Taking immediate steps to protect your well-being is crucial if you suspect asbestos exposure. But what should you do first? At Benchmark Environmental Engineering, we want to make sure you know what to do if you run into this potential hazard during routine repairs or remodeling projects.
Understanding Asbestos Exposure
Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral widely used in construction materials for its heat-resistant and insulating properties. Exposure occurs when fibers are released into the air and subsequently inhaled. There are two primary forms of exposure: disturbed and undisturbed.
- Disturbed: This occurs when asbestos-containing materials are damaged or disturbed, releasing fibers into the air. Activities like renovation, demolition, or even improper handling can lead to disturbed fibers.
- Undisturbed: Asbestos-containing materials that are intact and undisturbed typically pose a lower risk as long as they are not damaged or deteriorating.
Recognizing Asbestos—How To Avoid Exposure
Even if you know what to look for, it can be challenging to determine whether you’ve been exposed. Health symptoms may not manifest right away. If you’re preparing to do some property maintenance, you may be asking yourself, “Do ceiling tiles have asbestos?” According to the EPA, there are several common areas you are most likely to come in contact with this material.
- Handling Attic & Wall Insulation
- Working With Vinyl Floor Tiles & Adhesives
- Replacing Roofing & Siding Shingles
- Using Textured Paint & Patching Compounds
- Accessing Walls & Floors Around Wood-Burning Stoves
- Around Hot Water & Steam Pipes
- Around Oil & Coal Furnaces
- Handling Heat-Resistant Fabrics
- Working With Automotive Clutches & Brakes
“Generally, you can’t tell whether a material contains asbestos simply by looking at it unless it is labeled. If in doubt, treat the material as if it does and leave it alone.”—EPA.gov
Immediate Health Steps To Take After Suspected Exposure
- Leave The Area: Exit the area to prevent further inhalation of fibers.
- Change Your Clothes: Remove and bag your clothes to prevent carrying fibers to other areas.
- Shower: Take a thorough shower to cleanse your skin and hair, reducing the risk of lingering fibers.
- Seek Medical Attention: Inform your healthcare provider about the potential exposure, even if you don’t exhibit symptoms.
Understanding Harmful Amounts Of Asbestos
There is no safe level of exposure. The risk depends on the concentration of fibers in the air, the duration of exposure, and your susceptibility. Short-term exposure can still have long-term health consequences, making preventive measures essential.
Concerning Signs & Symptoms Your Doctor Will Look For
- Respiratory Issues: Persistent Coughing, Shortness Of Breath, & Chest Pain
- Fatigue: Feeling Consistently Tired Or Fatigued
- Chest Tightness: Feeling Pressure Or Chest Tightness.
- Skin Irritation: Dry, Itchy, Or Rashy Skin
Short-Term Vs. Long-Term Exposure
Short-term exposure to a significant amount of asbestos fibers can lead to acute health issues. Long-term, low-level exposure can result in chronic respiratory diseases and even lung cancer. The risk escalates for those who are exposed repeatedly or over extended periods.
You Were Exposed To Asbestos, Now What?
Once your medical professional confirms asbestos exposure, consider hiring a reputable environmental testing company to perform asbestos testing. These specialists will identify the presence of asbestos-containing materials wherever they are in your home or business. Homeowners, property managers, and schools throughout California trust Benchmark Environmental.
We can prepare a plan of action, monitor your building during remediation, and retest to ensure your premises are safe and give you peace of mind.
Navigating Asbestos Exposure? Contact Our Testing Professionals
When it comes to asbestos exposure, immediate action is vital for your health and well-being. From leaving the area of exposure to seeking medical attention and considering professional asbestos testing, being proactive can safeguard you and your loved ones from long-term health consequences. Contact Benchmark Environmental Engineering to schedule testing in the San Jose and San Diego areas today.