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Old 01-26-2007, 01:24 PM   #1
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Last summer I spent several weeks demolishing a bedroom and remodeling it. We tore out plaster and lathe and some old insulation (small silvery rocklike insulation) Vermiculite I think. We didn't think about testing for asbestos till we had already begun. Anyway, I'm not sure if it is related but in the last 3 weeks I have had this cough. If feels like it does when you take a deep breath of cold air in. Dry for the most part. I have been working on an attic remodel with insulation and stuff. I have always worn those dust masks. My question is if any one has had similar symptoms with home repairs. Obviously, if this persists I will go visit a dr. It may just be too much dust in the lungs and its going to take some time getting rid of it.

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Old 01-26-2007, 02:59 PM   #2
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Yep, them old houses have some stuff that make you feel terrible when you disturb it and inhale it. We keep a big supply of the white dustmasks in the trucks for demo, but to be honest they dont even help that much, the only ones I've found to be effective are the respirators like you use when painting since they create a nice tight seal against your face to prevent the lil particles from getting in.

Dry coughs like you describe are normal when doing this kind of work, can take a day or so to get rid of. Before I started making my guys wear masks and gloves doing bathroom demo's in older homes, it would never fail, all involved would get very fatigued and have flu like symptoms.

So wear gloves, long sleeve shirts to cover as much skin as possible, and for max respitory protection, invest in a good rubber snouted respirator with the canister filters on it. Then be sure to shower as soon as possible once your done....I hate demo soo much I quit shoinw up to do it, just farm it out.

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Old 01-26-2007, 03:10 PM   #3
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I don' think that a demo job several months ago would be causing these issues now. My attic has the blown-in cellulose insulation and I don't go up there for anything anymore without my respirator, nor do a I do much sanding. The thing with DIY is there's no one to tell you what not to do, and no one to blame if you do it wrong, so the only one who can protect you is yourself.
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Old 01-27-2007, 02:33 PM   #4
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You may want to go to your Dr. just to be safe. I think abestos needs time to build inside your lungs to cause damage. A simple chest X-Ray should be able to tell your Dr. what is going on. Here is an excerpt from a website that talks about asbestos. It never hurts to get checked out by a Dr.
http://www.merck.com/mmhe/sec04/ch049/ch049d.html

Symptoms
Symptoms of asbestosis appear gradually only after large areas of the lung become scarred. The scarring causes the lungs to lose their elasticity. The first symptoms are a mild shortness of breath and a decreased ability to exercise. Smokers who have chronic bronchitis along with asbestosis may cough and wheeze. Gradually, breathing becomes more and more difficult. In about 15% of people with asbestosis, severe shortness of breath and respiratory failure develop.
A person with noncancerous asbestos effusion may have difficulty in breathing because of fluid accumulation. Pleural plaques cause only a mild breathing difficulty that results from stiffness of the chest wall. Persistent pain in the chest and shortness of breath are the most common symptoms caused by mesothelioma.
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Old 02-09-2007, 10:30 PM   #5
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Most certainly, vermiculite MAY contain asbestos, however you won't know for sure without having your insulation tested by a licensed asbestos inspector. Asbestos has a rather long latency period (i.e., 20 to 30 years), so physical ailments specifically related to the inhalation of asbestos won't typically appear for quite a long period of time. I should note; however, that this period can be shortened if you happen to be a smoker, but not on the order of a couple of weeks.

I'd venture to say that what you have experienced is most likely due to the inhallation of the dust and debris that can build up in a home over the years and be disturbed by your demo activites. The only reason that I say this is that I've worked around asbestos for quite a long time (on the inspection, abatement design, and abatement oversight side of things) and have not encountered anyone that has developed asbestos-related health issues in such order. For your own piece of mind, if you're so inclined, I'd have someone come out and actually collect the appropriate number of samples for analysis to determine if you do in fact have asbestos in your home. One downside to this though is that if you do find out that you have asbestos-containing vermiculite insulation in your home, you'll be required to disclose that information if you ever decide to sell your house. It's really a double edged sword. You want to do what's best for your family, but at the same time you might be painting a scarlet letter on your home for future resale. Just my $0.02.
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