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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We recently had some office space remodeled. The original space was built in 1973 and the building is a single-story truss roof on concrete pad at about 4500 sq ft. Some of the drop ceiling tiles were showing their age and we wanted to brighten things up, so we replaced them in the larger parts of the building, but in the interests of keeping costs down, we kept the ones that were in good condition for less visible parts of the space. The contractor, as part of this process, cleaned the tiles. This involved, apparently, applying liberal amounts of baby powder to them, such that now as we are getting ready to move into the space we've found that there are major dust issues. Any time the tiles are moved, a huge mess results, and even absent disturbing the tiles, just general wind, opening of doors, settling, etc. will no doubt continue to result in dust. We've recently learned about potential health hazards of talc and baby powder (bing.com/search?FORM=WLETDF&PC=WLEM&q=baby+powder+health+hazards), and now are concerned the space is not fit for us to have our employees work in.

I recorded a 40-second video showing the tiles and dust here:
youtube.com/watch?v=sZJeJXRS7Bc (i can't make it a link - haven't been here long enough)

Our contractor tells us the baby powder thing is a standard practice in the industry that's been around for 40 years. They're suggesting that they can come in and clean things up a bit with a shop vac and call it good. We're talking to some folks who do environmental cleanup (i.e. asbestos, etc) and they're telling us that won't do the trick, we need HEPA filters and professional cleaners, etc.

My question for this group is, what do you think? Is this standard practice? How concerned should we be about the health risks involved? What course of action do you recommend we take with the contractor?

Thank you!
 

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General Contractor
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Health issues with powder that mothers have been liberally spreading all over their babies' bottoms for decades?

Maybe, stop watching so much TV? They are scaring you into thinking a little illogically. :no:

And, yes, baby powder has been used for years to help block fingerprints left on tiles. But not a whole ton of it like it sounds like you're experiencing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I watch hardly any TV, but of course the Internet could be scaring me into irrational fears, granted. And sure, I did find in my research that baby powder can be applied to one's hands to avoid leaving fingerprints, or to clean up a few fingerprints, and I wouldn't worry about that. But we're talking about several pounds of the stuff such that it's raining down any time a ceiling tile is touched, and whether that's a health hazard or not, it going to get real old having to clean up furniture or try and keep it out of computers and monitors and such. If you watch the video I linked to, you'll see the degree to which this is a problem.
 

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I watch hardly any TV, but of course the Internet could be scaring me into irrational fears, granted. And sure, I did find in my research that baby powder can be applied to one's hands to avoid leaving fingerprints, or to clean up a few fingerprints, and I wouldn't worry about that. But we're talking about several pounds of the stuff such that it's raining down any time a ceiling tile is touched, and whether that's a health hazard or not, it going to get real old having to clean up furniture or try and keep it out of computers and monitors and such. If you watch the video I linked to, you'll see the degree to which this is a problem.
I watched it, and as I inferred, what you're experiencing is far too much for the traditional fingerprint touch-up.

My comments were directed toward just keeping things focused. If the guy used a powder "treatment" to try and refresh the appearance of the old tile, that was likely a big mistake. He should be held accountable for and made to completely eliminate any dusting that error might be causing. But let's not try to stack more liability on him than is due.

My butt and yours, and those of millions and millions of other U.S. babies were shrouded in a cloud of baby powder for ages. I haven't heard of any derrieres falling off because of it. ;)

Go after him for what he did, not what a website says could possibly contribute to something. That's all I meant.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for clarifying. We're not looking to sue anybody for anything if we can possibly avoid it, and to date our contractor has been very willing to work with us when we've had issues with the work being done. We don't *know* whether there's any truth to some claims that talc is dangerous, but whether it is or it isn't, we want our new space that we spent over 100k remodeling to not be full of dust either when we move in, or over time as it drops out of the ceiling. It does sound like you at least agree that the result we find ourselves with now (per the video) is unacceptable and must be corrected, which I appreciate. Thanks again.
 

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Project Superintendent
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I've been putting ceiling tile in buildings for 35 years, but never heard of the baby powder trick. I'll have to file that away for future reference. :thumbup:

I have used white shoe polish, Kilz, spray on athletes foot powder(which I guess is mostly talcum powder when it dries), but never just powdered the stuff like a babies butt, and only in very small amounts to touch up for punch lists.

I agree you got a gripe, but I also agree it's not a health issue. Make him clean up the problem.
 

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Custom Builder
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IMO I would request they replace all the ceiling tiles. Health hazard or not that dust will wreak havoc on your computer systems not to mention the impression it gives your clients when they come in.

If your contractor's been reasonable up to this point he'll respect your wishes. It may mean a PCN and a few extra dollars but it'll be worth it just in the fewer headaches you'll have down the road.

Best wishes!
 

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