I changed the brake pads on my motorcycle today and I read in the manual that you have to be careful when cleaning them with compressed air because asbestos fibers might get into your lungs and cause permanent and severe damage.

While I was googling I've also found that drywall removal is dangerous for the same reason. And it just hit me; last year I removed 5 drywall walls (gypsum wallpapers) in my home using a sledge-hammer and electric saws. I think I used something on my face because inhaling it was unbearable. I did it for 2 days. I was stupid for not wearing a mask. The drywall is gypsum based and was installed there post 2008. Does it contain the deadly asbestos? I live in Eastern Europe in the EU.

Will I die of cancer in 10 years?

  • 1
    I would concentrate on the brakes and not the drywall if you want to live longer.
    – Tom
    Jul 23, 2013 at 16:20
  • 1
    Regardless of whether or not it had asbestos (it didn't) the danger comes from prolonged exposure--not one DIY job.
    – DA01
    Jul 23, 2013 at 18:09
  • @DA01 - you are technically correct, but it is a dangerous and misleading statement. It is NEVER OK to expose one's self to asbestos fibers, even for one DIY job. Prolonged occupational exposure does dramatically increase the likelihood of developing a related illness. But a single fiber embedded in lung tissue has the potential to develop into an illness, a risk no one should take despite the very long odds.
    – bcworkz
    Jul 24, 2013 at 1:11
  • @bcworkz and one should always wear hearing protection too, but no need to be freaking out about mowing the lawn last weekend if you didn't. I agree that safety should always be a priority, but at the same time, it's unhealthy to worry about a past event that likely had little-to-no actual detrimental effect.
    – DA01
    Jul 24, 2013 at 1:37
  • Brake pads have used Asbestos for quite some time. It's only in the last 5 or so years (at least here in NZ) they have stopped being used. I've noticed the non-asbestos brakes squeak a lot more.
    – hookenz
    Jul 25, 2013 at 4:15

1 Answer 1


Asbestos has been banned in Europe for over a decade you will be fine. Blue and brown asbestos was been banned since 1985 and white asbestos since 1999 (resolving and complete end by 2005) so 2008 (manufactured or sold) gypsum board could not legally have asbestos.

The only danger you'd face is the possibly older insulation behind it or you end up shaking an older ceiling.



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