Acoustical (drop or suspended) ceiling tiles are commonly found in commercial and residential buildings. Prior to the late 1970s, most acoustical ceiling tiles contained asbestos. Incorporating asbestos into ceiling tiles provided fire resistance and sound absorption. Manufacturers of asbestos-containing ceiling tiles included Armstrong, Celotex, USG and Conwed (LoTone).

Typically, acoustical ceiling tiles were used in order to conceal HVAC ducts, electrical wires and plumbing. Acoustical ceiling tiles were typically suspended from wires or placed into a metal grid T-bar system that dropped about one foot below the underside of a ceiling. Some asbestos-containing ceiling tiles were merely stapled or nailed into the underside of the floor above, and others were hung by a system of interlocking panels. Regardless of the system employed, it was often necessary for laborers to cut the ceiling tiles to fit around irregular parts of the ceiling. Laborers, including carpenters, also kerfed (groove cut) tile so that ceiling tiles could properly fit into a spline or supporting members of a ceiling suspension system. Simply handling acoustical ceiling tiles produced asbestos-containing dust, and cutting or kerfing the ceiling tiles created a tremendous amount of asbestos dust that workers inhaled.

Similarly, workers used a jab saw to cut an opening in the tiles to allow for lighting fixtures or ventilation outlets. This process also emitted asbestos dust and fibers into the breathing area of those who cut and applied the acoustical ceiling tile, as well as to those who worked in the vicinity where this work was conducted, including carpenters and electricians. After a ceiling grid was installed, scrap pieces were disposed of and the floor was swept. The cleanup process created additional asbestos-containing dust that workers inhaled.

If you or a loved one were exposed to asbestos-containing acoustical ceiling tiles and have been diagnosed with mesothelioma or lung cancer, please contact us for a free and confidential case evaluation.