One of the challenging things about asbestos is that the particles are incredibly small. People who are tearing out old tiles or insulation often wonder if they’re going to be able to spot asbestos if it’s contained in those products. They assume that they’ll see it and that they can get proper protective gear or hire a remediation team at that point.

But will you really see it? How small are those particles and what does this mean for potential exposure?

They are essentially invisible

Perhaps the best way to think of asbestos particles is as an invisible threat. You can’t see them. You can’t taste or smell them. You won’t know they are there based on your senses alone.

Technically, they’re obviously not really invisible. They are said to be “0.1 to 10 µm in length,” with experts pointing out that you can’t see particles of that size with the naked eye. You could see them if you had a microscope, and labs can find them due to various types of testing, but you’re not going to spot them in your own home or workplace without these assistance devices.

The small size is also what makes them very dangerous, on account of the fact that they get trapped within the body. You can easily breathe them in, but then they get trapped in your lung tissue and your body doesn’t expel them. This is why they can eventually lead to mesothelioma.

If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma or another type of cancer, be sure you know if it is linked to asbestos exposure and what legal options you may have.