Foam pad toxic; removal dangerous?

Q: We are replacing our laminate in the kitchen. The boards are coming up fine. But between the boards and old vinyl is a silver barrier with a Styrofoam like backing. How do I know if scraping this off the vinyl is releasing any toxins? We have 2 children and two cats.

Nobody seems to know the answer. Thanks in advance!

A: Laminate is usually installed with some type of foam pad between it and the floor it is sitting on. Is the stuff you are removing glued down? I doubt you would be stirring up anything nasty by scraping it off, unless you are getting into the backing. If the vinyl floor goes back to early ’70’s or earlier, there would be a good chance it is reinforced with asbestos. One way to negate any issue of fibers floating about is to spray water on the material as you pull stuff off it. I know they have strict rules in the U.S. for such removals and have big fines too. So, be careful. I’m not terrified of the stuff. As long as it is handled carefully there won’t be any issues.

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