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Yesterday, I removed a wall from my basement and tried to vacuum the dust after removing/breaking it. When I used the vacuum, I didn't realize that the filter (not HEPA) was not properly installed and all the drywall dust became airborne. It got really dusty and my air quality monitor reported almost 400 ug/m^3 PM1 and 1,000 ug/m^3 PM2.5. The only PPE I was wearing since I thought it would be a simple removal was an off-brand mask with two P100 filters I bought off amazon.com. I opened the windows and left the vacuum (not HEPA) on to remove the dust in the air, I also turned on the bathroom exhaust. I cleaned the surfaces, mopped the floor and changed the HVAC filter to a FPR10 / MERV13. I did not turned the HVAC yesterday night and slept with a fan.

The house was build in the 50s and I don't know when the basement was constructed. The drywall removed, I believe, is from the US Gypsum Company. I tried to find the any markings to tell me the date or something, but I only found this printed: 11 08 3 BA J 3. Other drywalls in the basement have the marking: 05 28 4 BA R 6 with PAT. NO. 2806811. I believe I removed the first one.

I wonder how bad the exposure was, even with the P100s and if I should do something else. I did wanted to clean the HVAC ducts before turning them on, but my thermostat is Ecobee Smart and turned itself on today because temperatures got higher than 78 degrees. There's a 6in return vent in the basement.

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    According to this site, these manufacturers used asbestos in their drywall: Bestwall Gypsum Company, Hamilton Materials, Inc., Kaiser Gypsum Company, Inc., Kelly-Moore Paint Company, National Gypsum Company, Synkoloid Company, American Biltrite, Amtico Floors, Armstrong World Industries, Congoleum Corporation, EverWear, GAF Corporation, Kentile Floors, Montgomery Ward, Sears-Roebuck. None of those match "US Gypsum", so you may be OK.
    – FreeMan
    Jul 19, 2022 at 17:02
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    Any mask is a lot better than none. About the only thing that can be done now is to mention it to your doctor the next you are talking to him/her. Remove all the dust by vacuuming or washing surfaces. Need to test for asbestos to know if it is in the drywall/flooring.
    – crip659
    Jul 19, 2022 at 17:02
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    The only way to know for sure is to have a sample tested to see if there's asbestos in it. If there's no asbestos, nothing to worry about. If there is, well, there's nothing much you can do beyond talking with your doctor and monitoring.
    – FreeMan
    Jul 19, 2022 at 17:03
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    The most important thing is to remember this is a one-time exposure. Asbestos is not plutonium or cyanide. Much like (but not exactly the same) smoking one pack of cigarettes will not (usually - could start a house fire) kill you, but a pack a day for 50 years has a good chance at killing you, one day of asbestos exposure is not likely to have big long-lasting effects, while daily workplace exposure for years can kill you. (In fact, actually quite related - definitely don't want to smoke and have serious asbestos exposure, but I digress). Jul 19, 2022 at 17:15
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    Until you have a test done, you've been exposed to drywall (gypsum) and you have no idea if you've been exposed to asbestos (from this incident. Depending how old you are, your odds of having some exposure at some point in your life go way up with age...)
    – Ecnerwal
    Jul 19, 2022 at 19:36

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According to this site*, these manufacturers used asbestos in their drywall:

  • Bestwall Gypsum Company
  • Hamilton Materials, Inc.
  • Kaiser Gypsum Company, Inc.
  • Kelly-Moore Paint Company
  • National Gypsum Company
  • Synkoloid Company
  • American Biltrite
  • Amtico Floors
  • Armstrong World Industries
  • Congoleum Corporation
  • EverWear
  • GAF Corporation
  • Kentile Floors
  • Montgomery Ward
  • Sears-Roebuck

None of those match "US Gypsum", so you may be OK.

However, the only way to know for sure is to have a sample tested to see if there's asbestos in it. If there's no asbestos, nothing to worry about. If there is, well, there's nothing much you can do beyond talking with your doctor and monitoring.

Do bear in mind that hundreds of thousands of people worked with asbestos from whenever it was discovered through until the 1960s/70s without any issue whatsoever. These people worked with it day-in, day-out with no respirators, no dust masks and were just fine.

Of course, this doesn't mean that you are just fine. Sure, one exposure could cause all sorts of horrible consequences, but it's not likely that a single exposure, even a reasonably large exposure, is going to kill you any time soon.

*No affiliation, just the first result for a search for "did drywall contain asbestos", to which I expected the answer to be "no".

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    I wonder how all of us that did this daily are still alive? Although a good answer+ some folks freak out and don’t realize people worked in asbestos plants for a lifetime without protection and lived to old age, I installed asbestos texture with a spray gun and 20-30 years later removed a bunch as a great grampa I am still working and all my family and friends in construction I have not heard of a case so I think the op is ok also+
    – Ed Beal
    Jul 19, 2022 at 18:43
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    Might also be worth noting that the Canadian government considers drywall dust to be level 1/ low risk, and that the companies on the internet that seem to want to get people excited about the risk stand to make money from testing. Jul 19, 2022 at 19:36
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    Valid point, both of you. I should have included my standard "you probably have nothing to worry about, but it could impact you" disclaimer. Remember, kids, bad news sells!
    – FreeMan
    Jul 20, 2022 at 11:19

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