I'm having hardwood floors put in throughout the first floor of my
home and I'm doing the demolition. Our house was built in 1977 and had
plywood put on the subfloor with vinyl sheeting in the kitchen and
foyer. Later, but no telling how far later, a previous owner laid
another layer of plywood (very thin) then stapled metal mesh screening
to it and poured some sort of cement on top of which they laid 1/4"
Upon tearing all this up (the kitchen actually has 4 different floors
on it) I didn't initial wear a mask and then realized the dust was
very heavy. Now, of course, I have something stuck in my throat today
that has me trying to cough it up. I'l be wearing a mask from here on
in until I finish but now I'm wondering if all I may have ingested is
basically sand (cement) or if that material might include more harmful
ingredients like asbestos. I can't imagine that circa 1980 or later
that anyone would use asbestos in cement but perhaps as an insulator
it might have been done. What I'm asking is, what are the odds of
something harmful versus having just ingested standard cement dust
(not that it's good for you)?
Well, just read cement packages that tell you not to breathe the cement
dust. Perhaps you could do a google search for the material safety data
sheets on some cements to see what you're up against.
When I had a job working with hundreds of different chemicals I learned
quickly to always know the materials and always wear safety gear. And you
have just discovered why too.
If you're healthy you'll likely be fine, but how many times can you get away
with being careless? Lungs have lots of excess capacity and can take a
beating for years, until you start losing capacity with age and need what
might have been squandered.
Drink lots of fluids so you can produce the juice it takes to cough up
irritants. Ever play baseball? Slide into home? One dose of dust
probably didn't do you any harm. If you cough up blood, see a doc.
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