When Does Exposure to Asbestos Become Harmful?

Posted on behalf of Peter T. Nicholl in Mesothelioma & Asbestos Published on September 8, 2021 and updated on January 31, 2024.

picking up asbestos fibersThere are some substances that become harmful to human beings only after a significant level of exposure.

For example, if you are around oil-based paint for a short time and you breathe in the fumes, you could get sick or feel fatigued. If you simply go outside in the fresh air, you should be fine. However, if you are frequently exposed to oil-based paint in a poorly ventilated area, you could suffer kidney or liver problems that could be severe.

On the other hand, there are substances that can be extremely harmful even in small quantities, like asbestos. It is important to understand there is no safe amount of exposure to asbestos. You could end up developing significant health problems even after limited exposure to this mineral.

Victims of asbestos should strongly consider seeking legal representation, as an experienced attorney may be able to help you recover fair compensation for medical expenses and other damages. The Law Offices of Peter T. Nicholl has been helping asbestos victims for decades and there are no upfront fees for our services.

Why Limited Exposure to Asbestos is Still Dangerous

Many people who ended up being diagnosed with mesothelioma, asbestos-related lung cancer or other asbestos-related health problems were repeatedly exposed to small amounts of asbestos. They may not even have worked with this substance. Maybe they worked near those who did, or they had family members who brought small amounts of asbestos home on their clothes.

While our bodies may expel some dangerous substances, such as by washing toxic substances off or going outside to breathe in some fresh air, asbestos fibers are usually not expelled. Once you breathe in asbestos fibers, they can become lodged in the lining of the lungs, where they stay for decades. Over time, these fibers create scar tissue and may cause asbestos-related lung cancer.

You will not be able to cough or sneeze and expel these fibers from your body. Once you ingest them, they are likely there to stay, and may one day lead to health problems.

You may have had limited exposure to asbestos in your home, particularly if you live in an older home. Maybe asbestos escaped from some part of your home you do not go in often. Even this small amount of exposure could be harmful.

Your risk of health problems may increase if you lived in an older home while it was being renovated. Asbestos-containing insulation and other products may have been exposed during a renovation.

Other Risk Factors for Developing an Asbestos-Related Disease

If you were only exposed to a small amount of asbestos once or just a few times, you may not end up having health problems later in life. However, there are other risk factors that may make it more likely you will develop an asbestos-related disease. For example, smoking cigarettes could increase your risk of lung cancer if you were also exposed to asbestos.

Maybe you only had firsthand exposure once or twice, but you were exposed to someone else who had asbestos fibers in his or her hair or on his or her clothes. Your risk of an asbestos-related disease may also be higher if you lived near a mine or a contaminated job site.

It is important to note that asbestos is most dangerous when it is friable, which means it can be easily crumpled up and release fibers into the air. Spray-on asbestos insulation is very friable, which means you need to be very cautious with it.

However, some forms of asbestos are only dangerous after being disturbed. For example, ceiling tiles, floor tiles, shingles and fire doors are probably only going to release asbestos fibers into the air if they are damaged in some way.

If you think you discovered asbestos-containing materials in your home, block off the area and do not go near it until you are able to have the asbestos safely removed.

Contact The Law Offices of Peter T. Nicholl Today

Asbestos victims may be eligible to obtain compensation for medical expenses and other damages caused by their diagnosis. Employers and others knew asbestos was dangerous but still allowed people to be exposed, often resulting in severe health problems later in life.

At our firm, an initial consultation comes at no cost. If our Maryland-based mesothelioma attorneys validate your case and you hire our firm, there are no upfront costs. In other words, there are no risks in working with our firm. We do not get paid unless you get paid.

Our licensed attorneys are here to help. Phone: 410-907-3957.