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Remember Asbestos?

Discussion in 'Issues Around the World' started by Coot, Jan 21, 2003.

  1. Coot

    Coot Passed Away January 7, 2010

    It's back in the news.
    Well, it looks like bankrupt W.R. Grace still has some clout left. The possibility that 10 million homes still have this stuff in the attics and walls is unconscionable. Given the devestation asbestos can wreak, how could they not declare a health emergency?
  2. ethics

    ethics Pomp-Dumpster Staff Member


    I wonder how many other chemicals are in our walls that are hazardous to us?
  3. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Passed Away Aug. 19, 2006

    Some, I am sure, but very few or none that can cause a variety of cancers, including one to-date untreatable, incurable and inevitably fatal form -- mesothelioma -- from rather limited exposure, I think.
  4. Coot

    Coot Passed Away January 7, 2010

    Here's the original story from Februrary 2002 in pdf format. It's eleven months later and nary a peep out of Washington. Asbestos is one of the most insidious contaminants we have still on the loose. Minor exposure can easily have the same effect as pointing a gun at your head and pulling the trigger only the bullet takes several years to kill you.
  5. Jedi Writer

    Jedi Writer Guest

    Do you know what type of asbestos is used?

    It is certainly true that asbestos can cause fatal cancer and other serious health problems. But there are six types of asbestos and only three of those are used in our environment for commercial venture. The three types are crocidolite, amosite and chrysotile. Only crocidolite, also known as blue asbestos and amosite or brown asbestos cause the health problems that the masses incorrectly associate with all asbestos.

    Chrysotile or white asbestos is harmless. It is white asbestos that is used in building construction, for insulation and other general use. It is estimated that 95 percent of all uses of asbestos involves only white asbestos.

    So the ten million homes mentioned are probably using white asbestos and are no threat at all.

    However, given the misinformation, scare tactics, and the propaganda of trial lawyers any responsible person unaware of the facts above would be understandably upset and concerned.

    The bottom line is that the great asbestos threat and subsequent ban is both a great hoax and just another of the many urban environmental myths.
  6. Coot

    Coot Passed Away January 7, 2010

    Re: Re: Remember Asbestos?

    Nope, the asbestos in the zonolyte insulation is tremolite, one of the six regulated and the most lethal. The information is in both articles.
  7. John R. Beanham

    John R. Beanham Typical Aussie Male


    "Nope, the asbestos in the zonolyte insulation is tremolite, one of the six regulated and the most lethal. The information is in both articles."

    Is there any valid evidence to show that the residents of these 10 million homes have an above average incidence of cancer?

    Surely that would be apparent by now? If not, why not?

  8. Jedi Writer

    Jedi Writer Guest

    Re: Re: Re: Remember Asbestos?

    I did know that there were six types and all regulated. I mentioned only the three as they were the ones in the past almost univerally used or involved in the controversy over asbestos.

    It was my impression and assumption from circumstantial evidence that the three I did not mention including tremolite were non-factors. But as I say, that was only impression and assumption.

    I will have to look into tremolite. I just hope that the scare or allegations are not as groundless as those cited against what is still overall the most used asbestos of the past, chrysotile or white asbestos. It was in most cases white asbestos that were in brake linings and building condemed or "reabilitated" at the cost of hundreds of millions or possibly billions of dollars. A total waste of money and the source of unecessary fear and panic.

    As we both know just because a certain source or news "article" says something is so does not automatically make it so.

    Nevertheless, your post is an important one! Thanks for bringing up the subject and providing the link and background.
  9. Steve

    Steve Is that it, then?

    Asbestos is <u>only</u> dangerous when present in airborne particulate form. The inhaled particles lodge themselves in the lungs and contribute to the formation of cancer and other respiratory illnesses.

    The current, recommended asbestos abatement procedure is encapsulation and isolation. This usually entails spraying known or suspected asbestos insulation, tiles, etc. with a coating designed to prevent flaking, chipping, or other physical damage that can release airborne particles. Isolation involves enclosing exposed pipes, etc. to prevent accidental damage to the asbestos insulation.

    The type of vermiculite insulation that is described is typically blown into walls and into attics. If blown into walls, unless disturbed by drilling, remodeling, etc., the insulation is effectively isolated. If blown into an attic space, the insulation is largely undisturbed, except for a relatively small area around the attic opening which <u>may</u> be used for storage by homeowners. Most homeowners who do use the attic space for storage will have laid down planks or plywood to create a floor, thus preventing further disturbance of the insulation.

    So, under normal circumstances, the type of insulation described does not pose a threat to the average occupant.

    The installers of such products, however, may have a case...
  10. Coot

    Coot Passed Away January 7, 2010

    Most of that asbestos in the insulation was installed from the 50's thru the 70's. W.R. Grace's records are incomplete or gone.

    It's not just the residents of these houses, who come and go, but insulation installers, cable TV guys that crawl around in it etc. are at highest risk. If it's not disturbed, there's little dust that escapes. Here's more info. http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/asbestos/doc_tremolite.html
  11. Jedi Writer

    Jedi Writer Guest

    Even in the form you describe white asbestos is not. Blue asbestos is and it is the combination of circumstance you describe that are deadly.

    Again, I don't know about tremolite as that was in the past not commonly used.

    In fact if all asbestos and white in particular were as dangerous as alleged half the population over 40 would be afflicted with lung cancer and other respiratory problems.
  12. Coot

    Coot Passed Away January 7, 2010

    The tremolite asbestos is essentially a contaminate in vermiculite. The source of this vermiculite used in the insulation came from the Libby Montana mines. http://www.epa.gov/region8/superfund/libby/
  13. Jedi Writer

    Jedi Writer Guest

    Only a small fraction of what is commonly alleged.

    Misinformation, FUD, and special interest groups fuel the important subject of what is dangerous for us.

    The sad part is that hypothetically for every 100 things that are alleged in our lives to be bad for us, only a few actually are! But those do not get the deserved attention that they should because the numerous false claims and confusing and conflicting data offered up turns off or desensitizes the public. The result is that those important issue truly needing addressing, usually are not. Conversely the false ones, driven by those special interest groups and hysteria do. Sigh.
  14. immortal one

    immortal one 501st Geronimo

    Hazardous chemicals in our walls and attics is bad news, but I think that takes second place to the tens of thousands of tons of chemicals that are pumped into our air, water and ground each year.
  15. Coot

    Coot Passed Away January 7, 2010

    This is probably not the place to address this, but tremolite asbestos in vermiculite insulation is insidious. While in high school in the mid-sixties, I worked for a building materials company. The company was bought by W.R. Grace and we stocked and sold the insulation in question. Bags broke and we just swept it up and dumped it in the garbage, there was even substantial dust coming off the bags that didn't break.

    I have my lungs checked twice a year now, as in 1994, a routine lung x-ray showed a number of densities and evidence of pleural thickening consistent with tremolite exposure.

    Granted, this insulation poses little risk if it is undisturbed, but with the potential of 10 million homes having this in the attic, and the real likelihood that most people are unaware of its dangers, I don't think it is unreasonable to presume that people will on occasion blindly disturb it. I do think it unconscionable that, given the danger this exposes people to, the EPA is doing nothing but responding to news reports in the Seattle PI. One only has to look to Libby Montana to see what it has done to a whole town...then again, one only has to look at the plumber in St. Louis who poured 30 bags of the stuff into his walls and it killed him.

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