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Insulation value of 90 year old asbestos vs. modern fiberglass

2

Comments

  • Gordy
    Gordy Member Posts: 9,537
    Most people don’t understand that the asbestos related illnesses are from working the material in mining, manufacturing, installing, and demoing with out proper PPE. In its undisturbed state it’s fine.
    ethicalpaul
  • Gordy
    Gordy Member Posts: 9,537
    edited January 2020
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 14,941
    > @Gordy said:
    > This one sleighs me. Tightly controlled dump sites.....
    >
    > https://paenvironmentdaily.blogspot.com/2019/11/you-are-looking-at-map-of-future.html

    I mean......

    What are you talking about...
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • Gordy
    Gordy Member Posts: 9,537
    Better🙄
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 14,941
    More accurate yes, better no.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • pecmsg
    pecmsg Member Posts: 4,178
    > @Precaud said:
    > (Quote)
    > You should be afraid. The guy who built my house (in 1930), and raised 6 boys in it (three of them had bedrooms in the basement with the asbestos-laden pipes running overhead), only lived to be 92. And his boys are all still "suffering"... i.e. doing fine. :smiley:

    As a kid I mixed asbestos and water for my father. Thank god I haven’t been affected yet. Im 65.
    Mr Lunger Recording secretory local 30 IUOE NYC passed from exposer to asbestos after working with it for years. Along with many others I've known or have heard about.

    leave sleeping dogs lie.

    Can it kill YES.
    All the time NO

    I've personally seen the results and the slow painful death of its exposure. Its not worth the risk.

    Its in your home...............get rid of it professionally.

    Its on your job site...….Document it and get tested annually.
    ChrisJGrallert
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 8,381
    The large distribution pipes in city water systems are iron or concrete or plastic(or sometimes transite), the only lead in the distribution system is small amounts in the brass/bronze/copper components to make it more machinable. The individual small services is where lead pipe was sometimes used.

    Like i always say, it isn't like whoever installed the asbestos wiped up every last scrap with a wet collection method, there are pieces that were dropped in walls and swept behind baseboards and such. There were so many caulks and adhesives and patching compounds/plasters that contained asbestos that if you test enough remnants of things you'll find a small amount somewhere in any house built before the mid 70's or even later. Most incandescent fixtures from before the 70's used type af fixture wire to the socket.
  • Hap_Hazzard
    Hap_Hazzard Member Posts: 2,826
    I knew someone who died of mesothelioma from working in an office in a building where they were removing asbestos back in the 70s, so it doesn't take a lot of exposure to kill you. Luck has a lot to do with it, so you have to ask yourself, "do I feel lucky?" Well, do ya, punk?
    Just another DIYer | King of Prussia, PA
    1983(?) Peerless G-561-W-S | 3" drop header, CG400-1090, VXT-24
    SlamDunk
  • Jakek
    Jakek Member Posts: 55
    Interesting thread. My office is literally made from asbestos -- the building is poured concrete (former auto dealership) and that concrete was mixed with asbestos as was the style in the 1910s for those sorts of buildings. The original steam heating system is still mostly working, BTW.

    As others have said, it seems even if it was to be removed from pipes there's bound to be plenty of fibers in the walls and other nooks that get airborne during maintenance. I'm sticking with encasement until the day comes that all the pipes are removed entirely.

    I've been curious if unintentional exposure to asbestos or lead is more common in older homes and which one is the bigger risk to adults.
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 21,519
    I have no wish to downplay the risk of airborne asbestos fibers. It's real, and the resulting (sometimes) diseases are no fun at all. It's wise to take reasonable precautions.

    That said...

    It does lead me to muse on a very human characteristic, which is well to keep in mind: we are geared to seriously underestimate risk when the risk comes from something we are in control of (or at least think we are) and, on the other hand, to seriously overestimate risk when the risk comes from something which we aren't in control of, or know little about. The former often (not always) gives rise to feelings of exhilaration -- whee! while the latter gives rise to fear, and as a President once said, so correctly, "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself" (FDR, First Inaugural).
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    Precaud
  • Gordy
    Gordy Member Posts: 9,537
    There is a house in the neighborhood I grew up in that had asbestos based shingles. Similar to asbestos siding. The owner painted them red to match the trim on the ranch style house. They lasted 65 years before it was reroofed. It’s always the good products that cause us harm. Lead based paint is another.
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,541
    @Jakek said: I'm sticking with encasement until the day comes that all the pipes are removed entirely.

    Just keep in mind , when that day comes and you move to forced air, you will likely be blowing some asbestos dust around the house for years to come and maybe even using good old Pledge furniture polish to pick it up with. Something to think about. >:)
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 8,381
    Asbestos shingles were sort of a bargain slate or clay tile. Both of the real products are perfectly safe unless you grind and inhale large quantities of them.

    Asbestos exposure is far more dangerous than lead. You need to be exposed to a large quantity of lead to kill you. Smaller quantities can knock your IQ down a few points and cause some vague psychological symptoms but it won't kill you.
  • Gordy
    Gordy Member Posts: 9,537
    Lead has near the same abatement procedures as asbestos, when dealing with paints being mechanically removed.

  • SlamDunk
    SlamDunk Member Posts: 1,487
    edited January 2020
    Lead paint is another issue. I have had a couple contractors quote jobs and include lead abatement in the price. They say they must assume there is lead paint in my 90 yr old home. New rules in effect.

    When I say forget it, that part of the quote disappears. Anything that MUST be done, I can do myself. Everything else is optional.

