For many years, asbestos was formulated into some resilient floorings and adhesives until federal law banned the use of asbestos in these products. The presence of asbestos in the existing flooring should be investigated whenever a new installation of vinyl flooring is intended to be removed, or placed over an existing resilient flooring material.
Removal of this flooring could cause asbestos to be released into the atmosphere and if inhaled could cause serious medical problems. Do not sand or scrape these materials.
Installation of new material over existing material that may contain asbestos is always preferable if jobsite conditions make this possible. When removal of existing flooring cannot be avoided, all safety precautions and proper procedures must be followed.
These are detailed in the publication titled “Recommended Work Practices for the Removal of Resilient Floor Covering” available from the Resilient Floor Covering Institute.
It is also recommended to check state and local laws regarding the removal of asbestos-containing material.