Category: Asbestos

Descriptions of asbestos

How to Choose the Right Asbestos Mask For a Job

We are all familiar with the term “When working on old buildings, get an asbestos mask and earmuffs.” We have undoubtedly heard this said many times over, but how much do we really know about them? Do we know when they should be used? If you are working in an old building, then you MUST do a proper risk assessment of the possibility of asbestos being present because only then can you choose which type of protective equipment is necessary for health and to prevent exposure to asbestos fibers.

Breathing in asbestos fibers can cause mesothelioma, a type of lung cancer caused by asbestos. But it’s not only important to protect the lungs – asbestos dust can also affect the eyes. In some countries, only licensed workers can work with asbestos and home owners or unlicensed workers should not attempt to remove or do work on anything that could contain asbestos.

Full face dust masks are the best bet when working with asbestos. The filters protect both the lungs and the eyes. These filters are of the type FFP3, which protects against particles and dust. Paper dust masks do not filter out asbestos dust and fibers and should not be used. Eye protection is needed in case of falling debris or particles released into the air from work, including on low level items, such as floor tiles.

An asbestos mask, or “dust mask”, is usually made from thick plastic or vinyl. There are many different kinds of respirators available, but for general protection, the most common ones are powered air purifying respirators. These are the ones that you will find being used by asbestos workers everywhere. A “fit” test should be carried out on any respirator bought, to ensure it fits correctly. Facial hair may make it difficult to obtain a good seal. Make sure you get training on how to fit any respirator. If you have never used one before, you may need to talk to your medical adviser about whether you can use a respirator as they make the lungs work harder. Physical work on top of this may mean some people cannot use respirators.

An asbestos mask can be of two types. Firstly, a “full faced” or full-faced respirator which provides protection from both airborne particles and vapors. The second type is called a “half faced” or “mouth-blown” respirator. It only provides protection from airborne particles and does not cover the eyes.

It is very important that people who work with asbestos materials must wear protective clothing and masks at all times when asbestos is present. This includes people who perform asbestos-related jobs like cutting, drilling, or building sheet rock. The correct masks and protective clothing need to be worn at these jobs, as the fibers from the damaged or friable asbestos can get into the skin and can lead to serious health problems as well as into the lungs and eyes. All of these dangers must be avoided, so one needs to choose the right asbestos mask for the job.

In addition, workers with asbestos need to wear a full disposable body covering, including with feet. This clothing is removed once work is over and disposed of at the work site, along with other asbestos containing material.

Transite


Image by/from Mewtu

Transite originated as a brand that Johns Manville, an American company, created in 1929 for a line of asbestos-cement products, including boards and pipes. In time it became a generic term for other companies’ similar asbestos-cement products, and later an even more generic term for a hard, fireproof composite material, fibre cement boards, typically used in wall construction. It can also be found in insulation, siding, roof gutters, and cement wallboard. The more prevalent transite found in wall construction and roofing tiles for example, will last anywhere from 50 years to over 100 years.

The use of asbestos, a proven carcinogen, to manufacture transite was phased out in the 1980s. It was replaced by crystalline silica, which the International Agency for Research on Cancer has classified as being carcinogenic to humans (Class 1). Crystalline silica is also known to cause silicosis, a non-cancerous lung disease.

Originally, transite had between 12-50% of asbestos fiber added to a cement base to provide tensile strength (similar to the rebar in reinforced concrete), and other materials. It was frequently used for such purposes as furnace flues, roof shingles, siding, soffit and fascia panels, and wallboard for areas where fire retardancy is particularly important. It was also used in walk-in coolers made in large supermarkets in the 1960s, 1970s and even the 1980s. Other uses included roof drain piping, water piping, sanitary sewer drain piping, laboratory fume hood panels, ceiling tiles, landscape edging, and HVAC ducts. Because cutting, breaking, and machining asbestos-containing transite releases carcinogenic asbestos fibers into the air, its use has fallen out of favor. Despite asbestos-containing transite being phased out, it is still not banned in the United States; some 230,000 deaths have been attributed to it. Demolition of older buildings containing transite materials, particularly siding made from transite, requires special precautions and disposal techniques to protect workers and the public.

The transite that is produced today is made without asbestos. Transite HT and Transite 1000 are currently available fiber cement boards that contain crystalline silica, which the International Agency for Research on Cancer has classified as being carcinogenic to humans (Class 1). Crystalline silica is also known to cause silicosis, a non-cancerous lung disease.

Curated with thanks from Wikipedia

Tremolite


Image by/from Didier Descouens

Tremolite is a member of the amphibole group of silicate minerals with composition: Ca2(Mg5.0-4.5Fe2+0.0-0.5)Si8O22(OH)2. Tremolite forms by metamorphism of sediments rich in dolomite and quartz. Tremolite forms a series with actinolite and ferro-actinolite. Pure magnesium tremolite is creamy white, but the color grades to dark green with increasing iron content. It has a hardness on Mohs scale of 5 to 6. Nephrite, one of the two minerals of the gemstone jade, is a green variety of tremolite.

The fibrous form of tremolite is one of the six recognised types of asbestos. This material is toxic, and inhaling the fibers can lead to asbestosis, lung cancer and both pleural and peritoneal mesothelioma. Fibrous tremolite is sometimes found as a contaminant in vermiculite, chrysotile (itself a type of asbestos) and talc.

