Asbestos – I may have been exposed – what should I do?

People who believe they may have been exposed to asbestos are understandably anxious and concerned about the possible effects on their health.

Many cases of inadvertent, short-term exposure to asbestos will most likely have been minimal, with little likelihood of any long-term ill effects. However, although the type of asbestos involved may be known, there will often be little, if any, reliable information concerning the level and duration of exposure.

These are important factors because the more likely an asbestos-containing material is to release fibres, the greater the risk. Some asbestos-containing materials release fibres more easily than others.

If you are concerned about possible exposure to asbestos, you are advised to consult your GP and ask for a note to be made in your personal record about possible exposure, including date(s), duration, type of asbestos and likely exposure levels (if known).

 In some circumstances, your GP may refer you to a specialist in respiratory medicine. HSE does not advocate routine X-rays for people who have had an inadvertent exposure to asbestos. Asbestos-related damage to the lungs takes years to develop and become visible on chest X-rays. X-ray examinations cannot indicate whether or not asbestos fibres have been inhaled.

Source HSE

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