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A few years ago my parents did some work on an interior drywall in our house (built in 1987) [US]. Now I wonder if I might've been exposed to asbestos and I'm freaking out. On the bright side, I was never near the work area when the work was being performed. Given it's an interior drywall (the partition between kitchen and family room), probably there wasn't any insulation that could've contained asbestos.

Given the research I did, it seems asbestos was far more commonly found in the joint compounds than the dry wall itself, and that asbestos was banned from joint compounds in 1977.

I understand there's nothing I can do at this point. Just hope someone who knows more about this topic can give me an idea of my risk.

I would send a sample to get tested except the housing is being rented now and my parents have moved to a newer house and I no longer live with them.

Thanks

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  • Check the form of asbestos used - there is a big risk difference between them. Oct 22 '20 at 3:22
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    Worrying about the asbestos exposure is probably doing your health more harm than the slim chance of short-term exposure did. There is a near zero chance that asbestos was present in the house (by '87 it was almost non-existent in new home construction) and you weren't even there!
    – FreeMan
    Oct 22 '20 at 12:56
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if it was an interior wall, there would likely be no insulation. Even if it was insulated for some odd reason, most wool-type insulation (the kind you'd expect to find in walls) does not contain asbestos. The main form of asbestos tainted insulation in most single family homes is probably vermiculite, and you would generally not find any large amounts of that in wall voids (it was used as loose fill attic insulation; I have a bunch in the ceiling over my head). It was banned in 1990, and to my knowledge was rarely if ever used during new construction, so the odds of finding it in a house that was built in 1987 are slim to none.

As far as the joint compound goes, if the house was constructed in 1987 then it is almost certainly not a type that contained asbestos. I think that stuff was discontinued in the 1970's.

Even in the very unlikely event that there was actually asbestos present, the level of exposure you would have had from some light drywall work is extremely small. The risk of illness is proportional to the level and duration of the exposure, so your risk is very low even in the worst case scenario. If you are looking for things to worry about, I'd probably rank rabid raccoons and murder hornets higher on the list. And as you mentioned, there's not a thing you can do about it now anyways, so you might as well just enjoy life for whatever time you do have left.

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    Exactly correct, stop worrying. Primary risk for asbestos-related disease is with chronic occupational exposure... Oct 22 '20 at 4:30
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    @JimmyFix-it my dad found a small amount of vermiculite around the chimney in his attic. He asked an abatement guy what to do, and the response was "get a broom and dust pan, sweep it up and dump it in the trash"
    – Z4-tier
    Oct 22 '20 at 4:32

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