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Ceiling, flooring contractors face fines, delicensing

Improper asbestos removal all too common, experts say

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Dear Barry, In a recent column, you discussed asbestos materials in older homes, and stressed the importance of testing for asbestos before removing some types of building materials. In particular, you mentioned "cottage cheese" ceilings and vinyl flooring. We had our ceiling texture removed a few years ago. At the time, our contractor said he would test for asbestos, but we have no documentation to show that he ever did this. More recently, we had our vinyl flooring removed in the kitchen. The flooring contractor removed the material without any mention of asbestos. Afterward, we had a leftover piece tested and, sure enough, it was found to contain asbestos fibers. According to the asbestos expert we consulted, contractors do this sort of thing all the time because testing and proper handling are too time-consuming and expensive. Meanwhile, we customers are left to wonder what we're breathing in our own homes. How can contractors have so little regard for the health of others? --Colle...