What to do after Recent Exposure to Exposure

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Why is Asbestos Exposure Dangerous?

Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that was mined and used predominantly in the 1960s, 70s and 80s. However, asbestos has been proven to be a highly dangerous and cancer-causing material. Although it’s now been banned in many countries, including the UK, Australia, France and Chile, asbestos is still commonly used as a building material in many others.

Common Symptoms of Asbestos Exposure

Symptoms of asbestos exposure include:

  • Shortness of breath.
  • A persistent cough.
  • Chest pain.
  • Difficulty swallowing.
  • Swelling of the neck or face.
  • Weight and appetite loss.
  • Fatigue and/or anaemia.

What Should You Do After Recent Exposure to Asbestos?

If you are concerned about recent exposure to asbestos, you should:

  1. Report the asbestos exposure to your employer, including information on the date of exposure, duration of exposure and what type of asbestos (if known). If you are self-employed or are carrying out work at home, make a note of these details.
  2. Consult your GP as soon as possible and report any ill-health symptoms. You should also pass on information about the date, duration and type of asbestos. Your GP may refer you to a specialist if necessary.
  3. If you’re doing DIY work on your home and think you have found asbestos, you should seek advice from an environmental health officer at your local council. They will be able to tell you who to contact to remove the asbestos or what steps you need to take to protect yourself.

One-time asbestos exposure generally is not a serious risk, except in extreme circumstances where toxic dust completely clouds the air. Asbestos-related diseases are usually caused by months or years of regular workplace exposure.

If you were exposed to asbestos for one day, the risk to your health depends on how much dust you inhaled. Asking these questions is key”

  • Was the asbestos-containing product damaged or crumbly?
  • Was it scraped, smashed, drilled or sawed?
  • Was the area poorly ventilated?

If the answer is yes, and you did not take safety precautions, then you likely inhaled a substantial amount of asbestos dust.

Asbestos exposure will not have any immediate impact on your health so try not to panic, if it ever affects you, it will take years for symptoms to arise. Make sure your doctors are aware of the event, so it is in your medical history. Avoid any further asbestos exposure in the future.

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