Asbestos in Vinyl Products

Vinyl products like flooring and wallpaper are very commonly used. Before the 1980s, however, the dangers of asbestos were unclear and mixing asbestos and vinyl helped to improve its lifespan and increase durability. 

What is Vinyl?

Vinyl products are a plastic resin manufactured from chlorine and ethylene and these products provide both sturdiness and flexibility. These are easily washed and relatively inexpensive to install or replace. Additionally, these can be manufactured in any texture or color. Often, vinyl products can give the appearance of stone, wood, or other building materials without the high costs. 

What Were Some of the Most Common Products That Used Asbestos-Based Materials

For over 100 years, asbestos has been used in wallpapers. Today, wallpapers incorporate paper or cloth backings. Asbestos was also commonly used in floor tiles. By nature, these were made to be resilient and inexpensive, but asbestos-based products provided greater insulation and durability. These products were often used in hospitals, schools and businesses.

Finally, vinyl sheet flooring was known for being economical and long-lasting, making this material popular. 

The Hidden Dangers

The major concern is that the fibers will be released into the air and this exposure could cause diseases like mesothelioma and other cancers. Ceiling tiles, for example, have an estimated 10 percent asbestos-related products in them. Because these asbestos-related products are normally enclosed, they are prevented from escaping, but in cases where the tile gets damaged toxic fibers are released into the air. After becoming airborne, they are inhaled, and this exposure can cause the diseases and health conditions discussed here. 

People who have the greatest risk of exposure to these products include construction workers, carpenters, demolition crews, floor installers, do-it-yourselfers, vinyl factory workers and maintenance crews. Factory workers and flooring installers experience the greatest risk of exposure.

Because of the widespread use of asbestos before 1980, it is helpful to assume that anything manufactured or constructed before 1980 may have used some of these harmful products.

If you find that you have this in your home or business, you should only have it removed by a specialist who understands the process.