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are asbestos risks overblown?

elfieelfie Member Posts: 264
have some damage asbestos areas (insulation slightly unraveled around steam pipes), mudded asbestos residue on pipes and lose insulation

can this be cleaned up by a skilled volunteer ?

are health risks relating to asbestos overblown? does this issue require attention?


  • icesailoricesailor Member Posts: 7,265

    Not if you come down with Asbestosis or asbestos related lung cancer.

    There are two types of asbestos fibers. 95% of what you see is the benign kind. The other 5% is deadly. You can't tell the difference without complicated testing.

    The exposure to the bad stuff takes years to bear fruit. You're the fruit.

    I like the use of the term "Volunteers". Do they know the risk? It is illegal to knowingly expose someone to asbestos.

    Maybe you can find some "volunteer" to pay them to remove it.

    Like "Black Lung" or "Brown Lung" or COPD disease. It isn't something that anyone signs up for
  • LuckyDogLuckyDog Member Posts: 12
    Or are non-asbestos fibrous silicate risks UNDERblown?

    Yes, it needs attention.

    Best I know about fibrous silicates is "don't breath it". Get it (asbestos or other types) properly sealed or removed.

    Building a house in NH
  • BillWBillW Member Posts: 187
    Potential asbestos exposure

    No untrained, improperly protected individual should be involved in any asbestos remediation. If it gets airborne, it can contaminate a very large area, and do so in a short time. Proper containment procedures are needed. Asbestos fibers cause a laundry list of respiratory problems like COPD, and in the worst case, mesothelioma and lung cancer, both of which have poor survival rates. Asbsetos fibers are not removed from your lungs by your body's defenses like ordinary dust is. They enter your lungs, continually break down into smaller fibers that are impossible to remove. The process takes years, but when symptoms appear, it already too late. Leave asbestos removal and abatement to the professionals. Like the man says"Don't try this at home".
  • Tim McElwainTim McElwain Member Posts: 3,895
    There are remediation companies

    that will come in on steam boilers and do a fiberglass wrap which is acceptable for repair to asbestos that has come loose. They would be able to tell you if yours is past repair and then give you a price to have them remove it completely. YES IT IS DANGEROPUS AND NEEDS PROS TO HANDLE IT.
  • GordyGordy Member Posts: 7,111
    Yes it's dangerous

    , and not only to the skilled volunteer .think about the building, and it's occupants. Removal is about self protection, protecting surrounding environment, and proper disposal. The later of the two could contaminate someone unsuspecting of the contamination. Get a pro .
  • heatpro02920heatpro02920 Member Posts: 991
    Is it dangerous?

    I have been around it my whole life, deal with it as Tim said with a pro... Years ago they used to spray it down with water, wear masks, remove it, and discard it, now I watch the remediation companies come in and take it out and they are dressed up like the scientists on ET...

    hire a pro its a lot cheaper than radiation..
  • knotgrumpyknotgrumpy Member Posts: 207
    Asbestos Board?

    Has anyone had any experience with asbestos board?  Came in 4 x 8 sheets like Masonite and was an asbestos/cement mixture.  A little over an 1/8" thick.

    My in laws had a fear of house fires and lined their garage with it.  Now it is up to me to have it removed.  I am assuming the same cautions apply.
  • GordyGordy Member Posts: 7,111
    Same cautions

    Again what would you correctly do to dispose of it if you tore it down? It may not create as much dust as deteriorating insulation would but the dust is still an issue.
  • billbill Member Posts: 429
    edited March 2014
    overblown? hmm

    I had a conversation with one of the original asbestos lawyers a couple years ago. It all started back in the 70's. Class action status was granted by the court and all the hoopla started. Prior to that people never even heard of asbestos. Industry was in fact dealing on a case by case with claims, then class action status made asbestos a household name.

    The people that were harmed were people who worked with the stuff for many years and industry knew of it's danger. That was the kicker.

    What I was told is that on a case by case basis it can be overblown, and it's a great product. This lawyer tells me about 60% of his work is asbestos related on both sides of the table. I trust this guy more than anyone, he's my brother.

    Oh ya, don't smoke, that is a real point of contention during litigation! Asbestos or not.
  • icesailoricesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    Asbestos Smoking:

    What your lawyer friend says may be true to him. Not to anyone who dies from it.

    Where I lived, there was a local plumber and heater that had bought his business from his former boss when he retired. "Bob" had a crew and a lot of customers. He was a smoker. He started to appear ill. Like deathly ill. He was diagnosed with lung cancer. In researching for causes, we all thought smoking. After all, Bob WAS known as a heavy smoker. But they can tell from X-rays and lung biopsy's. He had been suffering from Asbestosis. Seems that "Bob", when he was a sailor in WW 2, he was stationed on a destroyer that was all shot up in battle. He had to work in the shipyard to repair the battle damaged ship, Ripping out and recovering asbestos that covered the steam pipes and boilers. Some of us were skeptical. Later, some came to believe the information about the hazards of asbestos. There was a carpenter who used to cut a lot of asbestos to put around foundations. He died of lung cancer.

