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October 20, 2018

India's thriving $2B asbestos industry

“These are huge numbers. We’re talking about millions of people,” Shankar said. “So there is a lot of latent demand.”

Yet there are some poor Indians trying to keep asbestos out of their communities, even as the government supports the industry by lowering import duties and using asbestos in construction of subsidized housing.

“People outside of India, they must be wondering what kind of fools we are,” said Ajit Kumar Singh from the Indian Red Cross Society. “They don’t use it. They must wonder why we would.”

In the ancient farming village of Vaishali, in impoverished Bihar state, the first word about the dangers of asbestos came from chemistry and biology textbooks that a boy in a neighboring town brought home from school, according to villagers interviewed by The Associated Press.

A company was proposing an asbestos plant in the village of 1,500 people located about 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) east of New Delhi.

The villagers worried that asbestos fibers could blow from the factory across their wheat, rice and potato fields and into their tiny mud-and-thatch homes. Their children, they said, could contract lung diseases most Indian doctors would never test for, let alone treat. Neither India nor any of its 29 states keep statistics on how many people might be affected by asbestos.

Read MoreIndia’s fight against inflation

The people of Vaishali began protesting in January 2011. They objected that the structure would be closer to their homes than the legal limit of 500 meters (1,640 feet). Still, bricks were laid, temporary management offices were built and a hulking skeleton of steel beams went up across the tree-studded landscape.

The villagers circulated a petition demanding the factory be halted. But in December 2012, its permit was renewed, inciting more than 6,000 people from the region to rally on a main road, blocking traffic for 11 hours. They gave speeches and chanted “Asbestos causes cancer.”

Amid the chaos, a few dozen villagers took matters into their own hands, pulling down the partially built factory, brick by brick.

“It was a moment of desperation. No one was listening to us,” said a villager involved in the demolition, a teacher who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of retribution from the company. “There was no other way for us to express our outrage.”

Within four hours, the factory and offices were demolished: bricks, beams, pipes and asbestos roofing, all torn down. The steel frame was the only remnant left standing.

“Still, we did not feel triumphant,” the teacher said. “We knew it wasn’t over.”

Read MoreCanada to donate its own Ebola vaccine to WHO

They were right. The company filed lawsuits, still pending, against several villagers, alleging vandalism and theft.

Durable and heat-resistant, asbestos was long a favorite insulation material in the West, but has also been used in everything from shoes and dental fillings to fireproofing sprays, brake linings and ceiling tiles.

Scientists and medical experts overwhelmingly agree that inhaling any form of asbestos can lead to deadly diseases including mesothelioma, lung cancer and asbestosis, or the scarring of the lungs. Exposure may also lead to other debilitating ailments, including asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

About 125 million people worldwide are exposed to asbestos at work each year, the WHO says. Because the disease typically takes 20 to 40 years to manifest, workers can go through their careers without realizing they are getting sick.

Dozens of countries including Japan, South Korea, Argentina, Saudi Arabia and all European Union nations have banned asbestos entirely. Others including the United States have severely curtailed its use.

Most asbestos on the world market today comes from Russia. Brazil, Kazakhstan and China also export, though some have been reviewing their positions.

Canada’s Quebec province was the world’s biggest asbestos producer for much of the 20th century. It got out of the business in 2012, after a new provincial government questioned why it was mining and exporting a material its own citizens shunned.

Asia is the biggest market. India last year imported $235 million worth of the stuff, or about half of the global trade.

The global asbestos lobby says the mineral has been unfairly maligned by Western nations that used it irresponsibly. It also says one of the six forms of asbestos is safe: chrysotile, or white asbestos, which accounts for more than 95 percent of all asbestos used since 1900, and all of what’s used today.

“Chrysotile you can eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner!” said Kanat Kapbayel of Kazakhstan’s United Minerals and a board member of the International Chrysotile Association.

Chrysotile is a serpentine mineral, meaning its fibers are curly and more flexible than the other more jagged and sharp forms called amphiboles. The lobby and its supporters say this distinction makes all the difference.

Read MoreFDA approves first DNA-based test for colon cancer

A vast majority of experts in science and medicine reject this.

“A rigorous review of the epidemiological evidence confirms that all types of asbestos fiber are causally implicated in the development of various diseases and premature death,” the Joint Policy Committee of the Societies of Epidemiology said in a 2012 position statement.

