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yeagert 01-22-2013 03:19 PM

Asbestos Exposure
Howdy all,

I saw another asbestos thread but it was more general than my question, so here it goes:

I recently sanded and refinished all of the floors in my house with a rented professional sander. As part of the process, I ripped up 3 layers of flooring in my kitchen. Linoleum over 1/4" ply over what appears to be vinyl sheets from a long time ago. In order to get the vinyl sheeting up I had to use a scraper on a reciprocating saw and basically break it into lots and lots of little pieces. Then I went back and sanded the black flaky tar-like mastic away to reveal the pine floor underneath (looks beautiful now BTW).
I didn't really think about it until after I was done, but I am pretty sure that the bottom layer was from the asbestos era and had the typical felt backing, etc.

My question is: how big of a deal healthwise is this? I feel stupid for overlooking it. The room was sealed off when I pulled the tile up, but not sealed off when I sanded. I wore a 3m dust mask the entire time that happens to be asbestos rated (yay!).

1: How big of a deal is it healthwise?
2: knowing that the dust from sanding probably floated around my house, is there anything I need to do now? (The AC was off, fan was off, intake vents are still sheeted over with plastic).
3: Assuming I sanded asbestos fibers into the air, how long am I exposed for? forever? until I wetwipe the house/walls a few times?
4: Is a one time asbestos related home construction project like this posing any long term asbestos related health issues?

Thanks for the help!


oh'mike 01-22-2013 04:01 PM

Clean the house well---hepa filter in the vac--damp cloths---and then stop worrying--

The damage is done---the likely hood of lung damage is slim and you won't know for 20 or 30 years if there is a problem.

Many of our older workers in this country worked every day with asbestos --making brake pads--installing steam pipe insulation and spraying on asbestos fire block----while that daily exposure did kill some--it was a fairly small number---

How's that for an answer?

yeagert 01-22-2013 04:18 PM

Thanks to Mike for his post. Anyone else have anything to add? I appreciate all thoughts. Thanks!

oh'mike 01-22-2013 04:44 PM

I'm sure someone will tell you to head directly to a funeral parlor with a clean suit of clothes and enough cash for a box---

The sky is not falling---but wait---someone will link you to plenty of dooms day sites if that's your nature---or learn from this--and finish the clean up---Mike---

mterry 01-22-2013 08:00 PM

Exactly. As a nurse who takes care of people with plenty of lung diseases, the few I have had with asbestos related lung disease had years of unprotected exposure. Oh'mike is right. You wore a mask. If you had an exposure large enough to cause short term effects, you would know it by now. And not enough for Lon term effects

joecaption 01-22-2013 09:10 PM

My whole mothers side of the family worked there whole lives in the Asbestos mines in Eden VT.
My grandfather lived until he was 87 and died of bone cancer, grandmother who hand washed his clothes and worked in the office died at 96.
All my uncles are still going strong and are in there 70's.
So I hardly think you have something to worry about.

yeagert 01-23-2013 07:57 AM

Thanks all
Thanks everyone. You made me feel better. I appreciate you taking the time to comment.

rusty baker 01-23-2013 08:46 AM

I would not have done what you did, but the danger is overblown, just like the lead paint danger.

zircon 01-24-2013 03:41 PM

My brother in law worked one year when he was nineteen in the shipyard covering steam pipes with asbestos. Then he became an electrician and never worked with it again. He died when he was forty of asbestos related lung disease.

Maintenance 6 01-25-2013 03:52 PM

Sanding and sawing is probably the worst thing you could do to asbestos, BUT, at least it was flooring. First of all, not all flooring contained asbestos. 9x9 tiles were the worst. Sheet materials are hit or miss. Same with the mastic. You might be worrying for nothing. Second, asbestos in flooring materials is encased in a pretty heavy matrix of other materials, so airborne fibers are much less of a possibility. The hearse chaser lawyers who run the mesothelioma class action lawsuit sites have everyone in a panic, but that doesn't mean you want to be stupid either. HEPA vac everything and damp wipe. You are not likely to experience any problems.

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