Asbestos ceiling tiles were commonly used in homes and buildings before the 1970s. Asbestos is a fiber that was once used in "acoustic" ceilings which were also called "drop" or "suspended" ceilings. Before the carcinogenic affects of asbestos were known; many people were unfortunately exposed to these fibers since they were often used in numerous different materials including roofing and ceiling products.
Asbestos is only dangerous if the material is airborne; therefore, contaminated ceiling tiles are only harmful if damaged. If you would like to remove these tiles from your ceiling, it is best to have a licensed contractor complete the job for you. If you decide to remove the tiles yourself, you will need to proceed with extreme care and caution.
To remove asbestos ceiling tiles, you will first need to dress properly. Wear a tyvek suit, safety glasses, and an approved respirator. This protective clothing can be purchased either online or at a local store. You don't want any asbestos contaminated materials to get on your skin, in your eyes, or into your lungs.
Turn off any heating and air circulation systems to avoid the chances of any asbestos in the ceiling tiles from becoming airborne.
Place a tarp directly underneath where you will be working and set up a ladder.
Add 2 teaspoons of dishwasher detergent to 1 gallon of water. Pour some of this mixture into a spray bottle and start by spraying one of the asbestos ceiling tiles with this detergent water. This will help to keep the fibers from becoming airborne if you were to break any of the tiles.
Carefully remove the ceiling tiles one by one. You will need to avoid breaking or tearing the tile since this can cause the asbestos to become airborne. As you remove each tile, place them directly into a yellow asbestos bag. Once the bag is full of tiles, seal it completely with duct tape and then place it into a 6 mil polyethylene bag.
Once you've finished removing the tiles, place the tarp from under your project into one of the asbestos bags to be disposed of.
Properly dispose of the asbestos ceiling tiles by following the regulations set by your state.