Is flaking finish dangerous to one’s health?

Q: I live in a poorly maintained rental apartment and the wood floors have been chipping here and there for quite some time (a few years). I stupidly wasn’t worried early on but recently have been finding tiny flakes of finish (I have no idea what was used…) everywhere. I’m becoming increasingly concerned that I could be breathing this stuff in or otherwise ingesting it, and I’m worried about the possible health effects.

I’m not finding much information about how dangerous this situation is. Any idea how harmful this is, or where I can find more info? I’m trying to move as soon as I can but wondering how urgent it is. Thanks very much.

A: I don’t believe you are at any risk whatsoever. The flaking polyurethane isn’t off gassing or your eyes would be watering. In other words, it is not active. And these flakes are not floating. Clearly a half hearted, cost cutting method was used to try and apply a new coat of finish to improve the look of the floor and it was not prepared correctly so adhesion of the finish was not achieved.

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