Squeezed out of the industrialized world, the asbestos industry is trying to build up new markets and has created lobbying organizations to help it sell asbestos to poor countries, particularly in Asia, it said.

Developed nations are still reckoning with health and economic consequences from past asbestos use.

American businesses have paid out at least $1.3 billion in the largest and longest-running collection of personal injury lawsuits in U.S. legal history, according to a 2012 report by the California-based Rand research corporation. Two years ago, an Italian court sentenced two businessmen from Swiss building material maker Eternit AG to 16 years in prison for negligence leading to more than 2,000 asbestos-related deaths. Billions of dollars have been spent stripping asbestos from buildings in the U.S. and Europe.

Arun Saraf, the Indian asbestos association’s chairman, said India has learned from the West’s mistakes.

He said the lobby’s 15 member companies maintain the strictest safety standards in their factories. That includes limiting airborne dust, properly disposing of waste and insisting employees wear safety masks, gloves and protective clothing.

The vast majority of asbestos used in India is mixed with cement and poured into molds for corrugated roof sheets, wall panels or pipes. Fibers can be released when the sheets are sawed or hammered, and when wear and weather break them down. Scientists say those released fibers are just as dangerous as the raw mineral.

Read MoreState AGs urge stricter e-cig regulations: Report

AP journalists who visited a working factory and a shuttered one in Bihar found both had dumped broken sheets and raw material in fields or uncovered pits within the factory premises. Workers without any safety gear were seen handling the broken sheets at both factories. The working factory was operated by Ramco Industries Ltd., while the other owned by Nibhi Industries Pvt. Ltd. was supplying materials to UAL Industries Ltd.

Saraf, who is also UAL’s managing director, said the materials left strewn across the factory grounds were meant to be pulverized and recycled into new roofing sheets, and were no more dangerous than the final product as the asbestos had already been mixed with cement.

He said Nibhi was not an association member, but “I have been informed that Nibhi workers are provided with all the personal protective equipment.”

Some employees of Ramco’s working factory said they were satisfied that asbestos was safe, and were delighted by the benefits of steady work. But several former employees of both factories said they were given masks only on inspection days, and rarely if ever had medical checkups. None was aware that going home with asbestos fibers on their clothing or hair could put their families at risk.

Ramco CEO Prem Shanker said all employees working in areas where asbestos was kept unmixed were given safety equipment and regular medical checkups that were reviewed by government authorities. “Ramco has consistently gone the extra mile to ensure a safe working environment,” he said. AP was not given permission to visit these indoor areas.

Indian customers like the asbestos sheets because they’re sturdy, heat resistant and quieter in the rain than tin or fiberglass. But most of all, they’re cheap.

Umesh Kumar, a roadside vendor in Bihar’s capital of Patna, sells precut 3-by-1 meter (10-by-3 foot) asbestos cement sheets for 600 rupees ($10) each. A tin or a fiberglass sheet of similar strength costs 800 rupees.

“I’ve known it’s a health hazard for about 10 years, but what can we do? This is a country of poor people, and for less money they can have a roof over their heads,” Kumar said.

“These people are not aware” of the health risks, he said. But as sellers of asbestos sheets wanting to stay in business, “we’re not able to tell them much.”

The two-day asbestos conference in December was billed as scientific. But organizers said they had no new research.

One could say they’ve gone back in time to defend their products.

The Indian asbestos lobby’s website refers to 1998 WHO guidelines for controlled use of chrysotile, but skips updated WHO advice from 2007 suggesting that all asbestos be banned. The lobby also ignores the ILO’s 2006 recommendation to ban asbestos, and refers only to its 1996 suggestion of strict regulations.

When asked why the association ignored the most recent advice, its executive director, John Nicodemus, waved his hand dismissively. “The WHO is scaremongering,” he said.

Many of the speakers are regulars at asbestos conferences around the world, including in Brazil, Thailand, Malaysia, Ukraine and Indonesia.

American Robert Nolan, who heads a New York-based organization called Environmental Studies International, told the Indian delegates that “a ban is a little like a taboo in a primitive society,” and that those who ban asbestos are “not looking at the facts.”

