You know that working around asbestos is dangerous, but there’s no choice in your line of work. You’re often around old buildings, working on remodeling projects, and there’s often asbestos in these buildings.
To help, your boss gives everyone a generous supply of dust masks from the hardware store. They are very clear that you need to be wearing a mask all of the time to avoid breathing in the asbestos dust.
You don’t doubt that their intentions are good. They’re trying to protect you. The problem is just that you’re not sure that a dust mask is up to the challenge. Will it work?
You need a mask with a higher rating
Your concerns are legitimate. Normal dust masks are for wood dust in a construction zone and things of this nature. They do not work on asbestos. The particles from asbestos fibers are simply too small and they easily make it through and around the mask. You’re still breathing them in. To really be safe, you need one of the following masks:
- A mask with an R-100 NIOSH rating
- A P-100 mask
- An N-100 mask
- A respirator that uses purple HEPA filter cartridges
It is important not to work around asbestos until you get the proper equipment. The dust mask may make you feel safer, and it can help in many other applications, but asbestos is a different issue entirely and you will still risk serious ramifications.
If you do develop mesothelioma or another asbestos-related disorder after working around this dangerous carcinogen, be sure you are well aware of the legal options you have to seek compensation.