Q: What’s a Safe Level of Exposure to Asbestos?

June 12, 2014

Think you know what a safe level of exposure to asbestos is?

Think hard.

The answer is: NONE.

You can check with the World Health Organization on that one.

Not a sniff, not a whiff, not a cluster of dust particles soaked into the skin.

It’s not like this has not been studied. Don’t you think the asbestos industry would love to have some evidence at their disposal that said that there was a certain degree to which human bodies could handle asbestos? The evidence is not there — and it’s not for lack of trying.

Instead, exposure to asbestos simply is that dangerous, so dangerous that there is no such thing as a safe level of exposure to asbestos.

What happens is when asbestos particles are disturbed and released into the air — this can happen anywhere asbestos exists but it is especially common in industries that deal with asbestos directly. Some men and women who worked in factories that handled asbestos in the fifties recall working in clouds of asbestos dust day in and day out; others never saw the asbestos particles and others still may have never seen or even been told that they were handling asbestos at all. And others still were exposed to asbestos from their loved ones who brought the asbestos home unknowingly for years on their clothing.

Once the asbestos fibers are breathed in they can get trapped in the lungs and remain there for a long time. Typically, people who develop mesothelioma or other asbestos related diseases suffer no symptoms of the illness for as many as ten to even 40 years or more. But once the mesothelioma or other asbestos-related disease comes, there is no denying it.

And all it may have taken was a small sniff or whiff or cluster of dust particles soaked into your skin way back when.

For you this means two things. One, if you have mesothelioma, any exposure you may have had to asbestos should not be taken lightly as that one whiff way back when may be the reason why you are sick today. It was not something that “just happens,” it was not just your own bad luck, instead, it was an exposure to asbestos, sometimes even a “small” exposure to asbestos, that was never safe to begin with.

We repeat: No safe minimum level of exposure has been identified, for any type of asbestos. This is a fact that should not be taken lightly, both for the workers of yesterday and for the workers of today.