David Bernstein, an American-born toxicologist based in Geneva, said that although chrysotile can cause disease if inhaled in large quantities or for prolonged periods, so could any tiny particle. He has published dozens of chrysotile-friendly studies and consulted for the Quebec-based Chrysotile Institute, which lost its Canadian government funding and shut down in 2012.

When asked by an audience member about funding for his research, he said some has come from chrysotile interests without elaborating on how much. A short-term study generally costs about $500,000, he said, and a long-term research project can cost up to about $4 million.

Original article:  

India's thriving $2B asbestos industry

India's thriving $2B asbestos industry

“These are huge numbers. We’re talking about millions of people,” Shankar said. “So there is a lot of latent demand.”

Yet there are some poor Indians trying to keep asbestos out of their communities, even as the government supports the industry by lowering import duties and using asbestos in construction of subsidized housing.

“People outside of India, they must be wondering what kind of fools we are,” said Ajit Kumar Singh from the Indian Red Cross Society. “They don’t use it. They must wonder why we would.”

In the ancient farming village of Vaishali, in impoverished Bihar state, the first word about the dangers of asbestos came from chemistry and biology textbooks that a boy in a neighboring town brought home from school, according to villagers interviewed by The Associated Press.

A company was proposing an asbestos plant in the village of 1,500 people located about 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) east of New Delhi.

The villagers worried that asbestos fibers could blow from the factory across their wheat, rice and potato fields and into their tiny mud-and-thatch homes. Their children, they said, could contract lung diseases most Indian doctors would never test for, let alone treat. Neither India nor any of its 29 states keep statistics on how many people might be affected by asbestos.

Read MoreIndia’s fight against inflation

The people of Vaishali began protesting in January 2011. They objected that the structure would be closer to their homes than the legal limit of 500 meters (1,640 feet). Still, bricks were laid, temporary management offices were built and a hulking skeleton of steel beams went up across the tree-studded landscape.

The villagers circulated a petition demanding the factory be halted. But in December 2012, its permit was renewed, inciting more than 6,000 people from the region to rally on a main road, blocking traffic for 11 hours. They gave speeches and chanted “Asbestos causes cancer.”

Amid the chaos, a few dozen villagers took matters into their own hands, pulling down the partially built factory, brick by brick.

“It was a moment of desperation. No one was listening to us,” said a villager involved in the demolition, a teacher who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of retribution from the company. “There was no other way for us to express our outrage.”

Within four hours, the factory and offices were demolished: bricks, beams, pipes and asbestos roofing, all torn down. The steel frame was the only remnant left standing.

“Still, we did not feel triumphant,” the teacher said. “We knew it wasn’t over.”

Read MoreCanada to donate its own Ebola vaccine to WHO

They were right. The company filed lawsuits, still pending, against several villagers, alleging vandalism and theft.

Durable and heat-resistant, asbestos was long a favorite insulation material in the West, but has also been used in everything from shoes and dental fillings to fireproofing sprays, brake linings and ceiling tiles.

Scientists and medical experts overwhelmingly agree that inhaling any form of asbestos can lead to deadly diseases including mesothelioma, lung cancer and asbestosis, or the scarring of the lungs. Exposure may also lead to other debilitating ailments, including asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

About 125 million people worldwide are exposed to asbestos at work each year, the WHO says. Because the disease typically takes 20 to 40 years to manifest, workers can go through their careers without realizing they are getting sick.

Dozens of countries including Japan, South Korea, Argentina, Saudi Arabia and all European Union nations have banned asbestos entirely. Others including the United States have severely curtailed its use.

Most asbestos on the world market today comes from Russia. Brazil, Kazakhstan and China also export, though some have been reviewing their positions.

Canada’s Quebec province was the world’s biggest asbestos producer for much of the 20th century. It got out of the business in 2012, after a new provincial government questioned why it was mining and exporting a material its own citizens shunned.

Asia is the biggest market. India last year imported $235 million worth of the stuff, or about half of the global trade.

The global asbestos lobby says the mineral has been unfairly maligned by Western nations that used it irresponsibly. It also says one of the six forms of asbestos is safe: chrysotile, or white asbestos, which accounts for more than 95 percent of all asbestos used since 1900, and all of what’s used today.

“Chrysotile you can eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner!” said Kanat Kapbayel of Kazakhstan’s United Minerals and a board member of the International Chrysotile Association.

