Came across this room with broken acoustic ceiling tiles, that I have to spend time working. The tiles look kinda "modern" to contain asbestos, but then again you never know. Wondered if anyone can recognize the material(s) they're made of. Many thanks.

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  • The only way to know for sure it to test them.
    – jwh20
    Oct 18, 2019 at 12:48
  • I know but unfortunately, I can't do that, the whole place is not under my jurisdiction. All I can do is complain about it and hope that the tiles are fixed. Still I'd really appreciate it if someone can help.
    – flaneur
    Oct 18, 2019 at 14:39
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    Perhaps a DIY asbestos test kit could help here. Yes, the cost will likely be on you but if you have a concern, the short term costs are dwarfed by the long term potential for injury.
    – jwh20
    Oct 18, 2019 at 15:08
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    Most of those type of ceiling tiles are just highly condensed cellulose material, like cardboard.
    – JRaef
    Oct 19, 2019 at 0:26
  • are there any words or symbols marked the edges or back of the tiles?
    – Jasen
    Oct 19, 2019 at 4:37

2 Answers 2


Do you know anything about the building you have them in? Age of the building, dates of renovations? If you can pinpoint that it might rule out the asbestos for you. Asbestos building materials were made illegal in North America and if you can find someone (an older person with some years in) at that place they might be able to help give you some information. If you haven’t been working with those tiles your exposure would be minimal, for asbestos to be dangerous it must be air born and the amount of exposure determines your health risk. So if those tiles were broken a long time ago and you didn’t disturb them in your work your exposure would be minimal. If you have been working with them it does increase your risk unfortunately.

  • It'd make perfect sense to try gathering information about the building, however we're talking about a public institution - a university actually - in Moscow, Russia, where asbestos production is still active, so I guess they may as well have used it in such tiles. I found the tiles in this condition, didn't disturb them at all. My presence in the room so far can't be more than an hour and a half, so if my so far exposure's minimal, I guess I'll try to avoid using this room in future.
    – flaneur
    Oct 20, 2019 at 1:51
  • To be honest I don’t think you have to worry as long as Your work isn’t with the tiles, but if you can avoid it altogether why not be safe. Good luck.
    – Steve
    Oct 20, 2019 at 2:00

Asbestos ceiling tiles were quite common for many years because of their ability to handle high temperatures. That looks like standard cellulose type of tile to me but the only way to know for sure is to test it. If the building was built after the 70’s you can be fairly sure that it is plain cellulose. If it is not disturbed their is no risk, my suggestion would be to ask a maintenance person. although the problems with asbestos are serious they are quite rare compared to every household had several types prior to the 60’s from flooring to insulation in ovens, furnaces, steam pipes, exhaust ducts, popcorn ceilings, siding. I could keep going for pages. Even the people that mined it and worked in the factories there entire life it was not as common as you might think. So ask maintenance, or get a test kit. But I would not worry.

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