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Mark Biro
Mark Biro Member Posts: 46
Thanks, Brad, for the historic note.

Funny, your 1968 (beginning of the end) was when I showed up at the University of Minnesota, very wet behind the ears. During the summer, as a student worker, I went sent into the heating tunnels to help insulate pipes. We used, of course, lots of formed pieces, but also buckets of loose asbestos -- did we wet it with water, or binder...? I can't remember.

So much dust we put bandanas over our noses and mouths -- outlaw style. And the height of safety. ;-)


  • Derrick Ellefson
    Derrick Ellefson Member Posts: 64

    How common was asbestos in the mid to late 50's. Was it used on boiler jackets (i.e. Kewanee fire tube). The burnber box was rebuilt a few years ago but is was wondering about the boiler jacket or pipe insulation.A firm is going to be testing it late this week. Thanks for any input
  • Derrick Ellefson
    Derrick Ellefson Member Posts: 64

    How common was asbestos in the mid to late 50's. Was it used on boiler jackets (i.e. Kewanee fire tube). The burnber box was rebuilt a few years ago but is was wondering about the boiler jacket or pipe insulation.A firm is going to be testing it late this week. Thanks for any input
  • Brad White
    Brad White Member Posts: 2,393
    Cough, cough... uh, what did you say?

    Asbestos was a very common insulative material up until 1972 when the ban was finalized. You are right in a prime period of asbestos use. Post war there was a surplus (primarily used for ship boiler lagging) which found a home in the housing market.

    One of the odd tradgedies of the asbestos ban was that it was first passed into law in 1968. The firms had massive stocks of the stuff and had four years to deplete the inventory. Thus, buildings built between 1968 and 1972 (you know the kind, concrete and ugly brick :) are LOADED with it .

    These buildings used the stuff in many common materials that had it anyway and in many that never had it in the first place. Floor tile, ceiling tile, drywall compound, drywall itself as a binder, concrete, not to mention spray fire proofing, plasters and floor finishes... yeesh.
    "If you do not know the answer, say, "I do not know the answer", and you will be correct!"

    -Ernie White, my Dad
  • Yeesh is right...

    Ought to dig a large hole equal to the cubic foot print of the building and push it into the hole and cover it up...

    You can't burn it down:-)

  • brucewo1b
    brucewo1b Member Posts: 638
    But Mark

    doesn't it have to be placed in plastic first??
  • Timco
    Timco Member Posts: 3,040

    We just found out our house was the first 'fireproof' house built in salt lake city in 1910, with steel lathe in all interior walls and cinderblock in the ext &basement walls....and asbestos layed under all exposed hardwood floors...which is the entire house! I am pretty sure it is non-friable. just do not tell our insurance company. Our historic marker reads "protected" hardwood floors."

    Just a guy running some pipes.
  • Timco
    Timco Member Posts: 3,040

    I also learned from my abatement company that you will always own abated asbestos. Have the seller do it if you are buying. should the hazerdous landfill lose it's licence, I was told you will get a call telling you to come get your asbestos...

    Just a guy running some pipes.
  • Christian Egli_2
    Christian Egli_2 Member Posts: 812
    Smarter people wore powdered wigs at one time

    We're funny us humans, we eat all sorts of junk, we feed on all sorts of food supplements, many of which even are minerals, yes, powdered rocks we suck on and swallow for all kinds of mysterious benefits. We equally breathe mounds of dust - just think of what dogs and groundhogs must inhale in sand-like dust.

    Amazingly, most things we meet aren't actually terribly lethal. Even considering a poison, there is always a critical mass to respect only beyond which things get dangerous. Water is promoted as the safe beverage and yet there is the radio DJ case where someone drank so much of the stuff that an overdose caused water poisoning and death.

    Doing stupid things in smart proportions cancels out the harm.

    Doing smart things in stupid proportions makes you a genius.

    No doubt, breathing in heavy doses of asbestos (or any other dust and dirt for that matter) is very bad for one's health. The asbestos cigarette filter was probably a poor concept, meanwhile, lawyers have turned the idea of asbestos into something particularly heinous... and particularly profitable to the class action lawsuit industry. Asbestos in the construction industry is a huge, huge market with deep pockets to plunder. You can paint the target.

