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Thread: Possible small asbestos exposure over a long period of time

  1. #1

    Possible small asbestos exposure over a long period of time

    Hello all, yes this is another asbestos post. Basically, I live in a house that was made in the 1950s with the dreaded "popcorn" ceilings. About three or fours years ago, we have a water leak in our main hallway that has caused the popcorn to peel away from the actual ceiling itself. At the time, I didn't think anything of it or that it could contain anything like that. We had some Basic plans to scrape it off (glad I didn't do that now) but work and other things got in the way, so we never did anything about it, which I totally regret now. I am told that the materials in the house "probably" don't have asbestos by my father, which is the person who bought the house.

    So the popcorn has been left in a state of partially hanging off the ceiling for the entirety of three or four years or so in a place that does see a lot of foot traffic, and I've now learned that that stuff can be actually pretty dangerous. What started me on the path of anxiety is because we've recently started some renovations in our house and it got me thinking about the potentially dangerous ceiling and if because we've just ignored it in a partially damaged state, that we've been inhaling small amounts of fibers over the course of a few years. It doesn't seem to be breaking off very quickly at all, which I am not sure if that is good or bad.

    We are currently doing something about it, finally. We're going to get a sample lab tested to find out for sure, so I do know that there shouldn't be much worrying until we find out for sure because it could be negative. Although I've heard from a lot of people and places on the internet that houses made before the 1970s that have popcorn ceilings are almost guaranteed to have asbestos in them, which of course doesn't help.

    I'm doing my best to keep it together and remember to try to think about it rationally, and that almost everyone is exposed to asbestos at some time in their life and millions of people live in old houses like mine and some probably don't even think about it when they conduct work on their homes. Of course it is very difficult with the anxious mind, especially with things like health anxiety. I can't stop thinking about the potential damage that might have been done by ignoring it and that it's a disease that doesn't really set in for decades. Should I be worried about the situation of the possible exposure at all? I'm starting to have trouble trying to stay rational about it despite my best efforts. Thanks for any input that anyone may have.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2009

    Re: Possible small asbestos exposure over a long period of time

    HI there, I know literally nothing about asbestos, but I am bumping your post back up - as you've had no replies and its your first time posting here.

  3. #3

    Re: Possible small asbestos exposure over a long period of time

    Like Carys, I don't know much about asbestos but I know a weeny bit as we had an exposed flue pipe in our kitchen that was asbestos (yikes!). My understanding is that asbestos is dangerous with continuous exposure i.e. working with it, cutting it, sanding it daily/often as the small dust particles get into the lungs. In your case, there should be limited to no dust particles (as it was water damage) in the popcorn ceiling. So even if the popcorn ceiling IS asbestos, which is still not confirmed, the likelihood of it doing any damage is incredibly small.

  4. #4

    Re: Possible small asbestos exposure over a long period of time

    Hey guys, I appreciate the responses. I know in the back of my head that given the circumstance, even though it is damaged and we haven't disturbed it or anything, that's it's probably OK and it's just anxiety talking. Despite that, I've still been having a rough time with the thought of inhaling enough of it over time to where I'll be sick or dead in the next thirty years since it's an easy thought for the anxiety to grasp on to. We've gathered a sample and I'll be sending it off tomorrow, so fingers crossed. I can post an update here when they send the lab analysis back, but it's going to be a rough week waiting for the results.

  5. #5

    Re: Possible small asbestos exposure over a long period of time

    It's been a while since I last made a post here, but I got my lab test results back and the ceiling did not contain asbestos, thankfully! However, since we're doing other renovations in the house such as some modifications to some of the sheet-rock in the kitchen and renovating an entire room with 9x9 vinyl tiles with black mastic; it doesn't make me feel "out of the woods" in terms of exposure and in some cases makes me worry just as much as before. The negative test result of the ceiling does give me some hope that maybe the rest of the house doesn't contain any at all, possibly. For now, I have sent another test off of the flooring with mastic, but I am not as worried about that as I was with the ceiling. It is just a testament that even if you think you are one-hundred percent certain that something is the case in an HA worry, it definitely doesn't mean that it's true or will come true in reality.

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