Tremolite is an indicator of metamorphic grade since at high temperatures it converts to diopside.

Tremolite occurs as a result of contact metamorphism of calcium and magnesium rich siliceous sedimentary rocks and in greenschist facies metamorphic rocks derived from ultramafic or magnesium carbonate bearing rocks. Associated minerals include calcite, dolomite, grossular, wollastonite, talc, diopside, forsterite, cummingtonite, riebeckite and winchite.

Tremolite was first described in 1789 for an occurrence in Campolungo, Piumogna Valley, Leventina, Ticino (Tessin), Switzerland.

One of the six recognized types of asbestos. Approximately 40,200 tons of tremolite asbestos is mined annually in India. It is otherwise found as a contaminant.

Curated with thanks from Wikipedia

Why the Deadly Asbestos Industry is Still Alive and Well

Deadly Asbestos

This video covers Russia and the USA and shows that the dangers of asbestos are not being taken seriously, or if they are, still very little is being done about them at a top level.

Why might this be? Well, one of the major sayings when it is difficult to find an answer to something happening that seems nonsensical is to “Follow The Money”. That means that you should look at the situation to see whether someone could  be making money from things staying as they are. (It follows on from the French saying, “Cherchez la femme”, which means to look for the woman behind what a man is doing!) You may also know the saying as “Money Talks”, that is, if money is available for doing or not doing something, it is likely that it will or will not be done, no matter how serious or nonsensical the situation.

Where might the money be in relation to asbestos?

  1. There is nothing as good and cheap as asbestos when it comes to fireproofing and insulating. Manufacturers still want to use it. If they cannot use it in developed countries, they will use in less developed countries.
  2. The countries or companies that own the deposits of asbestos want to make money from them.
  3. There are large deposits of asbestos available and the mines that extract it provide jobs and incomes in some remote areas, where no other jobs are available.

The Real Story of Asbestos

How Did We Find Out About Asbestos

How long have we known it’s dangerous to health?

This short video provides the answers.

Why Are Popcorn Ceilings So Terrible

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Popcorn Ceilings May Contain Asbestos

Many older houses have what are known as popcorn ceilings. If you are thinking of buying one of these older houses, then find out about these types of spray on ceiling covers before making an offer, so you know whether you are willing to live with it or able to afford the cost of removing it.

What Is A Popcorn Ceiling

A popcorn ceiling is the name given to ceilings that have been treated with a spray-on textured paint. They are also known as acoustic ceilings, because they have sound-proofing qualities. Many people do not like them, firstly because they are old fashioned and not what they consider to be in tune with modern decor and secondly because they may contain asbestos.

Does It Contain Asbestos?

Volunteers Exposed To Asbestos Dust

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This case dates back to the year 2009 in Michigan, USA when a group of volunteers and untrained employees were tasked by Detroit International Bridge Co, with cleaning up an old building at Michigan Central Station. The company was subsequently fined by the OSHA for exposing these people to asbestos dust and other toxic materials.

Damages Award £250,000 for Secondary Exposure To Asbestos

The family of a woman who died of mesothelioma has been awarded over $320,000 compensation against the firm who employed her husband in their boiler making factory.

She was exposed to the dust on her husband’s overalls when she shook them out prior to washing  them every evening. This is termed secondary exposure and this case is the first in Scotland, UK to have been awarded such damages. The firm was called Babcock & Wilcox, now Babcock International. You can read the full story here. There is another article about fines for contravening asbestos regulations here.

So Useful So Dangerous

Asbestos is an extremely useful material, unfortunately, it is also extremely dangerous. As a non flammable insulator, it was used in fire curtains, home insulation, as ironing stands, for automobile brakes, in ceiling decoration, house sidings and so many more places. It was also used in cigarette filters! Both government and private industry promoted the use of asbestos, even though they may already have known at the time that it was dangerous and caused cancer. Below is one of the promotional films made many years ago before the dangers of asbestos were publicly known.

Sources Of Asbestos in Homes

Where To Find Asbestos In The Home

It’s often surprising just where exactly asbestos can be found in older homes and what needs to be done to ensure a safe asbestos clean up. The best route is to bring in the experts. Qualified asbestos removal firms will have trained staff, who will know where exactly to look for possible uses, such as sidings, floor tiles,  asbestos duct or ductwork insulation and boiler areas for instance. They will also be trained to use the correct methods, such as taping off areas with asbestos danger tape, using asbestos cleaning cloths and disposal bags or they may possibly recommend asbestos encapsulation methods for areas where the material does not need removal and is not friable but where work is needed to ensure any asbestos cannot be accidentally released.

The Health and Safety Executive in the UK has produced an image that shows some (not all) of the possible places to find asbestos in the home. The numbering guide can be found on their page. The picture is linked to the page it comes from.

www.asbestosremovalz.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There is an old film available that shows many of the areas where asbestos can be found in an older house. Warning: the video is actually called “how to  safely remove asbestos” but what it really does is show you where asbestos is located. If you are interested in watching to see how many ways asbestos was used in older houses, then check out the asbestos documentary below.

 

This page contains public sector information published by the Health and Safety Executive and licensed under the Open Government Licence