I am very afraid for my life I didn't know


Q: I am very afraid for my life. I didn't know anything about asbestos until today. I'm 22 and as a child I used to play with the popcorn ceiling of a family member's home (that is very old; older than 1970s) since the top bunk bed was high enough to reach it. I was at their house everyday for a couple of years. I wouldn't mess with ceiling constantly/daily. But I removed ripping pieces of the popcorn ceiling off frequently. Am I going to have lung cancer? Have I been exposed to asbestos at a high amount that I will get lung cancer?


A:   Hi.
I can understand the state of the mind you must be going through.
Read and understood the history of your exposure to the asbestos in childhood.

The dose required to get the lung cancer is very high, say like 25 fibers per milliliter of air a year .
This is possible only in the old shipyards or insulation works factories and not at household like you said.
Hence stop worrying at the moment.

I hope this answer clears your doubts.

Comments / Follow Ups

Patient: This helped me a lot thank you. I recently moved into a new home and the owner may have scraped off old popcorn ceilings and painted over them. Since I've moved in there has been no visible signs of dust anywhere. Should I be concerned that the scraping of the popcorn ceilings has left asbestos exposure all over my home that will effect my lungs
Doctor: If you are worried about this, get the area sanitized and cleaned and covered up so that no exposure is possible.

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