Question A few years ago I removed an old carpet in my basement and there were 9x9 tiles underneath. I Did not realize it at the time but the tiles contained 5.2 % asbestos. I had them tested after the fact. Anyway I removed the entire basement full of tiles. Many tiles popped up intact but there was some breakage. I did not notice significant dust. I am worried sick because my young kids were near where I was pulling up these tiles. What Is the risk of me or a family member developing a disease from this level of exposure?
The risk of long-term health effects is extremely low in situations like the one that you describe. However, it is nearly impossible for me to provide an answer regarding how low the risk really is. In general, health providers and industrial hygienists recommend that when you are performing any sort of demolition or remodeling that involves disruption of building materials, you use proper personal protective equipment including eye protection, respiratory protection and protective clothing. The respiratory protection that you should use depends upon what types of materials that you are working with--chemicals, dusts, vapors, etc.
~•~ Dr. Parks
This answer is not intended as and does not substitute for medical or legal advice. The information presented in this posting is for patients’ education only. As always, I encourage you to see your personal physician for further evaluation of your individual case.
Dear Dr Park,
My name is Gia, I'm from Viet Nam. I'm very enjoy the advices from Dr Park. These are so useful.
I am new hygienist. Now, I try so much in order to become expert in occupational health and safety. I think that you know so much not only knowledge but also experience about this field. Can you help me provide some advice for me?
I will do my best with your request to provide advice.
What specific questions to you have?
~•~ Dr. Parks
This answer is not intended as and does not substitute for medical or legal advice. The information presented in this posting is for patients’ education only. As always, I encourage you to see your personal physician for further evaluation of your individual case
I would not worry. Asbestos related diseases are typically developed over years of exposure to asbestos (it should be noted that while the asbestos was present in the tiles, this does NOT qualify as an exposure as there were no asbestos fibers being inhaled).
Being exposed to asbestos for a short time, such as removing the tiles, usually results in negligible exposure levels.
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