    I think I'll avoid it. Being a 50+ year pediatric cancer survivor, I'll let the people in the Tyvek suits and the air packs handle it, thank you. I'll watch from a distance. And think about Bob. Trying to breathe.
  • GordyGordy Member Posts: 7,111
    So Bill

    By trying to take away the seriousness of the substance with your post. What are you suggesting?

    This Lawyer may be your brother, and you may trust him, but when it comes to court all bets are off. He plays the seriousness down from what he sees in the court rooms winning, and lossing.
  • Mark NMark N Member Posts: 1,035

    I grew up in the town of Manville NJ. I've gone to way too many funerals of people who worked at Johns-Manville and died from their exposure to asbestos. Granted many of hose people were exposed to it over many years. I would stay away and have it handled professionally.
  • JackJack Member Posts: 936
    "A lot cheaper than radiation"

    Ha! I was very concerned when they came out and said asbestos was not good for you. I was kinda obsessed with the idea of asbestos health issues. I worried and fretted and finally decided to treat this mathematically, you know, where two negatives equal a plus. So I began working on nuclear shutdowns. Not sure if the dosage of radiation was sufficient but they tell me I do have some cobalt in my thyroid...and my fingernails glow in the dark (oddly, my toenails do not). I now have a half life of my own. Only time will tell how this goes!
  • Mad DogMad Dog Member Posts: 3,169
    edited March 2014
    Ask the families of two, Great men that brought me up in the trade

    Charlie P grew up in Manhattan, was a standout Four-letter man at Stuvesant H.S. and had lungs and stamina to match a racehorse MOST of his life.  Fought in WWII and worked in the Brooklyn Navy Yard wrapping pipe with The White Stuff for just 1 summer after the War.  50 years later it caught up with him.  Charlie was a brilliant Plumbing foreman who ran all the largest projects in NYC for a HUGE (stilll around today) Mechanical contractor. He was peerless when it came to layout and plan reading, co-ordination, running large groups of men,  et al.  He also taught in the Apprenticeship school.  He sponsored me in to the Union, and one day he invited me over for a beer and chat.  He asked me how it was going.  Through his raspy, asbestos-ridden lungs he confided that his voice was not aalways like this and that he never was ASBESTOSIS.  He told me NO MATTER WHAT!  don't disturb it or take it off...LEAVES IT TO THE PROS! he said.  As an apprentice, I was laid off on three seperate occassions because I refused to remove a whole bunch of it.  This was late 80s and early 90s, when most people either didnt care or thought it was bull. 

    Jimmy O was born in Dublin and was a standout soccer star as a young Irish lad.  He did his plumbing apprenticeship in Ireland and came to NYC in his early twenties.  He too rose to the top of his trade mostly as an installer.  He came across much more asbestos as he did alot of boilers too.  He could fix anything and was hard to physically keep up with - even in to his early 60s.  he actually played competive soccer every weekend too.  he had great lungs and although he did smoke in his 20s and 30s, he had quit.  Jimmy took me under his wing and I credit HIM with teaching me the most about plumbing.  I worked side by side with him for about three years.  Then, the shop got a large job down in the financial district (Wall Street).  A new foreman was added to the shop to run this job.  Everything was fine until one saturday on o.t. when he told us :"...ok, cut out these two 6" storm leaders here and here."   When I told him it was covered in asbestos, he said: "yeah, so what!  its gotta get done today.  If you dont wanna do it, son, you can go home."  I thought of Charlie P and my young, fairly pristine lungs.....' ok, John, (John D), I'm going home.  I knew I would probably lose my job, but they waited about two weeks because they knew I could bring them up on charges/lawsuit.  (not my style anyway...I just go away queitly and find another job).   I talked to Jimmy O, my plumbing mentor and he was sorry he couldnt save my job, but assured me I did the right thing.  Then he told me something I didn't know....he had asbestosis now too.  I kept up with him, but he died about 5 years later from it.

    Boy, do I miss these Great men!  they taught me the trade and about life.  At one point, I became a Certified asbestos handler and remover, just so I knew ALL facts and how to do it right.  Fortunately, the tide has changed and MOST people believe the dangers and know to let pros remove it...even a little bit.  However, there still exists, and I still see it on a regular basis, people, that "Poo Poo" the dangers and want to and sometimes do remove it themselves without ANY knowledge, protections, or skills.  Today, it is usually foreign-born people who are either ignorant of the dangers, or in many cases, desperate to keep their job OR folks over 65.  For example, I had a nice enough, retired school teacher who we did a big heating system for.  I told her to get rid of asbestos and gave her a good, legit, and fair abatement company that did it.  When I came to work and quickly looked around, I saw pieces in the corners, et cetera, sloppy job at best.  When I showed her and told her to get them back she admitted she did it HERSELF!  I was shocked.  I left and told her NOW she better get them here or I was not doing the job.  She felt stupid, but God knows what I breathed in! 

