I live in an old building which about 1 month ago underwent renovations in the lobby. Our apartment is immediately above the lobby entrance.
As soon as demolition started the contractor suspect that there was asbestos within the bricks and renovations were halted. However, the area was open and no containment was provided for 1 month. During that time, and mainly in the first 24hs of renovation my husband, my little dog and I walked several times in the lobby. We also picked up the mail which was exposed and covered in dust.
3 weeks after that health authorities mandated that the strata council, and management company - which neglected te health of all of us in the building - to hire someone to do asbestos testing immediately. Asbestos was confirmed and now I am extremely worried that we have been exposed to asbestos and I am not sure for how long nor the amount of exposure - we live immediately above the lobby and the windows are not properly sealed. We also walked in the lobby on a daily basis.
Since I have the following symptoms: short breath, coughing a lot, pain in my chest. My little dog has also been sneezing a lot and it seems that sometimes she has difficulties to bark.
My questions are: can our symptoms be due to asbestos exposure? Realistically speaking, is it possible that we were exposed to high concentrations of asbestos because we live above te lobby and because we walked there in and out every day to pick up mail?
If we were exposed, what can I do to improve our health?
I find it too early to have symptoms but I am extremely concern about this.
Development of Asbestosis due to inhalation of Asbestos fibers (Amphibole or serpentine),is a chronic condition,often mentioned as Occupational Hazard which requires continuous exposure in less amount or recurrent exposure in measurable amounts up to 20~50 yrs (longest period),or 15-20 yrs (shortest possible latency period,effective to produce symptoms of respiratory failure.Primary symptoms include dyspnea on exertion,characteristic respiratory restrictive ventillatory defect (reduction in Vital capacity and Total Lung Capcity),which is visible as Mesothelioma/pleural plaques on X-ray.
It is a type of Interstitial Lung Diseases which may mimic short term infections or conditions like pneumoconioses,Hypersentivity Pneumonitis, Pulmonary fibrosis etc.
Asbestos exposure becomes a health concern when high concentrations of asbestos fibers are inhaled over a long time period. People who become ill from inhaling asbestos are often those who are exposed on a day-to-day basis in a job where they worked directly with the material. As a person's exposure to fibers increases, because of being exposed to higher concentrations of fibers and/or by being exposed for a longer time, then that person's risk of disease also increases. Disease is very unlikely to result from a single, high-level exposure, or from a short period of exposure to lower levels.So you can consider you are not exposed as it seems to be negligible at present time.
If you are experiencing symptoms, it might be due to considerable amount of dust particles or left over fibers of asbestos which needs to be vacuumed out as early as possible.Ventilate your house with exhaust fans,clean house regularly,prevent dusting,precautionary measures and aids taken to clean unreachable corners of house,periodically moving in and out to take fresh air,washing hands and clothes after cleaning,covering food items with micro-vents,covering with enough cloth,little usage of air fresheners in unventilated rooms,prevent usage of air conditioners until your house is free of dust particles that would be visible in diagonal sunlight,regular usage of vaccum machines if dust is very high,talk to professional house keeping services,to prevent further problems(like pneumonia, asthma or hypersensitivity to dust particles etc).
However it is recommended to go to a Doctor who may prescribe you Chest X-ray if your symptoms seems to worsen and would prescribe you medication which may help soothing you from such symptoms.All the Best!
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