such as subflooring and carpet. "Resilient" flooring such as tiles and hardwood are made of several materials, both natural and artificial. Because natural flooring such as stone, marble, clay and hardwood is relatively expensive, artificial vinyl and linoleum were popular alternatives during much of the twentieth century.
Armstrong was one of the early manufacturers of linoleum, starting production around 1906. From the early part of the century up through the late 1970s, asbestos was a popular additive for flooring products of all sorts among building material manufacturers because of its flame-resistant properties. Asbestos-enhanced material had superior durability as well as resistance to caustic chemicals such as bleach and ammonia that were in popular cleaning products.
In addition to the flooring itself, the mastic (adhesive) used to fix linoleum and vinyl flooring in place often contained asbestos fiber in order to improve adhesion and offer fire-resistance.
Flooring Products Containing Asbestos
The following partial list of flooring products were known to contain asbestos:
|Product Name||Start Year||End Year|
|Flintkote Flexachrome Flooring|
|Kentile Floors Vinyl Sheet Flooring||1907||1986|
Hazards Associated with Flooring Products
Asbestos flooring is not usually a hazard unless it is cut or extremely worn. Unfortunately, as most asbestos flooring was installed well over thirty years ago, and much of it is in poor condition in homes and buildings that have not been recently renovated. Older flooring that is likely to contain asbestos fibers should be removed by a licensed asbestos abatement service. Those who feel they must do this on their own are advised that the disposal of such materials is subject to state environmental regulations.
Bowker, Michael. Fatal Deception: The Untold Story of Asbestos (New York: Touchstone, 2003)
Friedman, Daniel (ed.) "Vinyl-Asbestos Floor Tiles Identification Photo Guide." InspectAPedia (http://inspectapedia.com/sickhouse/Armstrong_Vinyl_Asbestos_Tile_List.htm). Retrieved 6 January 2011.