Chrysotile is a serpentine mineral, meaning its fibers are curly and more flexible than the other more jagged and sharp forms called amphiboles. The lobby and its supporters say this distinction makes all the difference.

Read MoreFDA approves first DNA-based test for colon cancer

A vast majority of experts in science and medicine reject this.

“A rigorous review of the epidemiological evidence confirms that all types of asbestos fiber are causally implicated in the development of various diseases and premature death,” the Joint Policy Committee of the Societies of Epidemiology said in a 2012 position statement.

Squeezed out of the industrialized world, the asbestos industry is trying to build up new markets and has created lobbying organizations to help it sell asbestos to poor countries, particularly in Asia, it said.

Developed nations are still reckoning with health and economic consequences from past asbestos use.

American businesses have paid out at least $1.3 billion in the largest and longest-running collection of personal injury lawsuits in U.S. legal history, according to a 2012 report by the California-based Rand research corporation. Two years ago, an Italian court sentenced two businessmen from Swiss building material maker Eternit AG to 16 years in prison for negligence leading to more than 2,000 asbestos-related deaths. Billions of dollars have been spent stripping asbestos from buildings in the U.S. and Europe.

Arun Saraf, the Indian asbestos association’s chairman, said India has learned from the West’s mistakes.

He said the lobby’s 15 member companies maintain the strictest safety standards in their factories. That includes limiting airborne dust, properly disposing of waste and insisting employees wear safety masks, gloves and protective clothing.

The vast majority of asbestos used in India is mixed with cement and poured into molds for corrugated roof sheets, wall panels or pipes. Fibers can be released when the sheets are sawed or hammered, and when wear and weather break them down. Scientists say those released fibers are just as dangerous as the raw mineral.

Read MoreState AGs urge stricter e-cig regulations: Report

AP journalists who visited a working factory and a shuttered one in Bihar found both had dumped broken sheets and raw material in fields or uncovered pits within the factory premises. Workers without any safety gear were seen handling the broken sheets at both factories. The working factory was operated by Ramco Industries Ltd., while the other owned by Nibhi Industries Pvt. Ltd. was supplying materials to UAL Industries Ltd.

Saraf, who is also UAL’s managing director, said the materials left strewn across the factory grounds were meant to be pulverized and recycled into new roofing sheets, and were no more dangerous than the final product as the asbestos had already been mixed with cement.

He said Nibhi was not an association member, but “I have been informed that Nibhi workers are provided with all the personal protective equipment.”

Some employees of Ramco’s working factory said they were satisfied that asbestos was safe, and were delighted by the benefits of steady work. But several former employees of both factories said they were given masks only on inspection days, and rarely if ever had medical checkups. None was aware that going home with asbestos fibers on their clothing or hair could put their families at risk.

Ramco CEO Prem Shanker said all employees working in areas where asbestos was kept unmixed were given safety equipment and regular medical checkups that were reviewed by government authorities. “Ramco has consistently gone the extra mile to ensure a safe working environment,” he said. AP was not given permission to visit these indoor areas.

Indian customers like the asbestos sheets because they’re sturdy, heat resistant and quieter in the rain than tin or fiberglass. But most of all, they’re cheap.

Umesh Kumar, a roadside vendor in Bihar’s capital of Patna, sells precut 3-by-1 meter (10-by-3 foot) asbestos cement sheets for 600 rupees ($10) each. A tin or a fiberglass sheet of similar strength costs 800 rupees.

“I’ve known it’s a health hazard for about 10 years, but what can we do? This is a country of poor people, and for less money they can have a roof over their heads,” Kumar said.

“These people are not aware” of the health risks, he said. But as sellers of asbestos sheets wanting to stay in business, “we’re not able to tell them much.”

The two-day asbestos conference in December was billed as scientific. But organizers said they had no new research.

One could say they’ve gone back in time to defend their products.

The Indian asbestos lobby’s website refers to 1998 WHO guidelines for controlled use of chrysotile, but skips updated WHO advice from 2007 suggesting that all asbestos be banned. The lobby also ignores the ILO’s 2006 recommendation to ban asbestos, and refers only to its 1996 suggestion of strict regulations.

When asked why the association ignored the most recent advice, its executive director, John Nicodemus, waved his hand dismissively. “The WHO is scaremongering,” he said.

