We remodelled our bathroom (home built in 73) last year in june. There
was linoleum flooring in the bathroom about 24 square feet that was
removed as well as the ductwork that we cut a piece of that contained
asbestos. We didn't know at that time and therefore no precaution was
taken. After a month or so i found out that the the duct work contained
asbestos and the linoleum may also have so i had some professionals
come in and vacuum my house with a HEPA vacuum. I'm now so scared that
the asbestos may still be in my house, on my clothes in my closets, on
our beds etc. I have a two year old in the house and I'm scared to
death. I feel I have jeapordized his health. I'm literally obsessed by
these thoughts and can't think of anything else. My husband is totally
oblivious to this. Even last year when I got the house vacuumed he
thought i was over reacting to the situation. What should I do now? is
my house totally contaminated? I need help!!!!!!
I'd cover every surface with new paint, tile or whatever. I'd wash
all clothes and I'd dry clean those that can't be washed. I'd buy a
good hepa filter - about $400.
Then, I'd relax and enjoy what little life I may have left.
Did you go to school in the 1950s? Every school had asbestos pipe
insulation and some even had asbestos in the ceiling tiles. Like radon,
asbestos is one of those scare words that makes otherwise sane people
freak out and do foolish things.
Since we're not dying by the millions from asbestos-related lung
diseases, I suspect the threat from this substance is highly
exaggerated. IOW, quit worrying, be happy.
I went to school in the '50s. We were given loose asbestos powder to mix
with water to make modeling material for art class. I can also remember
removing an old gravity hot air furnace from our house and stripping off all
the asbestos paper that the pipes were wrapped in.
I am still alive, 65, with good lungs. Don't worry, if you have cleaned up,
vacuumed and generally kept a clean house there is nothing to worry about.
The floor covering MAY have had asbestos but it would have been sealed in
the vinyl, nothing to escape. The duct may have released some, but your
cleaning would have removed the dust. Don't fret about the baby, we all
lived through much worse before they decided it was bad for you.
EXT thanks for yet another reassuring reply. I didn't go to school in
the 50s but i also remember using asbestos sheets over burners for
chemistry experiments in the late 70s in school. I guess I worry more
because of my baby and what I may have put him through but you're right
so many people up until a couple of decades ago were exposed to it
before they decided it was bad for us.
thanks again for the reassuring words.
What's really funny is that people run around wearing asbestos everyday and
admire how beautiful it is. One form of asbestos worn frequently as jewelry
is Tiger's Eye. I just love trotting that out and watching people's eyes
goggle. I'm a lapidary and I do take extra precautions when cutting
asbestos containing stones. Once polished and set though, they are
perfectly safe. Well, they are safe in the rough form too but grinding can
lead to problems.
I wouldn't paint or tile. I would wash off the surfaces, or dust with
a damp rag or something that would use static to hold the dust in
place. I might wear an asbestos effective dust mask when doing this,
and send the kid somewhere else. Then I'd open the windows, put input
and output fans in them, at opposite ends of the house, and vent the
house while I went shopping, or to work. It will float around, little
will find anyone else because there is almost none left in the house
alreadyd, and be washed into the ground by the rain.
I wonder if a toy microscope is enough to examine a filter and see if
there is any asbestos on it. If not, maybe one could borrow a
microcope or buy one at a pawn shop, and sell it for not much loss.
But I don't think this is necessary at all. Just for the compulsive or
The microscope used to identify asbestos is very specialized and the use of
that microscope to identify asbestos requires specific training to properly
identify the various types of asbestos. Even using the correct microscope
and with the proper training, it isn't easy. Even the most exhaustive
microscopic test (point counting) isn't particularly accurate in terms of
the percent of asbestos present.
The suggestion to paint the interior of your house is good. IF there were
asbestos fibers on the surfaces, painting them would encapsulate the fibers.
When you're through, you'll have a nice, fresh house and, if it'll make you
rest easier, it's worth it.
There are folks who can perform wipe tests to determine if there are
asbestos fibers present. The place to start is in the room where you did
the work. If it's not found there, it's not likely that it's anywhere else.
The nice thing about this is that it's not particularly expensive.
The hype over the asbestos threat is greatly overdone, just as was the
dioxin threat. Most of the folks who contract asbestosis are those who
worked with asbestos under poor hygienic conditions and inhaled a lot of the
fibers. Think of all of the homes that have asbestos siding (and sometimes
asbestos slate roofs). There are millions of these homes around the country
and asbestos fibers are shedding from them constantly. The EPA (and local
state departments of natural resources) emphasize it so much because they
don't want to err on the minus side, so they make you believe that one
inhaled asbestos fiber dooms you. If that were truly the case, we'd all be
doomed to die of asbestosis because it's not likely that anyone can go
through life and not inhale even one asbestos fiber.
For decades people didn't know a thing about asbestos and it was everywhere.
Almost all are still alive. Asbestos workers, particularly ones who smoked
and worked in clouds of asbestos dust, are the ones who had most of the
problems. If you did not sand the floor off you probably didn't cause much
of an issue. Who knows what was done in the house before you even moved in.
That should give you something to really worry about. We used to play with
mercury when I was a kid. Last week they closed a school and homes because
kids found mercury to play with. What about the homes me and my kid friends
used mercury in when we were kids. Shouldn't all homes be checked? I
would thoroughly vaccuum and if still worried, call in a company that checks
for asbestos contamination. But if you find it, when you go to sell, in
most states you have to report it. By the way, what about the rest of your
duct work. If the asbestos is flaking and in your ductwork, your air is
blowing by it right now.
Art thanks for your reassuring reply. We got the duct work changed as
soon as we found out and got an asbestos abatement company to do it.
They even did air samples after the duct work was taken out and it was
found at .002/cubic or something which was considered as equivalent to
ambient air levels which i believe is normal in the air. Anyway thanks
again for your reassuring reply.
If they tested a few locations in the house (not just the work area),
there's your answer. You don't have an asbestos problem in your house.
The test I'm thinking of involves a leaf blower and air sample
collection. It stirs up any dust. If they did something radically
different, maybe you can describe it?
The suggestions to paint and tile aren't helpful here. They might make
sense if you were trying to cover/encapsulate materials containing
asbestos, but they don't make sense since what you're worrying about is
asbestos particles that may be loose in your house.
Dust removal is a good idea. Wet mopping, dusting with a damp cloth,
etc, all remove dust, including any possible asbestos particles that
might have settled. Vacuuming stirs up dust (especially without a HEPA
filter, but even with one to some extent) and is not a good idea if
you're trying to reduce an asbestos contamination problem. Since the
abatement company didn't detect anything above ambient, I don't see any
problem with cleaning your house however you want, including vacuuming.
I believe that. It might be compared to the guano miners of Chile,
who do or did go blind after a few years**. Yet millions of people
walk by pigion doodoo on the sidewalk all the time without going
**Yet took/take the jobs anyhow, knowing they would probably? go
blind, because they needed the money.
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.