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Old 12-08-2010, 10:15 PM   #1
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Started removing popcorn ceilings then found out there was 2% asbestos. Am I at harm?


Hello all,

I just recently purchased a condo and it had popcorn ceilings which I immediately tackled. Looked online for videos on how to do it and started. I found a video so quick I started right away because it seemed very easy as you just wet it and scrape. The video though did not warn me about asbestos that may be present since it was built in 1973 which was a year when asbestos was still used in popcorn texture. So I started the job and almost finished (about 80% finished) when my friend came over and warned me that there may be asbestos in the texture.

So I got a sample and tested it. It turns out there was 2% asbestos. While working I did use a cheap mask which broke about halfway through and since I wasn't really making a mess I stopped using the mask.

1. Should I be very concerned about the asbestos I have inhaled?

2. What should I do next with the rest of the project?

3. Should I get tested for anything immediately?

Any help would be appreciated.

Thanks!

Peawhy

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Old 12-08-2010, 11:18 PM   #2
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Started removing popcorn ceilings then found out there was 2% asbestos. Am I at harm?


You were working with soft wet clumps of compound. I wouldn't worry about it.
Sanding the ceiling would be another story.
Ron

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Old 12-08-2010, 11:31 PM   #3
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Started removing popcorn ceilings then found out there was 2% asbestos. Am I at harm?


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Originally Posted by Ron6519
You were working with soft wet clumps of compound. I wouldn't worry about it.
Sanding the ceiling would be another story.
Ron
Thanks for your reply Ron. You are right about the wet clumps. But I wasn't perfect in that a lot of clumps did end up on the carpet (which I am removing) and dried up which was kicked around while working. Just to be safe I might have someone finish the job and clean it up. I was just worried about what I have already done and inhaled.
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Old 12-08-2010, 11:43 PM   #4
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Started removing popcorn ceilings then found out there was 2% asbestos. Am I at harm?


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Thanks for your reply Ron. You are right about the wet clumps. But I wasn't perfect in that a lot of clumps did end up on the carpet (which I am removing) and dried up which was kicked around while working. Just to be safe I might have someone finish the job and clean it up. I was just worried about what I have already done and inhaled.
Sounds like you want to worry about it.
You probably inhale more crap on the street everyday then what went in during this process.
Short of a lung transplant from a test tube baby, what choice do you have.
Relax, have an organic glass of wine.
Ron
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Old 12-09-2010, 12:38 AM   #5
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Started removing popcorn ceilings then found out there was 2% asbestos. Am I at harm?


Not to try to be the voice of reason, and not "Capt. Obvious: Defender of the Too-Blind-To-See-It", but shouldn't you really be asking this on a Medical forum at the least? If you are really concerned, go see your doctor. Chances are if your like me and most guys I know it's been so long since the last time that only your wife remembers his name.

But really I think you should be fine.
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Old 12-09-2010, 01:00 AM   #6
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Started removing popcorn ceilings then found out there was 2% asbestos. Am I at harm?


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Originally Posted by akilez
Not to try to be the voice of reason, and not "Capt. Obvious: Defender of the Too-Blind-To-See-It", but shouldn't you really be asking this on a Medical forum at the least? If you are really concerned, go see your doctor. Chances are if your like me and most guys I know it's been so long since the last time that only your wife remembers his name.

But really I think you should be fine.
Haha. You're right akilez. It would be a good idea to post on a medical forum as well. Or at least an environmental group forum. Just seeing if anyone had some insight. Thanks!
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Old 12-09-2010, 02:30 AM   #7
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Started removing popcorn ceilings then found out there was 2% asbestos. Am I at harm?


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Haha. You're right akilez. It would be a good idea to post on a medical forum as well. Or at least an environmental group forum. Just seeing if anyone had some insight. Thanks!
You know, the other side of this is this: You say the material had only 2% Asbestos, but that is only a qualitative analysis, the quantitative analysis is: How much of it did you inhale, eat or otherwise get into your blood stream?

I heard alot about links from Saccahrin (spelling notwithstanding) to cancer. Then I heard that the test involved lab mice eating 2 times their body weight in the stuff PER DAY. It's all about limiting exposure I guess. (Not that, without trying, I could EVER put that much Sweet and Low in my coffee)

Last edited by akilez; 12-09-2010 at 02:33 AM. Reason: formatting error
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Old 12-09-2010, 01:45 PM   #8
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Started removing popcorn ceilings then found out there was 2% asbestos. Am I at harm?


Agreed, we can't give medical advice here. You should contact a doctor to ease your concerns or confirm you fears. The deal with asbestos is that it lodges in the lung tissue (not the bloodstream) and stays there forever. Over time it can develop mesothelioma/cancer. I don't know if there is a test or a way for them to determine if harm has been done.

I think the prudent thing to do would be to have an abatement contractor finish this job for you, as well as clean any surfaces in the home where particulate could've settled. Better safe than sorry.

To my knowledge there is no safe limit for asbestos exposure. Your body can't process it so whatever in inhale is yours forever.

I agree with Ron....This could be a lot worse if you'd have done it dry or sanded the ceiling. But I think I'd talk to my doc next time I'm in the office just to get the best advice/info....AND I'D NOT HAVE ANY SECOND THOUGHTS ABOUT PAYING TO HAVE THE REST OF THE JOB PROFESSIONALLY DONE.
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Old 12-09-2010, 01:58 PM   #9
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Started removing popcorn ceilings then found out there was 2% asbestos. Am I at harm?


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Originally Posted by thekctermite
Agreed, we can't give medical advice here. You should contact a doctor to ease your concerns or confirm you fears. The deal with asbestos is that it lodges in the lung tissue (not the bloodstream) and stays there forever. Over time it can develop mesothelioma/cancer. I don't know if there is a test or a way for them to determine if harm has been done.

