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Asbestos in plaster walls???

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  • Asbestos in plaster walls???

    I hit the turner button in the car today by accident and got some AM station from London Ont. It was a call in show and they had a general contractor answering home renovation questions.
    They got on the topic of plaster walls and the contractor said "All plaster walls built prior to the mid 70's contain asbestos. The asbestos was used as a binder"

    Having owned and renovated 2 plaster homes (including my current one) this worried me. I removed some walls in this house and used a diamond blade which kicked up a lot of dust...

    Is this guy correct? Do all plaster walls contain asbestos?

  • #2

    Re: Asbestos in plaster walls???

    Hey Chris,

    Try out this link to the US' EPA site.

    http://www.epa.gov/asbestos/pubs/ashome.html

    Per info from EPA site:

    Where Can I Find Asbestos And When Can It Be A Problem?

    Most products made today do not contain asbestos. Those few products made which still contain asbestos that could be inhaled are required to be labeled as such. However, until the 1970s, many types of building products and insulation materials used in homes contained asbestos. Common products that might have contained asbestos in the past, and conditions which may release fibers, include:
    • STEAM PIPES, BOILERS, and FURNACE DUCTS insulated with an asbestos blanket or asbestos paper tape. These materials may release asbestos fibers if damaged, repaired, or removed improperly.
    • RESILIENT FLOOR TILES (vinyl asbestos, asphalt, and rubber), the backing on VINYL SHEET FLOORING, and ADHESIVES used for installing floor tile. Sanding tiles can release fibers. So may scraping or sanding the backing of sheet flooring during removal.
    • CEMENT SHEET, MILLBOARD, and PAPER used as insulation around furnaces and woodburning stoves. Repairing or removing appliances may release asbestos fibers. So may cutting, tearing, sanding, drilling, or sawing insulation.
    • DOOR GASKETS in furnaces, wood stoves, and coal stoves. Worn seals can release asbestos fibers during use.
    • SOUNDPROOFING OR DECORATIVE MATERIAL sprayed on walls and ceilings. Loose, crumbly, or water-damaged material may release fibers. So will sanding, drilling, or scraping the material.
    • PATCHING AND JOINT COMPOUNDS for walls and ceilings, and TEXTURED PAINTS. Sanding, scraping, or drilling these surfaces may release asbestos.
    • ASBESTOS CEMENT ROOFING, SHINGLES, and SIDING. These products are not likely to release asbestos fibers unless sawed, drilled, or cut.
    • ARTIFICIAL ASHES AND EMBERS sold for use in gas-fired fireplaces. Also, other older household products such as FIREPROOF GLOVES, STOVE-TOP PADS, IRONING BOARD COVERS, and certain HAIRDRYERS.
    • AUTOMOBILE BRAKE PADS AND LININGS, CLUTCH FACINGS, and GASKETS.
    Top of page
    Examples of Where Asbestos Hazards May Be Found In The Home
    • Some roofing and siding shingles are made of asbestos cement.
    • Houses built between 1930 and 1950 may have asbestos as insulation.
    • Asbestos may be present in textured paint and in patching compounds used on wall and ceiling joints. Their use was banned in 1977.
    • Artificial ashes and embers sold for use in gas-fired fireplaces may contain asbestos.
    • Older products such as stove-top pads may have some asbestos compounds.
    • Walls and floors around woodburning stoves may be protected with asbestos paper, millboard, or cement sheets.
    • Asbestos is found in some vinyl floor tiles and the backing on vinyl sheet flooring and adhesives.
    • Hot water and steam pipes in older houses may be coated with an asbestos material or covered with an asbestos blanket or tape.
    • Oil and coal furnaces and door gaskets may have asbestos insulation.
    Last edited by Lost in the Woods; 02-16-2008, 06:41 PM.
    Kevin

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    • #3

      Re: Asbestos in plaster walls???

      IMO the asbestos scare has been blown WAY out of proportion. I recently had a neighbour completely strip all vinyl asbestos tile from her floors because some "expert" scared her. I think the real "experts" will tell you that it is not a problem if not disturbed. And if it is disturbed, use appropriate safety gear. "expert": With all we have heard in the news, etc. I don't think there is any such thing as an expert.

      OK I agree with you , maybe I should switch to decaff.

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      • #4

        Re: Asbestos in plaster walls???

        Chris, if you are kicking up that much dust removing plaster, asbestos might be the least of your worries. I would be concerned about silica dust because I can garantee that you will have that floating around.
        sigpicAn expert at anything was once a beginner.

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        • #5

          Re: Asbestos in plaster walls???

          Like others have said, it's just one more particulate that should be avoided. Stone dust, silica dust, portland cement dust are just as bad if not worse. Fiberglass insulation is no treat either but somehow it flies under the radar pretty good. I have one insulation subcontractor who I know has been stuffing batts fulltime for over 30 years, never wears a mask, always has a smoke dangling from his lip and still going strong...go figure. I just shake my head when I see him but he does exceptionally good work.
          Paul

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          • #6

            Re: Asbestos in plaster walls???

            Chris I took an asbestos course a few years ago. There is lots of unnessisary fear when it comes to this stuff. It is not going to off gas fibers. It will only become a threat if you take a saw to it or start ripping it apart and get the fibers into the air. Years ago when it was first used there was a problem. Guys would spray the stuff on in ships and boilers with no protective gear at all. The tiles on your floor and the siding on your home and plaster are safe so long as they are left alone. It is costly to remove and to dispose of.

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            • #7

              Re: Asbestos in plaster walls???

              I once heard this definition of "EXSPURT"
              EX= has been
              Spurt= drip under pressure

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              • #8

                Re: Asbestos in plaster walls???

                I don't know what your facetious reference to an 'expert' really means, but a reputable firm can test any such material and provide a certified report of its contents for very reasonable fee before deciding to proceed with any such removal or excessive remediation.

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                • #9

                  Re: Asbestos in plaster walls???

                  Hey Chris,

                  Up until two years ago I worked for an environmental firm who did asbestos assessments in buildings, both commercial and residential, and anyone who says "any house older than 1970 has asbestos in the plaster walls" is full of...well you know plaster. I was always amazed because after taking hundreds/thousands of samples and sending them to the lab, samples I was sure would contain asbestos would come back as clean, and others I thought had no chance of containing asbestos would be positive. As the others have said, asbestos left alone is fine, it is when you start disturbing it that it is a problem. And even when disturbing it, some materials are a greater hazard than others...for example, vinyl tile is one of the safer ones, pipe and boiler insulation some of the worst ones.

                  HTH

                  Derek

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