Saturday, August 14, 2010

WTC advertising

You can't blame people for not knowing the future. But as Copyranter points out, you can blame them for spreading their carcinogens around: The Joys of Asbestos.


Substance McGravitas said...

You can blame Canadians in large measure for asbestos proliferation. The federal government supports asbestos to keep Quebec (or some portion of the Quebec elite) happy.

N__B said...


Willy said...

Just googlize 'asbestos ads' and look at the images.

Kent cigarettes had crocidolite filters. Most of the old spray-on fireproofing was amosite (named for the kinda acronym of their source, Asbestos Mines Of South Africa.)

The above minerals are part of a subgroup of asbestos minerals called amphibole. The other subgroup is serpentine, consisting of chrysotile, which is a more flexible form of asbestos (and ends up woven into heat-resistant gloves and suits.) Serps make up something like 90% of all the asbestos in building materials.

Crocidolite was fairly rare in my experience, finding it only once in 15 years of inspecting. It was in the boiler insulation of a John Deere HQ (incidentally, it was designed by Mies Van der Rohe.) The blue 'stos was damn pretty, a light blue like the ionized blue of Cerenkov radiation. Amosite was used as snow for 20s-30s movies. It fell like real snow but didn't melt. The dust was just swept/blow around.

Like Subby's link shows, there's a whole spin industry trying to keep the serpentine mines open. There are claims that serps are a lesser health hazard (lesser how? Like shot with a .22 instead of a .45?) than the amphiboles.

Sorry for the long post but you're actually venturing into an area I know too damn much about.

TruculentandUnreliable said...

Good lord. I thought the use of asbestos had been phased out/banned by the late 70s. Guess I was wrong.

N__B said...

Willy -

I'm a big fan of professionalism in any field. Let me know if I say anything particularly stupid.

Willy said...

Just one more thing you've probably seen but failed to notice:

All those commercials for legal services for people affected by mesothelioma. Seems to me there's a been a big increase in recent years in those ads on my tee vee. Why so?

Well, the big asbestos abatement years were the 1980s and 1990s. Lots of workers removing stos. A nonzero number of them thought respiratory protection was for pussies. Some times I'd go into containment and find a group of men shoveling stos into bags, their respirators off and sitting in the corner. (In Chicago, the Polish immigrants were notorious for this.)

Asbestos exposure isn't like cyanide, it doesn't kill immediately. Latency period is 20-30 years. So all those cases of exposure will now be maturing into cases of asbestos-related illness. COPD is something you can blame on things other than asbestos, but Meso is strictly an asbestos-triggered illness. For someone with Meso all they have to do is have some form of documented exposure and it's ka-ching for the lawyers...with 50% going to the patient.

Get the picture now? A whole crop of potential personal injury lawsuits with an indisputable origin now coming on line.

N__B said...

I saw the he-men with plastic bags and no masks. Given that my insurance company doesn't allow me to even discuss asbestos, there wasn't a lot I could do officially. Once in a while I'd suggest, one-on-one, that the safety rules exist for a reason.

Willy said...

Irony: Working at the American College of Surgeons, the contractor is removing spray-applied fireproofing from the exterior walls and members. The place was heated by induction units on those exterior walls, about 2 inches away from the highly friable fireproofing. They sucked loose fibers from the walls and entrained them in the air.

I had a helluva time clearing those containments after abatement because the non-abated areas were kicking up so many fibers that the make-up air in containment raised the final counts.

That was 22 years ago. I wonder how many of the folks there ended up with Meso or lung cancer.