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Re: GSBN:Re: GSBN:Re: GSBN:GSBN re Ecohouse
I feel the need to take issue with at least some of what you have said about asbestos. There is an extraordinary amount of evidence about the real and severe human health risks associated with asbestos. There is, as with many other types of environmental risk and health concerns, a correlation between amount of exposure and the harm done, however research shows that asbestos fibers embed in lung tissue and remain there for life, so the damage they cause is both real and cumulative. Tens of thousands of people who mined, processed and worked with asbestos have died and tens of thousands of others have had their quality of life incredibly diminished by the damage done by asbestos fibers.
And, although asbestos used in cementitious products (a US tradename was Transite) to make pipe, boards, siding, shingles, etc. does bind the asbestos into a relatively non-friable (not fragile, easily crumbled, or reduced to powder) form and thus reduces the likelihood that asbestos fibers will become airborne or free to be inhaled or ingested, that isn't the whole story. In its manufacture, installation, and in use, particularly over time as the material breaks or is worn down by weather or mechanical wear, there is the potential for the fibers to be released.
It is more than "media noise" or politics that created the problems related to asbestos. And the situation here in the US is actually fairly complex, in that the US Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) banned asbestos in the late 1980s and then the federal courts here overturned the ban based on a mis-interpretation of the law and requirements for assessing the risks involved with alternatives to asbestos. Essentially in 1991 the US Court of Appeals ruled that EPA had to study and submit their analysis of all the likely alternatives to asbestos for industrial uses, assess their comparative potential risks and project the impact on industry and the economic impact for all the alternatives before they could issue a ban on any environmentally hazardous substance. This is an impossible technical burden that was not actually required by the environmental protection act that created EPA. EPA asked multiple times for the US Justice Department to appeal the decision to the US Supreme Court but they refused, in large part because of the strength of the related industry lobbies (automotive industry- asbestos for brake linings, flooring, insulation, roofing, fireproofing, paint, and many other industries). Thus, since 1991 EPA has not banned a single toxic, carcinogenic, or other hazardous chemical or material. Finding the truth about the environmental dangers of such products or materials is, in fact, subject to political and economic pressures and it is getting harder and harder to know what is true or not. I find that I have much less faith that industry will provide honest and accurate information about the safety or risks of their products than government sources and I don't automatically trust either.
I just wanted to offer that asbestos is not a benign substance and there is massive scientific and health research showing that - which has led much of the developed world to ban its use.
Sent: Sat, 20 Jan 2007 12:49 AM
Subject: GSBN:Re: GSBN:Re: GSBN:GSBN re Ecohouse
Some remarks from professional ecologist about asbestos.
If you use asbestos plate (asbestos is fixed by cement) - no problem (in fomer
USSR last 60 years and till now 90% of roofs is covered by "shifer" (asbestos
"plate") - no one case of health problem, associated with asbestos (instead of
problem with steropor, PVC, fenol, formaldegid, etc.).
But if you use FREE asbestos for noise reduction in ventilation system with pump
(like UNESCO office in Paris) - it will be problem with asbestos dust in office.
90% of world asbestos mining was in Russia, and during last time of "cold war"
West use the Unesco office case for stop export asbestos from USSR by world wide
mass media company (but it was more politic, then ecologict reason). West win
this game, but use asbestos(mainly, from USA and Canada)in construction
materials till now, but without "media noise" (asbestos is natural cheap
material with unic propeties). Few years ago National Cort of USA (I don't know
the real name this body in English, sorry) officially allow to use asbestos in
construction materials (without massmedia company).
I'm not a fun of asbestos, I prefer use clay or lime stucco, but truth is truth.
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