    In conclusion, it is an individual personal decision, EXCEPT when it will AFFECT others and it almost always does.  When I walked away from those jobs, I was living at home with Mom.  When you have a family and mortgage, A good man will do desperate things.  Hopefully it continues to be treated for what it is:  an eventual death sentence for MANY who come in contact with it.   A little exposure or alot, each person's lungs handle it differently.  Be SMART, let a pro do it and get an air quality test (by a third party) afterward.  Mad Dog
    To learn more about this professional, click here to visit their ad in Find A Contractor.
  • icesailoricesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    Overblown savings:

    Saved for as long as I can remember it and where I stored it.

    Thanks for your experience.

    You'll never see someone dying from asbestosis related lung cancer who was a non smoker, sucking on a death stick through the Trach Tube hole in their throat while suffocating to death. Like you will a death stick smoker will. They have to turn off the oxygen first. 

    I was 16 years old when my Oncologist, Dr. Sidney Farber said to me, "If you don't smoke, don't. And don't start. Because if your cancer (Osteosarcoma) ever starts again, it will go to your lungs and/or brain". I never did. When I read peer reviewed articles about Asbestos exposure and Asbestosis, I equated it to smoking death sticks.

    30 years ago, I used to watch house insulators put up fiberglass and mineral wool insulation. They never wore masks. Now they do. What have they learned?

    You can go on a job where they are insulating, wearing masks now. If the sun shines through a window, you can see the particles floating in the air. There are some peer reviewed retracted articles on dangers of fiberglass insulation from pulmonary ingestion. The manufacturers threatened to sue if the authors if they didn't retract. Thank goodness for the Lawyers, working for the manufacturers who have so much caring for our welfare and not their bottom line, the Higher Power of the USA, PROFIT, At all costs.
  • GordyGordy Member Posts: 7,111
    edited March 2014
    Thanks for sharing

    Mad Dog, hell of a personal experience to share. Kudos to you for walking away, and having the education to make that decision . Some people are not so lucky as you pointed out.

    When your young, dumb, and think your indestructible is what will get you later in life.

    All the things the old timers tell you not to do that seems trivial . When you get older you wish ya would have listened.
  • JackJack Member Posts: 936
    The "Reach of Asbestos"

    On a different tack concerning asbestos, I was named, or more accurately the company was named, in an asbestosis/mesothelioma suit from the family of a 92 yr old ship fitter who had died of mesothelioma. My business partners Uncle had represented a company in the 50's that did have asbestos in its products. When the attorney's did their discovery they found my business partner had the same last name as his uncle and so we were written into the case 50+ years later. Fortunately we had liability insurance and they had and to defend us in the case. This was a completely frivolous case as it regarded us, but it took 3 years for us to be dropped from the suit. Asbestos can come at you from odd angles. I have been around a lot of asbestos, working in shipyards, powerhouses and just generally in the trades. I thought it was rather humorous all things considered. I do feel badly for the man who suffered through it all.
  • elfieelfie Member Posts: 264
    casual exposure

    let say you occasionally touch asbestos and is infrequent or one time exposure a big deal

    views i have heard re that unless you continually work around it, the health risks are overblown, and not a concern
  • GordyGordy Member Posts: 7,111
    Come on

    Don't be narrow minded about this. I think your wallet is trying to take over your thought process. Don't mean to be rude at all. Just trying to be firm.

    So lets say you have Mr skilled labor tear it out. He gets dust fibers all over. Who will come across these later on?

    Now Mr. skilled labor has to get rid of the product. What throw it in the trash so the next scraper digs through the garbage gets contaminated. Along with the garbage man that cycles the load and spews asbestos fibers all over the neighbor hood. Then there is the guy at the land fill while he is dozing off piles of garbage, and the mechanic who may be exposed working on that dozer.

    Lets think about everyone involved now.

    Let alone the fine if you get caught by the EPA. You could have it professionally removed about 100 times over.
  • Jean-David BeyerJean-David Beyer Member Posts: 2,530
    So lets say you have Mr skilled labor tear it out.

    I read about a case where Mr. skilled labor worked with asbestos at his job.

    He went home and Mrs. skilled labor washed his clothes and she got Mesothelioma.
  • KC_JonesKC_Jones Member Posts: 3,133
    Casual exposure?

    I am not expert, but that opinion is like saying I only have one tumor.  Doesn't matter if it's one or multiple it's still cancer.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
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