Please help me!

I have no idea who to turn to so I am hoping someone here can help me.

My husband, parents and I are renovating a house that was built in the 1950’s. We came across a kitchen floor that was made from material that we thought was old linoleum. My stepfather took a piece of it and burned it and said that he didn’t think it was asbestos since it burned.

Well, stupidly we all proceeded to strip the floor and the black “adhesive” down to the original wood. Now I am freaking out because I am wondering if it was indeed asbestos. No one used the proper masks, gloves or anything. I am sure asbestos fibers were flying all over the place, including into our lungs.

I honestly cannot sleep over the worry. Now I feel we all will develop lung cancer from breathing in this stuff.

Is there a way to determine whether that material was asbestos? The floor is pretty much clean now but could something in the surrounding area be tested for fibers? From what I read, it is very likely that it was asbestos, but I want to make sure.

Can someone suggest something here? I am sick from worry about the impact on all of us who worked on this floor!!!:freaked-: :freaked-:

Please read the following article and seek professional advise.

Thank you. What type of professional would you suggest?

Look under asbestos abatement or asbestos removal in your local yellow pages.

But the material has already been removed by us - stupidly. I am thinking that it was vinyl flooring made before 1978. It was in a big sheet, not tiles, but probably still had asbestos, correct?

Should our home inspector have caught this? The flooring was covered up by carpet at first.

It was concealed by carpet? Then no, your inspector shouldn’t have caught it.

While some of the tiles do not contain asbestos some of the adhesives did. If you have any of the debris left you can always have it tested. Good luck.

Look on the bright side, we are all going to die someday anyway.

Hello Virginia,

Call Mayhew Environmental Training Associates on 1-800 444 6382

I done my asbestos abatement training through them. They should be able help you


Can you believe it…my stepfather decided to completely finish taking off the adhesive somehow and didn’t tell us until later. ugh.

The adhesive is the part that my husband worked with the most which is why I am concerned. I don’t know how much exposure is harmful.

Do you think they could wipe down any areas around the floor to get samples? I do not know how much of a sample they would need.

See Carl’s post above.


It is somewhat unlikely that you have released much in the way of asbestos fibres into the air. The fibres are of most concern when they can escape into free air (This is called friable) in all likelyhood any asbestos fibres in either the floor or the adhesive were fully encapsulated in the other materials used in the floor and the adhesive (in other words they were all stuck together and therefore not likely to be released) I would not wish to completely down-play the risk, but asbestos fibres in these materials is nothing like as dangerous as the typical asbestos insullation that we see.

Having said all that, the fllor would have been better left alone, or removed professionally, as this didn’t happen I would contact a lab for testing. This can easily and cheaply be done using swabs, try the yellow pages in your area under enviromental services or call your city/county board of health or the local EPA office in your area who will be able to reommend a testing company and lab.



The EPA guidelines for sampling of homogeneous sampling area is a minimum of 3 samples they do recommend 9 but that does not sound possible by what you have said.
Is there any way you can find out out the trade name of the material in question I do have a list of Trade names of asbestos containing products. I know you said the house was built in the 1950’s but is this the original floor.

the odds of getting sick from the removal of one floor are truly small…the black "adhesive " you are talking about was probably part of the original backing of the floor and was much safer than the white one that eventualy replaced it…the tar content would have pretty much encapsulated any asbestos which was present and minimized any risk of inhalation…a good idea for the future though is if the floor was manufactured before 1986…leave it in place and cover it with the appropriate underlayment for the new floor…good luck with Your project…Jim

I concur with Gerry.

It is not likely that you would suffer from a Long Term Health effect from a single exposure to a (Potential) asbestos substance.

Virginia, calm down, it’s not a given that everybody who comes into contact with asbestos is going to get cancer or die. I’m a perfect example, in the early 70’s before they started advising caution on asbestos, I remodeled old commercial buildings all over the U.S., and I tore it out of walls, and ceilings with no protection at all, and I’m still here, and cancer free. Talk to a doctor about it, and limit your exposure to it. Hope this helps, Ken


Here is some more info about Asbestos [worth the read].


Something I think you ought to know, or at least think about…

I’m not a Dr. but, if indeed the materials were asbestos or asbestos based, I agree with Gerry, Joe and others, any long term complications are probably unlikely.

