Cancer Research UK on Google+ Cancer Research UK on Facebook Cancer Research UK on Twitter
Donate

Let's beat cancer sooner

High level short term exposure to asbestos and mould?

5 Feb 2018 18:05

It's only been a day and I'm so terrified I only got 3 hours of sleep before I had to go to class...I'm from the US but I was hoping someone on this forum could help me. Yesterday me and two friends went hiking and then afterwards they wanted to show me an abandoned school that they went urban exploring in sometime last year. I was hesitant but they said they'd been there before so me, being stupid, thought it would be fine. As soon as my friend Josh opened the door just from the smell alone I was hesitant to enter but we went in anyways. Right away I got worried about asbestos exposure and mould because there was old insulation everywhere, the ceiling was falling apart, there was tons of water damage, and a huge flock of pigeons had made a roost in the roof, but they said it'd be really quick. I was skiddish while we were walking around and didnt want to stay very long without any protection. Josh was also making me anxious becuse he kept hitting walls and doors for fun.

 

We explored and looked around before we exited through a door on the other side of the building so we could go to another. As we were passing by another set of borded up doors I noticed a danger sign warning about the risk of asbestos, cancer and lung disease. I showed my friends and they got really worried and guilty because had no idea it had been there since it was the only danger sign on the entire property and was not visable from the road. I went back to my other friends house and we talked about it and stuff before I left and as soon as I got home I stripped at the door, threw everything in the washer and tossed the snowboots I'd been wearing outside before taking a shower. I did this not realizing that asbestos dust could be clinging onto everything and could contaminate our washer so after reading up on everything I'm now even more paranoid.

 

To make things worse my mom is currently out of town at the Mayo Clinic in Arizona because she has an unknown fungle infection/autoimmune disease that has been making her sick for the past two years and they are trying to find out what it is and the best course of treatment, I stayed behind because I'm in college and can't miss class. I'm really worried I brought home a bunch of asbestos and mold and I don't need it to make my mom sicker when she comes home, or worse. I'm also scared for myself as I'm only 22 and after losing multiple family members to cancer I'm worried I'll develope lung cancer or something even though we were only in the building for about 30 minutes.

What should I do about my washer and should I be worried about getting sick or my mom getting worse from contamination when she comes home?

Re: High level short term exposure to asbestos and mould?

5 Feb 2018 19:49 in response to TwilightSky15

Hello TwylightSky15.  I am pretty sure you are worrying too much.  I spent much of my working life in what is called public sector housing in the UK.  For the first ten years I spent much of my time visiting properties most of which had asbestos in them from when they were first built.  The term asbestos covers many things from white asbestos (the most common) and not very dangerous to other types which were more dangerous if damaged.  Asbestos of any kind was only dangerous if damaged.  If I felt that there was damaged asbestos in a property the address was passed to a specialist team who removed it.  The specialist team wore special suits and masks as a precaution because all their working week was spent removing asbestos,  I and my other colleagues never wore any protection and of course nor did the people who lived in the property.  When I retired a few years ago there had been no cases of anyone having been affected by the asbestos.  Building firms and anyone who has a building which still contains asbestos rightly err on the side of safety by posting warning signs sometimes but really that is  to protect themselves against complaints etc.  I do not know anything about the law on asbestos in the US by the way.  It is really only people who have a long exposure to damaged asbestos over a long period who seem to suffer from it.  Do not worry about your washer by the way.

Re: High level short term exposure to asbestos and mould?

5 Feb 2018 23:23 in response to Annieliz

But what about secondary exposure?

Re: High level short term exposure to asbestos and mould?

5 Feb 2018 23:57 in response to TwilightSky15

Hi again.  If I am right you are worrying about bringing asbestos dust back to your mum.  I don't think this is at all likely.   The danger from lenghty asbestos exposure is by inhaling any fibres in the air.   The fibres of white asbestos, by far the most common type, are easily dealt with by the body.  In your case you were there with such a short time they would be minimal.    You wrote that you were so worried you washed all your clothing. I honestly don't think you would have brought anything into your home.

As I understand you are worried by what took place I know my trying to explain what I learned over the years will not easily drive away your fears for your mum.  Do you know anybody in the building industry to whom you could talk directly to obtain more reassurance.  Or go to your local library to read about it?  You are obviously a loving daughter and it does seem such a shame that you should worry like this.  I wouldn't tell you things that I did not consider to be true.