Asbestos Isn’t Dangerous If You Wear a Mask (Myth Busted)
You’ve heard that asbestos is dangerous – and it definitely is. You may think you can get asbestos protection from wearing a mask. That’s a dangerous untruth and one that can cause you and your family serious health consequences.
Asbestos is nothing to trifle with and most masks are not going to protect you from the deadly fiber.
In part ten of our 12 part campaign to reveal asbestos myths, we’ll tell you why, if you are working with or near asbestos in your own home, office or on a construction site, a mask isn’t enough to keep you safe from asbestos.
Myth – Asbestos Protection from a Mask
Fact – A basic face mask that you can purchase at a home improvement store will offer very little (or absolutely no) protection from asbestos fibers. Asbestos dust and fibers can easily get around the edges of these types of masks and can be inhaled which puts your health at risk.
Fact – To safely work around asbestos, you need a half-face respirator that completely shields your nose and mouth and seals tightly against your skin. A properly fitted respirator will purify the air you breathe and block asbestos fibers from entering your nose or mouth.
Fact – Even a high quality respirator-type mask must be worn properly to ensure you’re protected. Facial hair can break the seal and allow asbestos fibers in – for proper fit, you must be clean shaven.
Fact – A high quality respirator-type mask alone is not enough to protect you from asbestos if you are in an area where asbestos has been disturbed by removal efforts, construction, renovation, flood or fire. In addition, you must wear head to toe disposable protective gear including a hat, gloves and shoe covers. These must then be misted with water and removed while the respirator is still on, placed in asbestos waste bags and then the mask removed. A thorough shower afterward is also recommended.
Fact – Asbestos fibers can cling to your clothing, skin, shoes or hair. If you are not coated entirely in protective gear when exposed to asbestos, not only are you putting your health at risk, but your family’s as well. Second hand exposure to asbestos can have health consequences that are just as serious as it is for those directly exposed to this carcinogen.
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