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For Someone With More Knowledge Than Me On Asbestos

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Old 03-01-2012, 03:56 PM   #1
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For Someone With More Knowledge Than Me On Asbestos

I am hoping to get some feedback from someone with more knowledge on asbestos in the workplace than me. My dad is a general contractor for the US government. He's had the contact since the early 90's. Asbestos is a "no tolerance" policy and we never mess with the stuff. If we know its there then we get it tested and abated. We don't usually run into insulation or ceilings, mostly the 9x9 tiles. There are also signs most of the time warning of asbestos. But here is where my concern comes in- Occasionally we may have drilled a few holes in old wallboard or plaster when putting up FRP, we had masks on but I'm worried that I may have brought the dust home on my clothes and in my truck. I'm not sure if it even was asbestos but it scared me because I read about people getting sick from bringing the dust home. My dad and grandfather have worked in construction for years and always tell me not to worry and that even if you occasionally drill a few holes in something that contains asbestos that it wouldn't be high enough levels and that we are only there for a few days. They said that conditions were much worse before people actually knew it harmed you and that most contractors will have brushes with it over the years. I was just concerned about bringing the dust home and having it linger in my house over the years, but I'm not sure how much asbestos I could actually bring home? Thanks for any info.
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Old 03-01-2012, 04:00 PM   #2
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Re: For Someone With More Knowledge Than Me On Asbestos

nobody can tell you absolutes either way


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Old 03-01-2012, 04:18 PM   #3
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Re: For Someone With More Knowledge Than Me On Asbestos

It’s funny that you say that. My dad used to always say “I used to change breaks that were made out of asbestos and that dust was all over the f***ing place!”

While he’s right, it’s like smoking. Do you really want to be around second hand smokers?

All it takes is one fiber stuck in your lungs and build up tissue, then proof! Mesothelioma!!! Personally, I'm on the cautious side.
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Old 03-01-2012, 04:30 PM   #4
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Re: For Someone With More Knowledge Than Me On Asbestos

The big issue with asbestos is long term chronic exposure. It sits in your lungs, and continues to grind away, causing scare tissue. That scare tissue will not allow your body to absorb oxygen in that area. You increase your risk with chronic exposure because you add scar tissue on top of scar tissue.

Tobacco use is supposedly another factor. It is said that those who were smokers while installing, and or abating have higher risk. I have worked with guys in the demo industry that would cut holes in paper masks, or respirators so they could smoke while they worked. Another factor is the type of asbestos, supposedly different kinds are worse.

Im sure some stuff has followed you home, it always does for those that work with dust. Is it enough to make you sick or kill you? I doubt it. It could though. My concern is more towards those at home that dont know, such as a spouse or child. Working in the environmental field we work hard to avoid secondary exposure. This can be avoided by proper decontamination at the site. Sometimes the site is not considered contaminated enough to require this step. At that point I follow common sense. I remove clothing and boots before going in the house. I keep my boots in the garage, and wash my clothing separate from the rest of the families clothing. Its all about limiting exposure to the others. Remember, your children's immune system is more likely to be effected than an adults.

The fact that you are asking is huge. People taking this seriously will be the thing that finally ends asbestosis, and the related cancers. Chances are, any of us who work in the trades have been exposed to asbestos. A lot dont realize the dust they are exposed to, even if it does not contain asbestos, is just as dangerous. Silicosis is similar to asbestosis, but it is grains of sand that grind in your lungs. I wish more guys take these things seriously, it will bite you later in life. When in doubt, wear a proper mask as it sounds like you say you do, and find a way to decon yourself before leaving.
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Old 03-01-2012, 04:38 PM   #5
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Re: For Someone With More Knowledge Than Me On Asbestos

I was also told that asbestos is marked out. I just get concerned because when taking down a drop ceiling or drilling into old walls you never know whats behind them. We are maintinence workers and never spend more than a couple days to couple weeks max. We don't come into contact with it often but like I said I'm in my truck and in my house quite a bit.
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Old 04-13-2012, 04:25 PM   #6
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Re: For Someone With More Knowledge Than Me On Asbestos

Might be prudent to start using coveralls or tyvek suits. Something you can take off at the end of the day, avoiding the risk of exposing your family.
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Old 04-15-2012, 09:07 AM   #7
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Re: For Someone With More Knowledge Than Me On Asbestos

Actually there is a good chance that you've taken asbestos home with you. But not just from your job sites. There are over 16,000 documented products that have been manufactured with asbestos materials. I've found as a government contractor for over twenty years that the government agencies do a piss poor job at locating and disclosing the locations of asbestos containing materials. Each individual is different when it comes to asbestos exposure. Typical latency period prior to the onset of lung cancer, asbestosis, or mesothelioma is 10 to 40 years. If your a smoker you have a 90 times greater chance of contracting one of these diseases. That being said, i suggest that you and your guys take a minimal asbestos training awareness class that will permit you to help spot potential asbestos conditions as well as the proper response to thise conditions.


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