Worried about asbestos

Hey, a little while ago, maybe a month and a half ago, I lent against a wall that looked like insulation with a layer of white around the outside. I noticed after that I had white on my clothes, but didn't think much of it at the time, I just thought it was some dust or paint or something, which it could be. After learning more about asbestos I got worried about what happened, because I haven't washed the jacket I was wearing since, and have wore it a lot, and I'm worried there may be asbestos fibres in my clothes, and I don't think it would be a great idea to breathe any more in ontop of my asthma.

Do you guys think I have anything to worry about? I am seeing my asthma nurse today, so I am going to ask her for more info.

10 Replies

  • Hi damage by asbestosis is usually caused by many years of working with it, and there is no way one contact with it is going to affect you. The worst thing that could have happened was that it triggered an asthma attack at the time. As it didn't please stop worrying.

  • Thank you. Sometimes you just need someone to tell you, ya know? I've became very conscious recently of my lung health, my asthma is very manageable, probably the best its been in years, I just want to make sure it stays like that!

  • Conscious is good but too much anxiety is not!

  • Not to panic anyone, but the training I've had says that there's no know safe limit for exposure, so you could get ill from just one exposure. However, unless the OP is working on a building refurbishment, it is unlikely to be asbestos anyway.

  • I'm a retired government health and safety inspector who used to specialise in asbestos. From what you describe, this sounds like amosite insulation board, but you need to be aware that a lot of this was replaced years ago by non-asbestos board which looks very similar. Normally, either board is very compressed, and it's unusual for any of it to rub off as easily as seems to have occurred in your case. However, a lot of asbestos insulation was plastered over, and plaster does tend to rub off easily; I suspect this is what has happened and that there is no need to worry about it. If you're still concerned, look at the dust under a magnifier - asbestos fibres are just that and don't look like normal dust close up. You have to break these fibres down to a respirable size to do any damage, and you won't have done that by leaning against it and walking around, but it won't do any harm to wash your coat now! If it's any consolation, I suspect my asbestos exposure is much higher than yours; I'm 66 and my lungs showed no asbestos plaques when scanned last year.

  • Thank you for the info! Some insulation type stuff was exposed, is was yellow and looked kinda like sponge, and I know asbestos doesn't look like that, I was worried that it was an asbestos coating on the outside.

  • Definitely not asbestos - that would be on the INSIDE. Sounds like expanded foam on the inside if it's yellow, covered with something to protect it. But that something wouldn't be asbestos because expanded foam wasn't invented when asbestos was used for insulation.

  • Thank you for the replies, settled my mind rightly!

  • Where was the wall? If it is in a commercial or public building, there may be a survey that identifies where asbestos is. In any case, the building owner has a duty to manage asbestos so that it doesn't cause a risk. Saying that, asbestos shouldn't be exposed anyway. If it is a new wall, then there won't be asbestos in it. It could be plaster dust or if it's a bit older, it could be salts from plaster or brick that have been brought out by damp.

  • It was in an old mill building, rented out to a lot of different business for offices and some recording studios/band rehearsal rooms. There was an area where in the inside was exposed, it was yellowy and spongey, only the outside of the board was white.

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