I think the prudent thing to do would be to have an abatement contractor finish this job for you, as well as clean any surfaces in the home where particulate could've settled. Better safe than sorry.

To my knowledge there is no safe limit for asbestos exposure. Your body can't process it so whatever in inhale is yours forever.

I agree with Ron....This could be a lot worse if you'd have done it dry or sanded the ceiling. But I think I'd talk to my doc next time I'm in the office just to get the best advice/info....AND I'D NOT HAVE ANY SECOND THOUGHTS ABOUT PAYING TO HAVE THE REST OF THE JOB PROFESSIONALLY DONE.
Thanks thekctermite! Yes I agree I will chat with my doctor next time I'm in there for a check up. And I have an appointment today with someone who will finish the job. Correct, better safe than sorry! Thanks again.
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Old 12-10-2010, 11:29 PM   #10
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Started removing popcorn ceilings then found out there was 2% asbestos. Am I at harm?


Sorry, this happened to you. We bought an older home recently and all the contractors who came in to give us bids on the remodel clearly told us we would have to get the popcorn ceiling tested and have it professionally removed before they can start the remodel. Asbestos can also be present in linoleum and other older floors, so if you have any old flooring in the home have your abatement contractor remove it.

Also, get an asbestos abatement contractor in asap and have them take air clearance samples. They do this anyway before they start the job and take measurements during and after the job. The contractor we chose told us the fibers are so small, it may take days for them to drop from ceiling to floor, so you may still be able to test for their presence in the air and hopefully get some good news there.

When you consult your doctor, be sure to take your asbestos test results. There are different types of asbestos.
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Old 12-19-2010, 11:24 AM   #11
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Started removing popcorn ceilings then found out there was 2% asbestos. Am I at harm?


I worked for years with joint compounds, spray, etc. that had asbestos in it. Sanding without a mask was the norm as the Florida climate (early in my career) made a mask clog up quickly. And I was 20 at the time and "bulletproof" anyway. I have no problems (that I know) of from asbestos 37 years later. I doubt your limited contact will cause any problems, but contact your doctor (as stated above) to alleviate any concerns.
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Old 12-19-2010, 02:17 PM   #12
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Started removing popcorn ceilings then found out there was 2% asbestos. Am I at harm?


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Originally Posted by bjbatlanta
I worked for years with joint compounds, spray, etc. that had asbestos in it. Sanding without a mask was the norm as the Florida climate (early in my career) made a mask clog up quickly. And I was 20 at the time and "bulletproof" anyway. I have no problems (that I know) of from asbestos 37 years later. I doubt your limited contact will cause any problems, but contact your doctor (as stated above) to alleviate any concerns.
Thanks bjbatlanta,

It's good to hear someone who has had some time pass after been in contact with asbestos. Glad to hear your doing fine!

Thanks,

Peawhy
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Old 12-20-2010, 10:24 AM   #13
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Started removing popcorn ceilings then found out there was 2% asbestos. Am I at harm?


I can appreciate your concern with the asbestos. As part of our remodel we removed the popcorn ceiling which had < 2% asbestos. We had the stuff tested before removing, got it wet, used respirators, but I can't help but think I've probably inhaled some of the stuff at some point. I found a study on asbestos exposure risk that helped put the whole risk thing in perspective; it helped me sleep better at night. If you google "Asbestos Exposure: how risky is it?" you will find a PDF to download. If you can't find it let me know and I can e-mail you the file.
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Old 12-20-2010, 02:44 PM   #14
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Started removing popcorn ceilings then found out there was 2% asbestos. Am I at harm?


And really not wanting to open up another "can of worms", lead paint is another issue you could have in a home built before 1978. It's the "new" asbestos (or mold). Go to epa.gov, type "lead paint" in the search bar and see what's going on. I recently completed a course to become EPA "lead certified" to be able (as a contractor) to work on homes built before 1978. If I "disturb" more than 6 sq.ft. (2 sq.ft. for HUD homes) of painted surface, I have to test for lead in the paint and "abate" according to federal (EPA) guidelines if it is present (naturally adding to the cost of the repair). The main concern is for children under the age of 6 and pregnant women, but lead dust, spread by construction demolition is a possible threat to anyone. As a homeowner doing your own work, you're not bound by the regulations (at least yet). Just bear in mind that if you have someone do repairs on your 1973 home, they should be EPA certified and do the lead test. You may well be fine, as it's estimated 25% of houses built between 1960-1978 are affected as opposed to 86% of pre-1940 homes. Interestingly, in those days, lead was actually mixed into the paint on the job site by the painter to help get the correct color and to help with durability. We were shown an ad for Dutch Boy Paints that showed the company was actually a subsidiary of The National Lead Company. Just more "food for thought"....
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Old 12-30-2010, 10:44 AM   #15
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Started removing popcorn ceilings then found out there was 2% asbestos. Am I at harm?


Asbestos is a carcinogen. Its probably worse then second hand smoke with the exception that asbestos dosent leave your lungs. It stays there. kind of like fiberglass.

There is always a risk. that stuff is very small and it can cause cancer. That is a proven fact. Such a fact that in obamas new health plan, there is a special clause for all residents of Libby, Montana which is an asbestos mine town.

So the question is, do you care as much for your own health as you do a car? We all know people have coniptions over their cars being damaged, even just a scratch. so why risk your own health to save a few bucks.

Even when i remove popcorn, and i do a hundred of those a year, i still get dust in my nose and lungs. It comes out of my eyes at night, i get sinus infections quite frequently.

Just things to consider on that


Last edited by stoner529; 12-30-2010 at 12:58 PM.
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