As a private citizen working on your own home, you fall under different rules of engagement so to speak, than the contractor you hire to come in and do the same job. But when you do the work yourself, and then go try to discard the materials, in say a public landfill, well now you get into environmental issues that you may not want to deal with.

If you haven’t dumped the materials yet, make some calls to landfills, etc. and ask how they would handle old flooring that MAY have asbestos materials in it. I mean at this point, we are all just speculating on the makeup of the material you are describing.

If you have already dumped the materials, I recommend being very careful what questions, and to whom, you ask. On top of the worry you’ve already been having, you don’t want the EPA possibly giving you a call because of someone you talked to became a whistle-blower.

I know, this may seem kind of a reach, but an acquaintance who purchased a 1910’s home in old midtown Atlanta, and who did most of the demolition and renovations himself got turned in by someone. A buddy of mine did the electrical work and he told me that the last day he was allowed on the job was the morning the Ga.EPA Rep. showed up, with friends. My buddy was allowed to pick up his tools and materials that was not directly connected to or in the area of concern and leave. Most of the debris/materials had already been dumped, but some was still on site.
Months after that day, jobsite totally shut down, civil fines, court dates, lawyers, etc. the guy finally was allowed back on HIS property, and ALLOWED to continue and finish. Last I heard, he had sold the property, with a good bit of disclosure and other hassles in documentation.

I just recommend being careful what you say, who you say it to and try to make right decisions based on best information.

Good Luck

From your description of the floor and most especially the black adhesive plus the “1950’s timeline” it is obvious that you are dealing with linoleum instead of a vinyl floor.

A linoleum floor came in “sheets” and was stiff/rigid instead of soft and flexible like a vinyl floor. Some of the distinctions of a linoleum floor were the fact that it was “rigid”, and had a paper backing. The adhesive used was black in color.

I’m sorry to inform you that linoleum floors were “durable” because of the asbestos content. The old saying was that you could not wear one out but that they would “ugly out”. The older black color “cut back adhesive” also had an asbestos content.
Due to the asbestos content linoleum floors were “outlawed” and if memory serves me correctly 1976-78 were the last years that they were allowed to be installed.

A vinyl floor also comes in either a six-foot wide or 12 foot wide “sheets” but it is soft and flexible and the adhesive is not black. If a black adhesive were used on a vinyl floor, the black color of the adhesive would “bleed through” the vinyl floor and ruin it. So that tells me the black adhesive virtually eliminates the possibility of having a vinyl floor at this location. As a matter of fact the vinyl manufacturers each have a “unique color” to their adhesive and they even include “taggetts” so that they may identify their particular adhesive.

If you cut this floor up into pieces and some of the sections remained adhered to the floor I hope that no one “sanded” leftover sections to smooth out the plywood. If this did happen then the asbestos did become airborne and “Friable.”
I hope that you have not thrown away the floor that you ripped up. If you have any sections left over I would strongly recommend that you send them to a certified lab for an analysis.

You can also have a “indoor air quality test” conducted at this location to see if there is any asbestos in the air.

I am astonished at this information from my esteemed colleague. If asbestos is found in house siding, ceiling tile, floor tile, linoleum, adhesive, brake shoes, insulation around pipes, or insulation sprayed in attics or on walls it is still asbestos.
Asbestos is asbestos, period, end of storey!
asbestos fibres in these materials is nothing like as dangerous as the typical asbestos insullation that we see.
End quote

As stated in some of the “links” that were posted by some of our other members it is stated that any medical conditions brought on by exposure to asbestos would take years to show up. 3720d](
Attached Files

Asbestos Info.pdf]( (29.4 KB, 2 views)

HS_CS_asbestoshome.pdf]( (31.1 KB, 1 views)
I should note that I am not, and to my knowledge none of the home inspectors who have answered your inquiries are medical doctors. My best “non-medical advice” is if you are concerned about yourself and your family members that you should all go see a specialist.
I wish you all the luck in the world.

As to disposal of the material, it would depend on the state you live in. Here in NY (not NY city), one can simply put the material in plastic garbage bags and put it on the curb for the garbage man to take.

As to the exposure issue, Gerry and Joe H are correct. Frank gave you the clearest description of all, as to the materials.

Chill out. In Manville, NJ (where they used to manufacture asbestos products) it “snowed” raw asbestos 365 days a year.