Many of the speakers are regulars at asbestos conferences around the world, including in Brazil, Thailand, Malaysia, Ukraine and Indonesia.

American Robert Nolan, who heads a New York-based organization called Environmental Studies International, told the Indian delegates that “a ban is a little like a taboo in a primitive society,” and that those who ban asbestos are “not looking at the facts.”

David Bernstein, an American-born toxicologist based in Geneva, said that although chrysotile can cause disease if inhaled in large quantities or for prolonged periods, so could any tiny particle. He has published dozens of chrysotile-friendly studies and consulted for the Quebec-based Chrysotile Institute, which lost its Canadian government funding and shut down in 2012.

When asked by an audience member about funding for his research, he said some has come from chrysotile interests without elaborating on how much. A short-term study generally costs about $500,000, he said, and a long-term research project can cost up to about $4 million.

Source – 

India's thriving $2B asbestos industry

Russia, Zimbabwe pick up the asbestos baton from Canada

In February last year, an Italian court sentenced two asbestos industrialists to 16 years in prison for criminal conduct in having for years covered up the hazards of asbestos and failed to implement safety measures.

As a result of this coverup, thousands of workers and nearby residents of their Eternit asbestos-cement factory at Casale, Italy, died painful deaths from asbestos-related diseases. And the death toll at Casale continues to rise.

Yet the asbestos industry is fighting to carry on this same deadly coverup today. To date, Canada has been the industry’s chief political ally in achieving this goal. But this is about to change.

At the UN Rotterdam Convention conference in Geneva this coming week, asbestos lobbyists will be working to defeat the recommendation of the convention’s expert scientific committee to put chrysotile asbestos on the convention’s list of hazardous substances.

The convention does not ban trade in hazardous substances; it simply requires that countries act responsibly and obtain prior informed consent before shipping a listed hazardous substance to another country. This allows developing countries — where asbestos and most hazardous substances are shipped nowadays — to be informed of the dangers. They thus have the right to refuse the product or, at least, have a better chance of protecting their population from harm.

This will be the fourth time that the recommendation to list chrysotile asbestos as hazardous will be presented to the UN conference. Chrysotile asbestos represents 95 per cent of all asbestos used over the past century. The scientific consensus is clear that all forms of asbestos cause deadly diseases. Other forms of asbestos are already on the convention’s list but not chrysotile asbestos, representing 100 per cent of the global asbestos trade today.

At previous conferences, Canada played the role of saboteur-in-chief, refusing to allow chrysotile asbestos to be put on the list. Even though chrysotile asbestos is listed as a hazardous substance under Canadian law, Canada maintained that, once it left Canadian shores (as virtually all of it did because Canadians did not want asbestos in their homes and schools), it should no longer be treated as a hazardous substance.

At the last conference in 2011, when, finally, consensus had been reached to list chrysotile asbestos, Canada alone refused consent, single-handedly blocking the listing.

The Harper government has stated that it will not block the listing at the upcoming conference. But this turnaround is not because the government supports the convention’s mandate of health protection. Instead, it is for totally cynical reasons.

Harper’s Quebec lieutenant, Christian Paradis — a longtime ally of the Quebec asbestos industry — explained that, since the new Parti Québécois government has refused to subsidize the bankrupt Quebec asbestos industry, thus causing its shutdown, there would be no point in Canada blocking the listing of chrysotile asbestos.

Canada’s message to the world is clear and sordid: if you can make money from exporting a hazardous substance, then oppose safety requirements, as they might damage profits. If you have no vested interest, then don’t bother to oppose.

If other countries follow Canada’s example, the convention becomes worthless.

Canada does not even intend to support the listing of chrysotile asbestos. Instead, it will maintain a cowardly, ambiguous silence.

This week, Russia, the world’s biggest asbestos exporter, will take over Canada’s role of sabotaging the convention. Of the 1 million tons of asbestos exported in 2011, Russia exported 750,000. Russia, therefore, has a big financial interest in the continued uncontrolled export of asbestos and continued coverup of its hazards.

Russia will be attending for the first time as a party to the convention. It has indicated that it intends to use its new status to prevent chrysotile asbestos from being put on the hazardous substance list. In Russia, with a population of 141 million people, there is not a single scientist or a single scientific organization that opposes the government’s pro-asbestos policy. Or, at any rate, there is not a single scientist or scientific body that dares to do so publicly.

