Dear Ask The Doctor: I removed a tile floof and wall against a wood burning stove and now think it may have been asbestos.how bad is this type of one time exposer.i wasnt wearing any protection mask
Dear Paul: Asbestos exposure is associated with Mesothelioma. Mesothelioma is a rare type of cancer that occurs in the thin layer of cells lining the body's internal organs, known as the mesothelium. The only recognized cause of mesothelioma is exposure to asbestos, though other factors such as smoking can make the disease more or less likely in some individuals.
Everyone is exposed to asbestos at some time during their life. Low levels of asbestos are present in the air, water, and soil. However, most people do not become ill from their exposure. People who become ill from asbestos are usually those who are exposed to it on a regular basis, most often in a job where they work directly with the material or through substantial environmental contact.
Although it is clear that the health risks from asbestos exposure increase with exposure over time, cases have found documented of asbestos-related diseases in individuals with only brief exposures.
Those who develop asbestos-related diseases show no signs of illness for a long time after their first exposure. It can take from 10 to 40 years or more for symptoms of an asbestos-related condition to appear.
The best advise for you is to limit your future asbestos exposure by wearing proper protective equipment in future home renovation projects. You should also inform your family doctor of your exposure. No additional tests will be done but it will be useful for him or her to know on your annual physical exam.