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Asbestos anxiety advice

A

Annon78

Member
Joined
Oct 29, 2020
Messages
6
Location
England
Hi there - I live in the UK.

Apologies in advance if this is not the best place to post this - please feel free to move it to a more appropriate site.

I am having a bit of a scare about asbestos and it has really really got to me.

I have a garage in my garden with an asbestos roof, that is getting a bit leaky and dilapidated.

About ten years ago, I was putting down some new insulation in my loft and spent the day bagging up something that I have just realised, by accident, is caused Vermiculite - there are horrifying stories about this stuff in America and Canada.

I have just read that Artex contains asbestos too - I have spent so many times, over the years, cleaning our ceilings and also had an accident whereby our Artex ceiling was damaged and I just patched it up and hoovered up the dust.

With regards to the Vermiculite, I sent off a sample and got back a negative result. However, I couldn't stop myself looking up about the stuff and have read that some samples can come back as false negatives and that, in places like Canada, you need to take up to three random samples to be sure and, even then, you can never be really sure.

I have sent off for another two testing kits and am thinking of having a proper asbestos survey done by professionals.

I haven't slept for literally days and have stopped eating. I keep having panic attacks and do not know what to do.

All I keep thinking about is the damage that I may have done to myself and my family and what health risks await.

I try my best not to think about it but nothing seems to keep me dwelling about me or my family dying from mesothelioma.

Any advice on what to do would be much appreciated.
 
Scapes1986

Scapes1986

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 10, 2020
Messages
3,175
Location
Mars
Seems like your being proactive about the situation. I don’t think you need to worry unless you and your family come directly in contact or have symptoms. I’m sorry this is causing you such anxiety but you seem to be doing the right thing by investigating the problem. The test came back negative which means there’s no problems. This should help with your anxiety.

If your still having these feelings maybe talk with your family or a professional.

hope this helps
 
A

Annon78

Member
Joined
Oct 29, 2020
Messages
6
Location
England
Thank you - I guess my main concern is that I did get one of the false negatives and that I have spent years bringing things down from the loft and filling our house with the stuff.

Plus I am worried about the garage too - I have never messed with the roof but it is deteriorating a bit. How much asbestos have I breathed in and dragged into the house every time I have nipped in to get something out?

I have tried looking at statistics to try and put my mind at rest - i.e. only people that work for years with asbestos tend to get diseases (a one in ten chance), but there are loads of cases of just a single exposure leading to mesothelioma too.

I think I might need to do something about my mental health - the potential of worrying about a one in ten chance of dying horribly, for the rest of my life, seems too much to bear.

I think I might have to find a professional - I do not want my family to have to carry the burden of the worry too. Furthermore, my wife thinks I am chronic worrier too, which does not help.

For some reason, my wife never really panics about stuff - she is very calm and is very much of a "what will be will be attitude".

I would love to be like that but I very rarely sleep more than a few hours a night - not only about asbestos but recent scares about not using plastic electric kettles and re-boiling water keep me awake at night.

Do you think I should talk to my GP or are there any other techniques I might use to try and switch off from the panic? - very exhausting to always be worried about something.

Also, what do you think would be the appropriate name for what I have? Anxiety, OCD, depression? If I understood what I might have, I might be able to find more general advice on the internet.

Thanks again for talking to me - I guess this has been bottling up for many many years and the asbestos issue is just one step too far for me.
 
Scapes1986

Scapes1986

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 10, 2020
Messages
3,175
Location
Mars
I’m sorry to hear you’re worrying so much. I know it must feel terrible. It’s sounds to me like you have generalized anxiety. It’s seem broad but thats what it sounds like to me. As for seeing a professional and telling your wife, I think you should do both. If the worrying has become unbearable then something needs to be done. There are a whole mess of techniques you can use while having these panic attacks. A professional can help you with these. Taking the first step is hard but if you feel you are ready then I believe you can accomplish it. For now make a list of all the things you’ve been through, the worrying, staying up late ect ect. Not only will it be helpful to you but you can show it to your doctor. If your still concerned you’ve been exposed then I proper test from a medical doctor can be performed, I believe an MRI or Cat scan.

I hope you feel better
you can keep posting or you can use the forum to read up on the different illnesses others have to see if you feel your experiencing any other symptoms.
 
L

Laudanum

Well-known member
Joined
May 30, 2019
Messages
627
Location
Surrey
I sometimes worry about asbestos too, as my father made a sold asbestos shed in the early 70s in Australia (where there was also an asbestos mine).

Rolf Harris worked as a student in the mine, and he is now in his 80s or 90s and is ok, so not guaranteed to be harmful.

Out of all people with heavy, prolonged exposure to asbestos, only 2% to 10% develop mesothelioma, around 40 years later on average.
 
A

Annon78

Member
Joined
Oct 29, 2020
Messages
6
Location
England
Thanks guys - really appreciate having someone to talk to about these things, I am already feeling a little better knowing that I am not alone in having these issues.

Laudanum, may I just ask whether your father is still OK? I assume he had no ill effects from the shed?

One thing I have tried to do, to alleviate the anxiety is try to look at statistics.

You are completely right - maximum of 10% risk is for heavy and prolonged exposure. Surely, my risk of getting anything must be many times less than that, if I have never worked with the stuff.

I have found quite a few stories about one-off exposures causing mesothelioma - I guess that these are perhaps overexposed by the media for the very reason that they are rare.

I keep looking up mesothelioma victims, just to check that they were exposed to much more asbestos than me - this is horrible as I feel slightly relieved that the odds are in my favour but then I feel terrible for the poor people that got it.

I am going to try my absolute best to try and put all thoughts of asbestos out of mind for the night - going to be difficult, but I do need to get some sleep (I am also aware that people who get less than 7 hours of sleep a night are more likely to have health issues, which is something else that doesn't help me).
 
L

Laudanum

Well-known member
Joined
May 30, 2019
Messages
627
Location
Surrey
I've been there (around 1995 when I was most worried). Any stories about asbestos I lapped up, but soon got over it.

My father died 4 years ago aged 93, and never experienced any issues with his exposure.

I am a bit annoyed that my neighbours put up an asbestos barrier between my garden and theirs when a fence panel blew down last year. Also, a roofer replaced some undercloaking and threw the old asbestos bits in my front garden a few years ago, but I just held my breath and picked them up.

White asbestos (the most common type) is the least dangerous. Brown and blue are the worst if I recall correctly from an asbestos module I did for work (a piece of software I wrote to record possible presence in buildings).
 
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