You may be wondering "how much asbestos exposure is harmful?". With being experts in environmental restoration, specifically asbestos abatement, FH Water Restoration has the answer for you. We'll start by saying that no level of asbestos exposure is considered to be safe by any means and that you should always avoid inhaling any toxic dust.
That being said, asbestos doesn't pose real, long-term risks unless you've had many years of regular exposure. It's worth noting a really intense short-term exposure can also heighten your risk of being affected. A great example would be those who worked with insulation products back in the 1950s to 1960s. The work may have involved only a little exposure at a time, but a few months of this would add up to a lot of asbestos dust being inhaled. Most cases of asbestos cancer and asbestosis trace back to this type of exposure that happened on the job or while at work.
How Bad is a One-Time Exposure?
A one-time exposure to asbestos is generally not a serious risk unless there were extreme conditions in which toxic dust clouds were in the air. If you were exposed to asbestos one time, the risk to your health typically depends on how much dust you inhaled. There are a lot of factors that go into how much dust you inhaled such as if the asbestos-containing product was damaged or crumbly, if it was scraped, smashed, sawed or drilled into, if the area was poorly ventilated with the dust just sitting in the air. If the answer to most of these is "yes", then it is safe to assume you inhaled a lot of asbestos dust.
If this happens, we first want to remind you to not panic! If it ever affects you, it will take years for the issues to arise. We would suggest contacting your doctor though and making sure the event is added to your medical history. Please keep in mind, people rarely get sick from a one-time, short-term exposure. Being careless during one renovation or construction project won't significantly increase your risk, but you don't want to turn it into a habit.
When Do Symptoms Appear?
Diseases caused by asbestos usually take about 20 years to arise and develop after the exposure occurs. When the disease develops, it may just seem like a common cold at first and will gradually get worse over time.
How to Protect Yourself Against Exposure
To protect yourself from asbestos exposure, it's important to educate yourself on what products used to be manufactured with asbestos. This is especially important when doing a renovation or going through a real estate transaction. You want to make sure whatever you're renovating or whatever home/property you're purchasing doesn't contain asbestos. If you aren't sure, you'll want to have old building materials tested.
Unfortunately, occupational asbestos exposure is still a big hazard here in the United States. Demolition workers, construction workers, and even firefighters may be exposed when working in old buildings. Mechanics can also be exposed in vehicles with machine parts that have been imported from overseas.
If asbestos is found in your home or building during testing, you'll want to turn to asbestos abatement experts immediately! Here at FH Water Restoration we specialize in this and know how to perform the removal safely and with little disruption to you. To learn more about our overall environmental restoration services, visit our environmental restoration page. And remember, contact us immediately if you run into asbestos when renovating - we'll come take care of it right away!