    Picture this though, asbestos, evil, fangs, horns and pointed hoofs; talcum powder, angelic, baby faced, soft and tender. Though asbestos and talcum are not identical they are consanguine twins, how on earth did we ever get to treat them both so discriminatorily? We can't believe that snorting talcum should be healthy.

    There are after all, the crypto communists railing at the aristocrats of the past who where in the habit of having themselves covered in white powder - this was bad because it subjected the lower servant classes to large doses of occupational hazards well above authorized threshold levels. Exploitation of the masses. Had only the EPA existed at the time of powdered wigs.

    Meanwhile, the EPA came out with its definitive asbestos ban in 1989, and... pulled it back in 1991. The whole thing did not last long, finding no innate evil nature to asbestos. It was just long enough to kill a whole industry and a lot of our freedom of enterprise. Live and learn you say? Remember the more recent silicon breast implants that had nothing to do with nothing? You can get the surgery done again, but we lost our precious selves to regulatory excesses.

    Working with dust generating materials such as asbestos has always been known to be a problem. A hundred years ago already. Even carelessly working with such things as perfectly healthful bread flour causes mill operators to develop the miller's lung. Should we ban doughnuts? I'll bite if you do; there are plenty safe practices for clean work environments, and higher productivity has always been one immediate and very pragmatic benefit. Likewise, there are plenty well established work rules such as those by the OSHA and whatever else agency.

    So, here's the rub: though standing asbestos is not a problem itself, working with asbestos is. In a factory setting, all this is easily solved with dust collection systems - on a construction site, typically, there is no dust collection, and so, the boiler room snow ball fights remain frozen past 72. Rightfully.


    In the 90's we personally had the atrociously expensive asbestos tests done in buildings only to show our pipe coverings made of non-asbestos calcium silicate molded forms - the fantastic stuff the Space Shuttle is made of, where fiber glass does not do the trick. The old boiler flue were usually the ones covered in asbestos snow. Around here at least it seems.

    The EU is currently playing with considerations on what mineral ceramic fibers are or are not respirable, NON-RCF being all the buzz word. I imagine labs filled with human test subjects and scientists trying to fit rocks and fibers through nostrils. If it fits, it must be respirable.

    Don't hold your breath for what's coming next. Here is a link to a oops, we're sorry letter by the EPA for all the harm it caused in destroyed businesses and destroyed heating systems and destroyed property values and destroyed communities. Industrial communities suffered immeasurably in a trade off for benefits that remain elusive.


    If asbestos is so terrible, then why still have it? If it's not so bad, then why have the whole world live in fear of it? Same thing with refrigerants. Same thing with cigarette smoke. Look for the deep pockets and look who has its hands in there.

    Ohio is currently banning smoke from all cigarettes. A bizarre law for sure that has all kinds of scary implications on the total power of the state. All businesses must now glue stickers everywhere to ban smoking (even though there is now a total blanket statewide smoke ban on businesses and homes and cars, with just some very few exceptions; to me, the banning signage would seem superfluous...) And should the smoking agency be told of someone lighting up, what do you think happens? Do we remind the smoker to go outdoors? noooo, do we start chopping heads? noooo, my goodness, what are you thinking - we simply fine the property owner.

    That makes me cough. The state already had it's hand in the pocket of the tobacco users, and that wasn't enough. Worry more about holding on to your money than holding on to your insulation. Property, life, happiness, it all goes together.
  • ttekushan_3
    ttekushan_3 Member Posts: 958
    good points

    and the fact that there are differing fiber lengths of asbestos which render some harmless and others harmful.

    Pulmonary disease and asbestos exposure usually involves more than one risk factor. For example, combine smoking with asbestos exposure, the numbers change markedly. The risk increases more than just the sum of the two risk factors.
  • Perry_3
    Perry_3 Member Posts: 498
    Fear... and Regulations

    A decade or so back I did a lot of research into the "asbestos" issue....

    It turns out that much of the US regulations are idotic to the extreem...

    There are 4 Major kinds of asbestos:

    The two types that are key to this discussion are:

    Chrysotile and Amosite.

    Over 90% of asbestos used in commercial products is Chysotile - a long fiber. Makes great insulation, ropes, cloths, wicks, filters, spray on coatings, etc.

