Asbestos in ceramic tiles

Can there be asbestos in ceramic tiles, like floor tiles or wall tiles? Do other non-ceramic tiles such as terrazzo contain asbestos?
Questions can arise, given that asbestos where put to use in so many situations, for a large amount of products and materials.

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Asbestos in ceramic tiles?

  1. Ceramic floor and wall tile produced in North America would not be expected to contain asbestos. However you may find asbestos in some tile grouts and thinset tile mastics and possibly in hand-made tiles made as part of an art project using art clay.
  2. Ceramic floor and wall tile produced outside of North America may contain asbestos depending on where it was produced and what additives were intentionally or accidentally included by the manufacturer. This may be true particularly for files produced in the Mediterranean area.
  3. Non-ceramic floor tiles such as terrazzo floor tiles (and possibly some unglazed ceramic quarry tiles), produced both in the U.S. and from other countries may contain asbestos depending on its formula. Some “manmade” “terrazzo” consisting of concrete, marble, and/or epoxy alone won’t contain asbestos.

Asbestos could have been included in some ceramic floor tile formulas into the 1970’s as a filler or in fiber form as a strengthener. At least one asbestos testing lab director reports that asbestos is found in ceramic tiles made in some parts of the world such as the Mediterranean area and in unglazed terrazzo (non-ceramic) tiles.


A more likely asbestos hazard one might encounter when removing ceramic floor or wall tiles would be an asbestos-containing tile mastic – the glue that was used to secure ceramic tiles on walls and floors in a thin-set installation methods.

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