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Old 01-12-2011, 11:11 AM   #1
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Paranoid about possible exposure to Asbestos.

Hi all, New guy here.
Anyway, I have this nagging dreadful fear of asbestos and the possible exposure I've had to it. Before I go further I'll admit that I've got a history of OCD and anxiety so I tend to blow things out of proportion. So here goes nothing...

For the past year or so I've been volunteering at a large local historical site. I volunteer usually 3-4 hours a month total. I mostly just paint stuff. Most of the rooms have a lot of steam pipes running through them covered in tightly woven asbestos insulation. In almost all cases the insulation has been painted over with layers and layers of paint. Before we start on any room a crew goes in before us to check for tears and damage. These are repaired before we go in to paint. I've not really put a lot of thought into it because for the most part the insulation is sound. We just paint right over the top of it. Occasionally we run into a few small tears and we leave these areas alone until they are repaired.

But for some reason I've started to really become paranoid about this because asbestos is indeed a nasty substance and even though I just paint over it I'm sure that I've probably stirred up at least some minuscule amount dust doing so. The reports I've read say occasional exposure is not really a problem. Not sure what my exposure would be classified as.

From what I've read it sounds like that cancers related to asbestos are actually very rare- even amongst those who worked with it heavily and professionally. As in they spent YEARS cutting, sawing, sanding, and inhaling large quantities of heavy laden dust, getting it all over their clothes, etc etc. As mentioned, we don't disturb the asbestos. Logic would say not to worry so much about it.

But... for some reason I'm still pretty worried sick about it. At this point its a sort of all-consuming, gnawing fear. I guess I'm just seeking some reassurance here.

Thanks in advance.

 
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Old 01-12-2011, 02:59 PM   #2
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Re: Paranoid about possible exposure to Asbestos.

Eddyjohnson,

You are so lucky! You have nothing to worry about, in my opinion. What you are doing is very very harmless. But I can understand how you feel. Just being around it is a little disturbing.

When I was about 12 to 14 years old I helped my father put up asbestos insulation on the pipes in the basement of our home. He was cutting them with a saw to whatever length he needed. So there was plenty of asbestos dust in the air. It had no effect on either one of us. That was about 58 years ago. My father died at age 80 but never had lung disease. I am now 69 years old and in good health.

When I was in my early 30s I was putting up sheetrock and using joint compound that had asbestos fibers in it. Not being experienced, I was sanding the seams where the compound was uneven. So again, there was asbestos dust everywhere. That was almost 40 years ago and I still enjoy good health.

As if that wasn't enough, I once lived in a historic home that had asbestos shingles. Some of the shingles were broken so I bought some surplus replacement shingles. Not knowing how to cut them, my father and I cut them on a table saw with a special wheel and the dust was thick. That was about 40 years ago and I'm enjoying very good health.

Don't worry about your exposure!

 
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Old 01-12-2011, 03:41 PM   #3
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Re: Paranoid about possible exposure to Asbestos.

Hi John,
Thank you so much for your kind reply.
Hearing that makes me feel a lot better. Yeah- being around the stuff definitely makes me a little nervous. I think the mistake I made was that I saw one of those TV ads about asbestos- one of those scary ads that talks about how that if you were exposed, you could be in big trouble. I then went online to look up more information about it and of course all these horrible diseases came up. Of course that scared the crap out of me because I've been working around it for a year, painting over it. So even though in the back of my head I figured I wasn't really disturbing the stuff I was still thinking: "What if", followed by the absolute worse case scenario.

I've lost a lot of sleep over this thing. That in of itself is probably not helping my health.

Anyway, thank you again for helping me out. I feel a lot better.
-Eddy

 
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