I am renovating a home built in 1979 which had ~100sqft of vinyl tiles from the ~90s in the kitchen. I didnt realize there was vinyl sheeting under the tiles and decided to cut the vinyl tile into ~2x2 squares with a circular saw for easier removal of the underlayment. After pulling up the entire floor I realized there was some vinyl sheeting underneath, so I decided to have it tested for asbestos to be safe. Testing revealed the sheeting did have (20%) Org.Bound/Fibrous Chrysotile. While I was wearing a KN95 mask, I see now that it doesnt provide much protection against fibrous asbestos. I thought asbestos flooring products were phased out in the early 70s. Should I be concerned for my health or am I over reacting. I was in the house for ~5hrs. If I should be a concerned, Id really like to know so I can share with my primary care physician.
TL;DR Don't worry, be happy.
In my non-professional, non-government opinion, you are overreacting. The risk with asbestos (as with smoking, radon and many similar things) is repeated exposure. That doesn't mean a single exposure has no effect, but the big problem is with repeated exposure. Something like, tearing up a floor each day, 200 x a year for 20 years. Not "once". Plus, even though a KN95 mask may not be certified for asbestos, it will certainly help block the fibers. Certification is a tricky, and expensive, business. Especially in the past year, there are a lot of masks out there, of varying quality, that are not being certified for medical use or for asbestos or other specific things simply because any manufacturer right now, worldwide, can sell all the masks they can make as long as they meet some extremely basic design standards.
In general with asbestos, if you can cover it up, there is no danger. If there are other areas of the house (e.g., flooring in other rooms) that may have asbestos, you should probably get it tested first before working on it, or just cover it all up instead of rip & replace.
What manassehkatz says.
Because of the tragedy of lifelong workers getting mesothelioma, and the government's ability to catch these companies with some assets, a number of mesothelioma trust funds were set up. Unfortunately cashing in requires a bit of legal legwork, so that gives a role for lawyers. But the success rate is much higher than a lawsuit, so it's "shooting fish in a barrel" for those lawyers.
That, plus the 1/3 "contingency fee" charged by those lawyers, has created a "feeding frenzy" of lawyers trying to score mesothelioma clients.
This, in turn, has created a staggering amount of advertising and PR messaging about the dangers of asbestos.
But these messages are false. They only care about connecting to that 1 person in 100,000 who might be eligible to make a claim against the trust funds, and convincing that person to give up 1/3 of what they are entitled to. They do not care if they give you the wrong impression about asbestos.
I know lawyers get rightfully crapped on sometimes but we aren't all bad. I got into asbestos law specifically because I lost my father and my grandparents to asbestos exposure. I've created (and continue to create) a ton of free educational resources on my YouTube channel for anyone concerned about exposure or the current state of asbestos law.
No, you don't have to hire me or give me your information. I'll answer any questions you have. I run a personal injury firm for my bread and butter, my asbestos work is entirely personal. If you have any questions, hit me up through my channel or via my website, https://www.AsbestosClaims.law.
Keep in mind that any exposure isn't advised, but that it is pretty unlikely to cause you long-term effects as it stands. Remember too that the latency of symptoms in asbestos is often 20-50 years. If you're concerned, go get an x-ray from an asbestos-certified technician. Definitely do that before listening to anyone (including me) on the internet.
Before you cast this incident off too quickly, consider 1) level of asbestos in your sample, 2) type of asbestos, 3) amount of exposure (now and in the future), AND possible contamination elsewhere in your house,
Your test results came back with 20% crystalline. That is extremely high. The DOE recommends anything over 6% be removed or contained. So, while you were exposed for a relatively short time, it was at extremely high levels.
There are several types of asbestos. Chrysotile is one of the more common types, but when it is cut it becomes “friable”. Friable is the MOST dangerous. That is to say, when asbestos tiles are scraped up from the floor and/or a corner is chipped off, there is very little asbestos floating around that you can breathe.
Although the asbestos was cut and became friable in one room of your house, it doesn’t mean that it remained there. In fact, it’s in your hair, clothes, etc. and traveled wherever you went after the incident. It is now laying on the floor throughout your house and in your heating/air conditioning system and could be blowing around your house. In fact, it will continue being re-distributed every time you walk through the house and every time your forced air heating/air conditioning system comes on. (If you don’t have a forced air system, a radiant heating system can heat the particles up and they rise and then they can be blown around the house.)
I had a friend who had a similar experience and his insurance company paid him to live in a hotel until they got it cleaned up. They took everything out of every drawer, washed every piece of clothing/bedding etc., cleaned all ducts, washed walls, etc. The cost to clean was over $30,000 plus replacement of some items that couldn’t be cleaned, plus hotel costs, etc.
I visited his house during cleaning and I saw people wiping down books, picture frames, inside of cabinets where the drawer was, etc. It was overwhelming.
For your health now and in the future: I’d notify my doctor and request to see a pulmonologist. I’d have your pulmonologist do a breathing test to set a “Baseline” for future reference. Do a pulmonary function test and have an x-ray (digital) of your lungs completed for future reference.
I can guarantee you that you will feel fine now and in the immediate future... but 20-30 years from now it could be difficult to breath and you’ll have those baseline tests for reference.
Now for the really expensive item: reselling your house. There is a clause in the future sale of your house that says you’ll disclose everything about your house. If you don’t have your house cleaned or if you don’t disclose this incident to a future buyer, you’re liable. Proceed carefully.