Zimbabwe also will be attending as a party for the first time and also plans to oppose the listing. Zimbabwe wants to reopen its asbestos mines and resume asbestos exports. Safety measures are not on its wish list.

Canada’s heartless asbestos legacy lives on, inherited by Russia and Zimbabwe. Many will die painful, unnecessary deaths as a result. We have a lot to answer for.

Kathleen Ruff is co-coordinator of ROCA (Rotterdam Convention Alliance) and will be attending the Geneva conference.

Continue at source:

Russia, Zimbabwe pick up the asbestos baton from Canada

Dangers of Asbestos Exposure

Dangers of Asbestos Exposure

Dangers of Asbestos Exposure – Asbestos is used in reference to a group of minerals that are naturally occurring and utilized in products like building materials and motor vehicle brakes, as a heat and corrosion resistant. Asbestos includes amosite, chrysotile, tremolite asbestos, crocidolite, actinolite asbestos and anthophyllite asbestos.

asbestos exposure

Dangers of Asbestos Exposure

Inhaling asbestos fibers can result in serious diseases that could affect the lungs and other vital organs. The effects of asbestos exposure might not be evident until years after it has taken place. For example, asbestosis could result in an accumulation of a scar-like tissue on the lungs and cause loss of lung function, which frequently advances to disability and death. The asbestos fibers linked to these health risks cannot be seen with the naked eye because of their small size.

Individuals At Risk of Exposure

Employees in the auto repair and manufacturing industries may be at risk of asbestos exposure when carrying out clutch and brake repairs or during the manufacturing process of asbestos-containing products. Within the construction industry, asbestos exposure occurs when asbestos-containing materials are disturbed by workers during the demolition or renovation of buildings. In addition, employees within the maritime environment might be exposed to asbestos when demolishing or renovating ships that were constructed with the use of asbestos-containing materials. In addition, custodial workers might be subjected to asbestos exposure through contact with crumbling asbestos-containing materials. Individuals who smoke have an increased risk of developing certain asbestos-related diseases.

asbestos exposure
Dangers of Asbestos Exposure

Commercial and Residential Buildings

Given that it is a valuable fire-proofing, insulating and reinforcing material, asbestos was widely used in construction materials such as:

• Asbestos cement
• Insulation boards
• Drywall joint cement
• Ceiling and floor tiles

Under normal use, these products will not release a considerable amount of fibers. However, fibers can be released if the products are cut or damaged.

Typically, the levels of airborne asbestos fibers in buildings are approximately the same as the airborne asbestos fibers that are outside and they do not pose a considerable risk. However, levels might be higher if asbestos materials are disturbed or if they are easily broken up.

asbestos exposure
Dangers of Asbestos Exposure

In addition, there is concern in regards to vermiculite insulation, which might contain small quantities of actinolite, tremolite or amphibole asbestos. If disturbed, the amphibole fibers might cause health risks. However, no current evidence of health risk is there if the insulation is:

• Isolated in the attic
• Sealed behind wall boards and floorboards
• Otherwise kept from being exposed to the interior or home environment

Removal Guidelines

It is very important to bear in mind that it is not always possible to tell whether a material contains asbestos by just looking. In case there is any doubt that asbestos exposure is possible, the material should be analyzed by a competent professional.

In the event that handling small quantities of damaged, asbestos-containing materials is unavoidable, the following steps will assist in keeping asbestos exposure to a bare minimum:

• Ensure that other individuals and household pets are in no danger of asbestos exposure.
• Make sure that the work area is sealed off to prevent asbestos exposure to other parts of the building.
• Wear the correct protective clothing and this must include a half-mask respirator that has a HEPA or High Efficiency Particulate Arrester filter cartridge, which is approved by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. The filters are categorized as P-100, R-100 or N-100 particulate filters. Using a regular dust mask will not adequately safeguard against asbestos exposure.
• To reduce dust, ensure that the material is wet. It is also important to make sure that the material does not get into contact with electrical energy.
• Whenever possible, avoid cutting or further damaging the materials and avoid breaking them up.
• Use a damp cloth, and not a vacuum cleaner, to clean the work area when the work is done.
• Use a plastic bag to seal the cloth and the asbestos waste. Consult with the local authorities on how to correctly dispose of asbestos-containing waste. Of course, this should be done before the process starts.
• Avoid shaking out clothing as this will spread the dust and put yourself and others in danger of asbestos exposure.
• After the job is finished, throw away or wash the protective clothing thoroughly and take a shower.

