Is a dust mask enough for asbestos?

On Behalf of | Apr 22, 2022 | mesothelioma |

If you’re worried about being exposed to asbestos, you know that the big issue is that you don’t want to inhale the asbestos particles. They can become trapped in the lining near your lungs, leading to mesothelioma. These particles are very small and durable, so they become embedded within your body for decades.

This is also why one exposure incident increases your risk of developing mesothelioma forever. It is clearly better to be exposed only once than to be exposed repeatedly, but there’s nothing you can do to lower your risk level once you have been exposed. There’s always the potential that you inhaled asbestos particles and could develop mesothelioma in the future.

In trying to prevent this type of exposure, you may consider wearing a mask. But is that going to be enough?

You need better respiratory protection

The short answer here is that a dust mask is not nearly enough. These masks are generally just made of paper and they can filter out things like wood dust or dirt. They make the air slightly more breathable when in a dirty working environment, such as a shop or a construction site.

Paper is far too porous to stop microscopic asbestos particles. They will pass through or around this mask. What you really need to use is a respirator. This is a heavy mask that comes with filter cartridges. These cartridges will carry a 100 rating. This could be N-100, P-100 or R-100. These have been specifically designed for asbestos, and anything with a lower rating will not help. A dust mask has one of the lowest ratings and will not protect you in this scenario.

What if you have mesothelioma?

Even if you take proper precautions, it is possible to develop mesothelioma. The risks are even higher if you’re not given the right protection equipment or didn’t have access to the right cartridges with high ratings. If you develop this disease, you need to act quickly to explore your legal options, as this is a very aggressive type of cancer. It’s wise to consider your options as soon as you can.