Vinyl, plastic and thermoplastic are all terms used for describing asbestos floor tiles. Used from the 1950s until the 1980s, floor tiles containing asbestos were widely used due to their flexibility, strength and relatively low cost. Asbestos fibres were often used to improve the strength and insulating properties of the product, albeit in low quantities. Asbestos floor tiles usually contained less than 5% asbestos by volume. As the asbestos fibres are bonded within the matrix of the chemical mixture, the friability is low, meaning the chance of fibre release is relatively small if the products is in good condition. Risks arise when dealing with vinyl floor tiles containing asbestos if they are drilled, sanded or ground as this can result in fibres being released.
In addition to vinyl floor tiles, other vinyl / resin-based products have been manufactured over the years containing asbestos including:
- Bath panels
- Toilet cisterns and seats
- Window sills
- Sheet vinyl flooring
Our other ACMs section goes into further detail about theses, plus other common materials which contained asbestos.