Dangers of Asbestos Exposure | Dangers of Asbestos Exposure | Dangers of Asbestos Exposure | Dangers of Asbestos Exposure

Dangers of Asbestos Exposure

Dangers of Asbestos Exposure

Asbestos Definition

Asbestos Definition

Asbestos Definition | Asbestos Definition | Asbestos Definition
as·bes·tos   [as-bes-tuhs; as-ˈbes-təs az-] noun
1. Mineralogy. A fibrous mineral, either amphibole or chrysotile, formerly used for making incombustible or fireproof articles.
2. Any of several minerals (as chrysotile) that readily separate into long flexible fibers, that cause asbestosis and have been implicated as causes of certain cancers, and that have been used especially formerly as fireproof insulating materials
3. A fabric woven from asbestos fibers, formerly used for theater curtains, firefighters’ gloves, etc.
4. Theater. A fireproof curtain.

Asbestos Definition | Asbestos Definition | Asbestos Definition

As defined for regulatory purposes, asbestos is a set of six naturally occurring silicate minerals used commercially for their desirable physical properties. These minerals readily separate into long, flexible fibers. The most popular form of asbestos is Chrysotile, known as “white asbestos”, which is a soft, fibrous silicate mineral that accounts for about 95 percent of all asbestos in commercial use, and is still utilized today. Chrysotile is falls in the serpentine group of phyllosilicates minerals and can look like flurry cotton. Other less common types of asbestos belong to the amphibole group, meaning they have long straight fibers. These include the fibrous forms of amosite (“brown asbestos”), crocidolite (“blue asbestos”), anthophyllite, tremolite, and actinolite.

asbestos definition

Asbestos Definition | Asbestos Definition | Asbestos Definition

Due to its affordability and various properties such as tensile strength, resistance to fire, heat, electrical and chemical damage, and soundproofing ability, asbestos became commercially utilized at an amazing pace in the late 19th century. Asbestos fiber was used in brake linings, insulation of all kinds, drywall, joint compound, cement pipes, floor and ceiling tiles, mastics (glues), caulking, roofing materials and various other building materials. Asbestos fabrics were used for safety apparel, wiring, fire hoses, flexible connectors for HVAC equipment and theater curtains.

Asbestos Definition | Asbestos Definition | Asbestos Definition

Asbestos mining began more than 4,000 years ago, and has a very interesting history, which is discussed here. “Asbestos” is Greek for “inextinguishable” and was commonly referred to as “the miracle mineral”. With the onset of industrialization in the late 1800’s, large scale mining of asbestos began in Canada, South Africa and the United States. For a long time, the world’s largest asbestos mine was the Jeffrey mine in the town of Asbestos, Quebec.

asbestos

Asbestos Definition | Asbestos Definition | Asbestos Definition

The advent of the steam engine launched the industrial revolution and the modern asbestos industry. Asbestos was critical in the development of effective gasketing and heat-shielding materials. Henry Ward Johns formulated an asbestos-containing mixture that solved the problems of the steam engine and was used for insulating pipes. After his death, John’s estate was merged with the Manville Covering Company, creating the Johns-Manville Company, one of the largest producers of asbestos products. The J.P. Morgan financial group bought the John-Manville company and sales of asbestos soared by more than 1400% over the next 13 years.

asbestos definition

Asbestos Definition | Asbestos Definition | Asbestos Definition

During World War II, the shipbuilding industry was one of the largest users of asbestos. From the 1950s to 1970’s era, asbestos became the number one construction material at one time, used more than wood, glass or metal. It is estimated that one-half of all multi-story buildings in the United States, built from 1950 to 1970, have (or had) some form of asbestos.

In the 1970s it was found that prolonged inhalation of the tiny asbestos fibres can cause asbestosis, lung cancer, and/or mesothelioma, all serious lung diseases. The incidence of mesothelioma is most commonly associated with extensive inhalation of amphibole asbestos. In 1989, the U.S. government instituted a gradual ban on the manufacture, use, and export of most products made with asbestos.

asbestos definition

Asbestos Definition | Asbestos Definition | Asbestos Definition

The first documented death related to asbestos was in 1906. In the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, researchers began to notice a large number of early deaths and lung problems in asbestos mining towns. The first diagnosis of asbestosis was made in 1924 and by the 1930s, the UK regulated ventilation and made asbestosis an excusable work-related disease. The United States followed suit approximately ten years later. The term mesothelioma was first used in medical literature in 1931 and its association with asbestos was first noted sometime in the 1940s.

