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absestos exposure?
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absestos exposure?

I am very concerned about the fact that i may have been exposed to asbestos,
i was working around a local swimming pool doing electrical repairs and installation,
one of the rooms we worked in was a boiler room which had asbestos lagged pipes, on inspection they were in perfect condition and coated in a blue paint, on the last day someone had swept up the floor below were we had been working and i entered the room for no more than 20 seconds and left again, then later on that evening i felt as though something was in my throat which i could feel every time i took a breath, which then a fews days later turned into a sore chest, then felt burning for a day, now its been 2 weeks and my chest pain seems to be clearing.
Does this sound like asbestos?
No one else who was in the room seems affected, even the 2 that swept up?
I was also drilling in the changing rooms that last day into block work, but swept up the floor and got a face full of dust, could it be chlorine affecting me?
Many thanks
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Avatar_dr_m_tn
Hello,

Your symptoms are likely related to irritant dust exposure and chemicals (such as chlorine) that was present in the dust that was stirred up with the sweeping.

From your description, it sounds like the asbestos was not exposed or friable.  

When you were drilling, were you wearing a "dust" mask or cartridge respirator. When your were drilling, were you drilling into brick and mortar? The dust from mortar contains silica which is very irritating to the airways and the lungs.

If you are still experiencing symptoms, you might consider seeing a physician through your employer or your primary care physician.

Please respond with additional questions.


~•~ Dr. Parks

This answer is not intended as and does not substitute for medical 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.
6 Comments
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Avatar_m_tn
Thanks for getting back,
I was not wearing a mask when sweeping up in the changing room, Stupid i know.
I was drilling what seemed to be painted breeze block and mortar.
I am normally alright when drilling into bricks,wall etc.
But sweeping up in the changing rooms might have brought up a lot of chlorine in the room?
You say that silica might be a problem, a few months ago we were working in a silicon plant, this seemed to give me a tight chest and felt as though my nasal passages were closing.

In the boiler room the only concern is that there my have be some asbestos on the floor from the time they originally lagged the pipes, some 40 yrs ago, again sounds stupid but is really worrying me.

But the fact that no one else is affected is making me think that it was fine.
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Avatar_dr_m_tn
Hello again,

It is difficult to say how likely it is that there were residual asbestos fibers from the original pipe installation. Probably, unlikely that there was a significant amount of asbestos present on the room's floor.

Just for your information, the health effects of acute exposure to asbestos are similar to the effects from exposure to other types of dusts that may irritate the airways and air passages in the lungs.

The long-term effects of asbestos usually do not show up for more than 20 years and in general, health effects are unlikely after a low level single exposure.

What are your specific concerns at this time?


~•~ Dr. Parks

This answer is not intended as and does not substitute for medical 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.
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Avatar_m_tn
Thanks again,

I guess i am concerned about the amount of exposure I have had because of the symptoms i am getting at the moment.

And i now feel I am waiting for my time to come because of this exposure.

It really does scare me and i am losing sleep and my appetite and I am only 31.

Thank you very much for your help
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Avatar_dr_m_tn
Hello,

How are you feeling now? Are you still having symptoms? If so, what types?

To reiterate, I believe your risk to be very low for the following reasons:

1. It is unlikely that a significant amount of asbestos fibers would be present in the dust that you were sweeping (based on the information that you provided).
2. A single exposure is unlikely to result in any chronic effects.
3. Dust exposure in combination with a choline or other caustic chemicals could have caused your symptoms.

If you are still having symptoms, you might consider seeing your primary care health care provider. After that, try to get some rest and resume normal activities: working, exercising, eating, etc.

~•~ Dr. Parks

This answer is not intended as and does not substitute for medical 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.
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Avatar_m_tn
Hi and thanks for getting back again,

I am still getting pains in the upper parts of my chest mainly on the sides, still a bit breathless as well. But the burning sensation has gone now. Just thought I would add that I have never really had a cough while all this has been happening (no more than usuall being a smoker)

I went to see my doctor and he told me it is more likely to be anxiety as I already suffer from this, he had a good listen to my chest and said he cant hear anything wrong and if there was any inflamation (inflammation) or anything he would hear it, he also gave me a peak flow which was 630.

He said the same thing as you, that such a brief exposure would not bring on these symptoms I am getting.
I am also a smoker and since I have been worried I am smoking lots more which stupidly isn't helping things at all.
I am going to quit now though and start to look after my lungs alot more.
I have always had a really bad problem with worrying myself till I am ill.
After looking up anxiety on the net I seem to be understand alot more about what it can do.
Does this make sense to you?

He has now prescribed me Citalopram Hydrobromide to try and calm this down.

I am hoping that it was just dust or chlorine that has brought this on, also the fact that everyone else seems to be fine, even the guys that were sweeping up is making me think other wise.

I really feel for people who are effected by asbestos especially the people that used to work with it who didnt even know what would happen to them. Seems so unfair.

Thank you very much for your help.
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