Is working from home going to give me lung cancer?
March 24, 2021 7:50 AM   Subscribe

I am working from home for the foreseeable future. For the past year, I've been set up in my spare bedroom, which has a tile floor with asbestos fibers. Is using the office chair up here going to give me lung cancer?

Generally speaking, I am *not* concerned about these asbestos tiles. I don't eat them, I don't crush them and snort them, and will be covering them in the next six months with a floating floor. The only reason I'm a little concerned is that my office chair has worn a discolored spot in the area where I use it, and yesterday I noticed a pretty substantial build-up of lint-like fibers on the braces and supports that are behind and under my chair.

Now, I have a lot of projects going on here, so it could just be general construction dust. But am I slowly peeling up asbestos fibers and pushing them into the air here? It would be trivial for me to cover this area for the interim, but what's done is done.
posted by rocketman to Home & Garden (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I think you've sussed out the issues there. Asbestos, undisturbed, is not much of a problem. However, I think you should get a mat for under your chair - they have ones made for hardwood (no spikes) and it makes it easier to roll the chair while protecting the floor and possibly you. For $25, seems an excellent trade.
posted by amanda at 7:53 AM on March 24, 2021 [18 favorites]

Vinyl composite flooring is not a major source of friable asbestos unless it’s starting to crack or disintegrate. Then it’s very dangerous indeed.

The university I work for abated VC floors for *20 years* by laying carpets over them that then could not be removed again. When the carpet finally had to be changed the floors were in dubious shape. Then came expensive removal.

If your floors are not broken or cracked I agree, get a large floor chair mat.
posted by spitbull at 8:04 AM on March 24, 2021 [1 favorite]

I came in to suggest the same as amanda - I have an extra mat, I wish I could teleport/MeMail it to you. spitbull, we did the same at the university I worked at as well. Kudos to you rocketman for being aware of the materials in your floor!
posted by nathaole at 8:25 AM on March 24, 2021 [2 favorites]

If it were my space I’d also put down area rugs in case any tiles are starting to disintegrate, and to protect them from even foot traffic.
posted by spitbull at 6:12 PM on March 25, 2021

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