The United States government and asbestos industry have been criticized for not acting quickly enough to inform the public of dangers, and to reduce public exposure. In the late 1970s, court documents proved that asbestos industry officials knew of asbestos dangers since the 1930s and had concealed them from the public. Asbestos is still used today in various products.

asbestos definition

Asbestos Definition

Asbestos Definition

About Friable Asbestos

Friable Asbestos

Friable Asbestos

Asbestos

Asbestos is in the news everyday and this website will strive to present the most up-to-date news regarding the asbestos industry, whether it be litigation, new regulations or interpretations, removal technologies or health information. This website will be evolving, with new content being added often. As such, be sure to bookmark our site is visit back often. If you have content that you would like to submit for consideration of inclusion on this website, be sure to reach out to us through our contact form. Additionally, we’d appreciate any feedback that you would like to provide pertaining to this website. We are always striving to improve the site, while keeping it up-to-date and fresh.

Asbestos is a natural occurring mineral that has been utilized by man throughout history and actually became the number one construction material at one time, used more than wood, glass or metal. Asbestos, once referred to as the “miracle mineral” was used in clay pots more than 4,000 years ago. The Chinese used asbestos in gun powder. Caesar was buried in an asbestos cloth. Benjamin Franklin sold an asbestos purse to his British benefactor. These are just some of the interesting facts you’ll read about here at FriableAsbestos.com.

friable asbestos

Asbestos continues to be mined today and is still used in many products available for purchase in your local box store, although many people are not aware of that. You may be aware that exposure to asbestos can cause a variety of diseases, both malignant and benign. Malignant diseases are those that involve neoplasms, or cancer growths, that can metastasize, or spread to other organs or body systems. Benign diseases are those that are not cancerous. “Benign” in this sense certainly does not mean harmless, as these conditions can be life-threatening themselves. Mesotheleoma and Asbestosis are the more well known asbestos-related diseases.

The first diagnosis of mesothelioma that was conclusively linked to asbestos exposure was made in 1964, and the number of mesothelioma cases is expected to peak worldwide around 2020. More than 50 percent of patients can expect to be involved with emerging clinical trials. As of 2011, there have been over 175 clinical trials conducted related to mesothelioma. Unfortunately, other asbestiform minerals such as erionite have also been linked to mesothelioma, although many of these materials are not regulated. In the Turkish village of Tuzkoy, over half of the villagers have died of respiratory malfunctions, including mesothelioma. As you will see, this website provides an abundance of information on mesothelioma and other asbestos related diseases.

friable asbestos

Asbestos can be found in many buildings today, although as discussed herein, if it is not disturbed and is managed appropriately, exposure is unlikely. When asbestos containing materials are disturbed, the disturbance typically cause a fiber release episode, which is the release of tiny microscopic asbestos fibers, which become airborne and are easily inhaled. This website provides an abundance of information on how to mange asbestos containing materials in place, to prevent disturbance and potential exposure issues. Here you will also find detailed information on removal methods and technologies, estimated removal costs and various recommendations pertaining to asbestos situations and issues. This website also provides links to other important websites pertaining to asbestos, to insure that you have all the facts.

As you are likely aware, asbestos has been regulated for many years. As a result, there are a number of regulations that have been developed over time on a local, state and federal level. Some of these regulations overlap and is some cases they may even contradict each other. A significant amount of work has been put into creating an up-to-date regulations directory, which can be found here. This has become a popular bookmark for many industry professionals and you can see why. At FriableAsbestos.com, we also provide discussions regarding regulation interpretations and real life situations.

friable asbestos

While I’ve been in the asbestos consulting business for over twenty years, I still learn something new about asbestos every day. My point is, there is a real lot of information about asbestos out there, although you sometimes need to look long and hard to find it. FriableAsbestos.com has been created to ease this dilemma and we hope you agree that we have. Thanks for visiting and come back again soon!

Friable Asbestos

Asbestos
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