Friday, February 3, 2012

Asbestos pussy



Watching a report last night about Canada wanting to open up an asbestos mine to start exporting the stuff to India. I got an eyeful about how the people of India handle the stuff (include me out as Yogi would say). Showed workers hand scooping the fluffy stuff into piles with nothing more that a bandana over their face. A couple of Canadian PMs touting how it can be done safely and all the money that can be made by exporting to third world countries.
Okay a reality check here. I've worked removing the stuff for over 20 years. Unlike our foreign workers there I was given extensive training to protect myself and even though I've worked with some less than honorable outfits managed to protect myself because I put my own safety first and made sure that at least minimum standards were used to protect others. I also know that banning asbestos is out of the question because there are certain processes where there is no substitute. We could not produce paper or gasoline without the benefit of chemical resistant asbestos. There's simply no other material on the planet that will withstand the abuse. Now I find that our use of the material has increased here in the U.S. (see below)

According to the 2012 United State Geological Survey of mineral commodities, U.S. industries consumed 1,100 metric tons of asbestos from January through July 2011, compared to 820 metric tons during the same period in 2010. The difference represents a 34 percent increase in consumption, Reinstein said.

The U.S. Geological Survey report estimated that roofing felt materials account for about 60 percent of U.S. consumption of asbestos. The chlorine manufacturing industry, which utilizes asbestos diaphragms in the manufacturing of industrial chemicals, accounted for about 30 percent of asbestos consumption, the report said. The United States still has asbestos diaphragm cell plants.


I find that report kind of odd considering our housing market, the biggest consumer of roofing felt, has been nearly flat for the last three years. So I can only assume that we've been making products and shipping them elsewhere. Many products are still permitted to contain asbestos but I'd bet that they aren't produced due to the liability. We still use the stuff in car brake linings and small amounts in flooring tiles (that's why it has a 15 year guarantee). And one last thought, I'd bet anything that U.S. companies are just itching to get into Canada to get at their asbestos because they probably haven't changed their laws on mining the stuff since much of it was closed down years ago. Mesothelioma is not a pretty way to die killing you slowly over a period of about 12 to 18 months. How does it kill you? Simple, the fibers get into your lungs and get stuck. Your body tries to fight off the foreign material and in the process creates scare tissue. The hard tissue makes your lungs rigid so you slowly suffocate causing heart failure. In all the years I worked with the stuff I've only known of one worker who had asbestosis but then he wasn't the brightest bulb in the bunch.

9 comments:

The Blog Fodder said...

Hate to guess the amount used in FSU. Common for roofing and fencing material - 1mx2m panels, flat or rippled. Cheap and durable. My understanding is that as insulation it is fine if left alone but deadly when it is removed as dust is generated. Is that right?

Anonymous said...

Pretty ugly way to die; as I'm finding out

BBC said...

India has too many people in it anyway, think of it as population control.

Ceiling cat is watching you masturbate.

BBC said...

Many old homes had asbestos panels behind the wood stove. And under them, I still have some of that stuff. :-)

Demeur said...

It's perfectly okay as long as you leave it alone kind of like a woman. :-)

Funny you should mention that Billy. One of the easiest jobs I ever did was to go to a house that they were going to demo. When I got there I suited up. Threw on a half face respirator then picked up some panels around a wood stove and double bagged them. Got 4 hrs pay for just going out there and doing that. Took about longer to drive there.

Randal Graves said...

Oh please, what do you know, you're not a Certified Expert. Practical experience is useless.

Demeur said...

Actually I am a certified expert Randal now get back to your books you might learn something.

Bustednuckles said...

Actually, the use of asbestos in brake lining has been outlawed for over fifteen years now.

I have seen some weird shit that they have tried to replace it with too.
Ceramic brake pads and ceramic sintered brake shoes that flat out kill rotors and and brake drums.
I ran into a Dodge pickup that I had put ceramic brake pads on that would not stop holding on to the steering wheel with both hands and stomping the pedal down with both feet.

When I took it apart, the rotors looked like mirrors.
I could see my reflection on them.

One Ford Taurus with sintered ceramic brake shoes ate through a set of brake drums to the point of failure and still had 90% left on the shoes.

The fact that companies are still using asbestos with no PPE is criminal.
There are class action lawsuits still pending in this country about mesothelioma and people who were exposed to asbestos thirty, forty and fifty years ago and corporations ignored it when it was shown to cause lung disease.

It was rumored that Steve McQeen died of AIDS when it was later found he used to be a brake specialist.
Not a pretty way to go, just like coal miners.

Tami said...

Actually I am a certified expert Randal now get back to your books you might learn something.