Asbestos is a mineral fibre that once enjoyed relative prominence in product and building manufacturing. Companies often used asbestos to strengthen their products, as well as for heat insulation and fire resistance in homes. In the 1980s, asbestos was outlawed in various countries because of its toxicity to humans. However, asbestos can often be found in aged buildings and older building materials. Knowing how to tell whether floor tiles contain asbestos is an important step in safeguarding your health.
Determine the age of your home. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA, states that houses built between 1930 and 1950 have a higher risk of having materials that contain asbestos.
Check the age of your floor tiles. Asbestos was once common in floor tiles and other household building materials, but lost popularity in the 1970s. Floor tiles manufactured before the '70s have a higher chance of containing asbestos.
Review the condition of any floor tiles that you suspect contain asbestos. The EPA says that floor tiles that contain asbestos will most likely not release the asbestos if the tiles are in good condition. Health dangers arise when the material becomes damaged and worn.
Avoid touching, disturbing or handling damaged floor tiles that you suspect contain asbestos. This may release asbestos into the air.
Consult a qualified asbestos expert to take a sample of the floor tiles and analyse them in a laboratory environment. Lab testing is the only way to ascertain for sure whether floor tiles contain asbestos. Contact your local EPA office for a referral to a qualified expert. Regional EPA contact information is available at the agency's web site.
Dispose of any floor tiles and building materials that contain asbestos. Check with your local EPA office to determine proper disposal options in your area.