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Backerboard and Crystalline Silica Exposure Question?

Backerboard and Crystalline Silica Exposure Question?


Old 08-22-11, 10:42 PM
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Backerboard and Crystalline Silica Exposure Question?

Greetings Experienced DYI Home Remodeler,

Extreme novice here, and I had a recent incident that has me very much concerned. I am remodeling my bathroom, and tore out the cabinets/sink/toilet/marble flooring. Well I am dumb and had no idea what I was doing other then it had to come out. The marble flooring was very difficult and because it was a very small half-bathroom I chose to use the old 3 pound hand sledge and chissel. In about a 4 hour period I was able to remove the marble, and was ripping out the backerboard out at the same time.

Of course, I had no idea how dangerous backerboard was until I got to the last piece that had a warning label on the back saying "Warning: Extreme Hazard to Life and Health, Contains Crystalline Silica Only Use with HEPA Masks". Well dumb me I was only wearing a N95 (fiberglass/sanding) mask. Additionally, this is an interior half-bathroom with no windows so I had the backdoor/front door open to create a draft. Well all the did was blow the dust around the house. I am so dumb.

My question is for experienced workers is what is my exposure considering the above facts? Should I worry or more importantly should I worry about my wife and 4 year old daughter to be in the house? I spent the last week leaving all the house windows/doors open, plus wet dusting and wet carpet cleaning. However, I noticed I've developed a dry cough and have a irritated throat several days after the tearout.

I have come here to the DIY forum because I cannot find any information on the web. All I can find is occupational exposure stuff, and nothing about single at home risks to family/self. What I am seeking is advice on how to protect my family. I am pretty much settled I'm screwed because I know I had an incorrect mask for the job, and have read backboard is something like 50% Crystallline Silica. But my concern for my 4 year old daughter has me up at nights with worry. If you can please provide me information, or direct to a location I can obtain information I would be very appreciative!

Thank you!
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Old 08-23-11, 06:20 AM
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I wouldn't worry about it. It was a one shot deal. If the exposure had been for an extended period of time, there might have been a problem. I remember a chimney guy telling me, I've been sucking asbestos for 40 years. I don't think you'll have any problems.
Old 08-23-11, 06:50 AM
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Typically, the exposure level required to cause a problem is not something you experience in one day
Old 08-23-11, 09:27 PM
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Thank you for the responses. Reading the internet causes alot of concern because it says acute silicosis can be caused by a "short exposure" with a "large dose". I know I had a pretty large dose to cause a dry cough/sore throat, but I don't know what a "short exposure" is classified as. Thank you again for the responses!
Old 08-25-11, 07:04 PM
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Originally Posted by BadBeans View Post
I know I had a pretty large dose to cause a dry cough/sore throat,
This is a good indication to put on a mask. The label is there to help the manufacture avoid liability. The "damage" is done. There is nothing you can do. Move on.

Badbeans I hear you got into some Crystaline Silica, looks like your pot of beans has really spoiled this time. I'll be seeing you soon. Grim
Funny, but not helpful.
Old 10-27-12, 03:59 PM
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Similiar position

Hi Bad Beans,

Not sure if you'll still check this post or not, but I'd be very interested in hearing an update about how you're doing. I'm in a very similar position myself now, and extremely worried. It would be great if you could come back and post an update about how you've fared over the last year?

Old 10-27-12, 05:00 PM
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I think for the most part the warning is there for the dust that is emitted while cutting with a grinder or saw. That is where the most damage can be done. Nominal tear out will create less "dust", but you should always wear a mask in a situation like that. Any demolition dictates protecting your body, eyes, lungs, hearing, etc.
Old 10-28-12, 04:21 AM
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Welcome to the forums gfactor!

I kind of doubt you'll hear from BadBeans as he hasn't been active on the forum in over a year. For what it's worth, I cut the cement board for my kitchen countertops with out a mask over 10 yrs ago. Also I've been on numerous jobs where cement board was being cut and have yet to have any ill effects from breathing the dust..... not that it's ever a good idea to breathe dust!

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