    Zero... and I mean Zero scientific evidence in all the research papers I looked at that chrysotile by causes any form of cancer.

    Amosite is deadly. You breath amosite - and you will develope lung lesions and cancer at some point. Period.

    Amosite was predominantly used in very high temperature insulation (think steel melt retorts and very high pressure high temperature power plant boilers). You might find it in some firebrick (note that firebrick is non-friable). You almost never find Amosite in residential construction - or even most commercial building construction.

    Amosite may have contaminated some chrysotile production - and there are some links to cancer caused by amosite contaminated chrysotile or some of the other rarely used forms of asbestos.

    Europe banned amosite - and requires cleanup of amosite and amosite contaminated asbestos.

    The US could not find the wisdome to differentiat between the types of asbestos and created a false fear in most of the population and create a multibillion dollar cleanup/liability industry for a problem that really did not exist. Some asbestos is a sever health hazard - so we will ban all asbestos and treat it as a severe health hazard. What could we in the US have done with those billions of dollars?

    You can still buy chrysotile rope, cloth, and gasket materials outside of the US. And as already previously stated.. the US EPA pulled back the "total" absolute ban because some forms of chrysotile asbestos has no good replacement - like automotive break pads... and they didn't have any evidence of severe health hazard (but they did not want to admit that to the public and look bad..).

    So, while you are extreemly liable for finding any of this stuff in the US... and must spend a fortune to dispose of it... etc, etc, etc... The facts are that most of you can relax about the health affects of the asbestos that you have dealt with in your life.

    It would be rare for you to have been exposed to essentially pure Amosite unless you have worked with very high temperature asbestos insulation. Almost all asbestos used in the US was chrysotile. Some of it was unfortunately contaminated with amosite at the production facility - so it is actually important that all asbestos be tested to determine if there is amosite present.

    Unfortunately, you have to treat it all as deadly and must act to protect all employees and others - or you will be guilty of not properly implementing regulations.

    This is one of the most expensive environmental scams the US governemnt has imposed on us..

    The other really expensive one is PCB's; but not quite a scam - they just blame the wrong thing. Sorry folks, I found no evidence that PCB's themselves cause any health issues... (dispite all the people who claim otherwise). However, the chemicals used to thin almost all PCB's used are deadly and cause all kinds of problems - and all by themselves casue the kinds of mutations shown on TV about PCB's. So, PCB's were banned - but not the chemical thinners.... I dont see a need to clean up PCBs' - but would like to clean up and stop the use of the thinners. Of course, we cannot now use non-toxic thinners with PCB's - so we have lost the entire use of a class of material with unique and usefull properties.

    I will conceed that if people find PCB's that in 95%+ of the cases they were thinned with the toxic thinners so the resulting "muck" is indeed a health issue that needs cleaning up. At least in this case the money is not really wasted in the cleanup because they are cleaning up the toxic thinners.


  • Guy Woollard
    Guy Woollard Member Posts: 82

    I think that the bottom line here is common sense. Back when I began in the oil business, I drove the oil truck in the winter and removed the dead soldiers in the summer. That meant stripping the white, lightweight insulation off of the snowman boilers. We didn't know the real harm at that time, just the aggravation of the dust, so we soaked it and wore masks. The same with brake jobs in my Dad's auto shop-rinse them off, don't blow them off.
    My Grandfather was a Plumber his entire life; That means working with lead and asbestos his whole life. He only made it to 102. I agree that factory/ production/ building situations that had high concentrations in the air would be extremely dangerous, but if the asbestos is tucked away (under a floor, for example), leave it be.
    In hindsight, the snowball fights in the summer probably weren't the smartest thing.

    Standard pink fibreglass insulation is a known carcinogen in California. Good thing that I am thousands of miles away from that; my attic is LOADED with the stuff.....

    Guy Woollard
    N.E. Regional Sales Mgr
    Triangle Tube Corp.
  • I agree

    I agree that most abatement companies are ripping the people off with the scare tatics, even its showed on some of "this old house " shows.... Had one company here got the small private school scared stiff, with books and files registerd with the state with abestos on the boiler,pipings. I told them its all fiberglas insulations and won't replace the way oversized boiler....
This discussion has been closed.