July 10 2020

Asbestos has a dangerous reputation and for good reason, when disturbed, asbestos fibres break loose and are released into the air. These fibres are tiny and invisible to the naked eye, roughly 10x smaller than the width of a human hair. Breakaway asbestos fibres can then be inhaled and cause damage to your respiratory system. 

But how much asbestos is too much asbestos? This is a question many people carrying out home renovations or construction work will wonder. Ideally, none. The more you can reduce your exposure to asbestos the safer you will be. That’s where specialists like MAS come in handy. We have trained professionals who have all the equipment, skills and experience to remove asbestos safely. However, if you’ve only discovered asbestos after the fact, or think you may be exposing yourself to asbestos, here’s some information to keep in mind. 

How bad is One-time exposure? 

Asbestosis and other medical issues are usually caused by long-term exposure to asbestos. Months and even years of exposure present a much greater risk to your health. However, you should avoid asbestos wherever possible and even exposing yourself to it for a day can lead to substantial amounts being inhaled. Ask yourself; 

Was the asbestos damaged? How did you break it apart and dispose of it? Were you outside or inside when working with asbestos? 

Poor ventilation, no PPE, and disturbed asbestos could mean you’ve inhaled asbestos fibres. While there may not be any instant impact to your health it’s important to let your doctor know so they can keep a record of the event and monitor your health accordingly. Try to avoid making this mistake in the future and always plan for the worst when it comes to asbestos.

How much Asbestos is harmful?

There is no clear answer to this question. Asbestos dust is toxic and should be avoided where possible. This is because asbestos-related illnesses are cumulative and usually occur in people who are regularly exposed to this harmful substance. Most cases of asbestosis only come to light decades after the exposure has occurred. 

Not just for yourself but also your family. Second-hand asbestos exposure can occur when you go home in clothes covered in asbestos fibres. These can then be released into the air at home and inhaled by your family members and friends.

In short, it’s best to leave asbestos removal to the professionals. They have the equipment and experience to test, remove, and ensure that the air quality of your build is safe for you to work on. This protects you, your team, and your family. 

How long can Asbestos stay in the air?

Let’s say you’ve already done some home renovation work and are worried about the presence of asbestos. Even the slightest breeze can disturb asbestos and potentially release more fibres into the air. Disturbed asbestos can stay airborne for between 48-72 hours and will settle eventually. 

However, once settled even the slightest breeze can disturb these tiny fibres and release them once again into circulation. This is why it’s important to contact a professional asbestos removal expert if you discover asbestos. Without the proper training and equipment for asbestos air testing, you can never be sure that your air is safe from asbestos.

Asbestos in the air

What is friable Asbestos?

This question often comes up when people are looking for answers on asbestos exposure. Friable asbestos refers to all asbestos products that can be crumbled in your hand. This brittle nature makes it easier for them to break apart and release fibres into the air. In old buildings, you will often find it in substances like sprayed-on insulation.

Non-friable asbestos are items that are usually tougher and if left alone will not release any fibres. This includes vinyl floor tiles and cement sheets.

For more information on common materials that may contain asbestos consult the HSE’s asbestos guide. This breaks down every possible place you may find asbestos. 

At Midlands Asbestos Solutions we have worked with private and commercial clients. We’re committed to helping people protect themselves, their families, employees and customers from the threat of asbestos inhalation. Contact us now for a free quote to find it if your property is a threat.

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