I've been spending time in a house that's been recently drywalled and textured, including sweeping up drywall dust. Are there health implications? Should I be wearing a dust mask? How long until the place is "safe" to be in without a mask?
I ask because I don't feel great after spending a few hours there. I feel a bit light-headed and tend to cough, not a lot, but more than I normally do. When I blew my nose just now, I noticed some blood mixed with the mucus. I'd like to think all of this is unrelated, but it is making me just a bit paranoid.
I got much more paranoid after googling "bloody nose drywall" and "health hazards drywall" and came upon sites about some imported batch of "toxic drywall
," asbestosis / mesothelioma
, and radioactive phosphate
Is there something here worth worrying about? I'm hoping for reassurance that I haven't destroyed my health and that this worry is unnecessary. But I'd also appreciate advice about what precautions to take going forward, and (if there is a real health risk) how to find out what I've exposed myself to and how I can mitigate that (if at all).
I'm hoping this is not a big deal, as I'm not a professional drywall taper with thousands of hours of on-the-job exposure. I'm a homeowner who has spent a total of 20-30 hours inside a home as it's been being drywalled and textured, spread over a month. (The longest exposures were 2 nights when I slept there to protect the place, since the drywallers had had to uninstall some of our security precautions.) Now I'm indoors to tape things off in preparation for painting the place. As part of that prep, I have been taping paper to the floor and in the process, sweeping up drywall dust. Should I be wearing a mask? Is there a way to check whether the joint or texture compound, or the drywall itself, is of some particularly "toxic" sort? Is there anything I can do to mitigate any sort of exposures I might have had?