    I live in a land of tear downs. All of these 90. -100 yr old homes are being razed without any abatement. I have watched from my windows. And, some of these homes had steam heat. So, law enforcement is subjective. Government knows , but wont insist on, proper abatement when handing developers permits. All that dust becomes airborne.
  • Gordy
    Gordy Member Posts: 9,537
    They insist in the situations wallets will provide.
  • Jakek
    Jakek Member Posts: 55
    @fred Forced Hot Air? Hahahahaha. I love stream and would sooner heat the house by the steam from the shower before I switched to forced hot air.

    Don't worry, stream is not leaving anytime soon.
    mattmia2
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 21,519
    There is an overall moral or conclusion to be drawn here, if we will: the world is a dangerous place. Some of the products or compounds we use are dangerous, if used improperly, and sometimes we don't realise it for some time. Some of the activities we undertake are dangerous. If we insist on making sure that our world is free of risk -- whether it is lead or asbestos, or poorly trained drivers, or multiply resistant bacteria, or whatever, we are deluding ourselves and become paralysed -- incapable of any useful activity at all.

    Every activity one does, and every item one uses, carries some risk. Make a realistic evaluation of that. If the risk is great, take proper precautions if you can. But try to live.

    And, at the risk of sounding like a preacherman, may I remind us all the psalmist wrote "The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away." -- and that has been changed very little in the last 3,000 years or so.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • BobC
    BobC Member Posts: 5,408
    In the late 70's we were having a devil of a time with potted transformers that would "grow" as the temperature went up. This growth put them over the max dimension spec by 3-4 thousandths and the government inspectors were not happy about that. After some careful reading I found the coefficient of expansion was the culprit.

    We had to find something to mix with that epoxy to lessen the expansion. We tried a few things and settled on asbestos ; great insulator, low expansion, whats not to like? Russ ran the epoxy / varnish shop for decades. He was a hard worker and a great guy to work with. The day after the 100 # pound bag of asbestos came in I went down to see how things were doing, Russ was standing in a cloud of asbestos mixing the hell out of the epoxy / asbestos. I told him that stuff was not good to breath and ordered a good sized ventelation hood to mix it under (why should just one man get to enjoy all the benefits). Russ smoked but we didn't allow smoking in the building (government rules) so at least he wasn't sucking the stuff in with the cigarettes, This was an industrial neighborhood and compared to what Hood Rubber was doing this was small potato's. All of this was before the dangers of asbestos was widely known.

    Last I knew Russ was in his mid 70's and enjoying his great grand children. There are navy subs out there with those asbestos laden transformers still keeping tabs on Russian subs.

    Bob
    Smith G8-3 with EZ Gas @ 90,000 BTU, Single pipe steam
    Vaporstat with a 12oz cut-out and 4oz cut-in
    3PSI gauge
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 14,941
    BobC said:

    In the late 70's we were having a devil of a time with potted transformers that would "grow" as the temperature went up. This growth put them over the max dimension spec by 3-4 thousandths and the government inspectors were not happy about that. After some careful reading I found the coefficient of expansion was the culprit.

    We had to find something to mix with that epoxy to lessen the expansion. We tried a few things and settled on asbestos ; great insulator, low expansion, whats not to like? Russ ran the epoxy / varnish shop for decades. He was a hard worker and a great guy to work with. The day after the 100 # pound bag of asbestos came in I went down to see how things were doing, Russ was standing in a cloud of asbestos mixing the hell out of the epoxy / asbestos. I told him that stuff was not good to breath and ordered a good sized ventelation hood to mix it under (why should just one man get to enjoy all the benefits). Russ smoked but we didn't allow smoking in the building (government rules) so at least he wasn't sucking the stuff in with the cigarettes, This was an industrial neighborhood and compared to what Hood Rubber was doing this was small potato's. All of this was before the dangers of asbestos was widely known.

    Last I knew Russ was in his mid 70's and enjoying his great grand children. There are navy subs out there with those asbestos laden transformers still keeping tabs on Russian subs.

    Bob

    The government was giving you a hard time because of 0.004" on a transformer?

    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • SlamDunk
    SlamDunk Member Posts: 1,487
    yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off,

    What does this part mean?
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 21,519
    SlamDunk said:

    yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off,

    What does this part mean?

    Lots of thought has been given to that line -- I've given a homily or two on it myself in my time! And I don't have a good answer for you. Taken in the context of the whole Psalm (90 -- one of the most superb Psalms) though, I've always thought it to mean that however much we strive to lengthen our days, we simply can't do much about it. Something is going to get us all. So we look to the rest of the Psalm -- and other sources! -- to find that what is needed is to do the best we can with each day, for ourselves and for others, and let tomorrow be.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    Grallert
  • rcrit
    rcrit Member Posts: 74
    Anecdotes aren't awesome. "My kids play on the freeway every day and they're fine..."

    My house had a single spot of asbestos, maybe 8-10" worth when I bought it. I had to get it remediated before a participant in this thread would touch the system. YMMV.

    My brother-in-law has mesothelioma. Pipe fitter on the docks of B'more.
    I'm just a homeowner that has a steam system, take my advice with a few grains of salt.
    Hap_Hazzard
  • SlamDunk
    SlamDunk Member Posts: 1,487
    @Jamie Hall

    Provocative.


  • BobC
    BobC Member Posts: 5,408
    @ChrisJ Inspectors can be sticklers, dimentions are given with allowable tolerences, you meet them or you don't. A max spec has zero tolerance, you stay inside it or you don't

    These transformers were 3 phase 400HZ, the cores (expensive with long lead times) were all at the top end of their spec so we ending up building a blivet that was just in spec before the potting was added and liable to be just out after potting. We machined jigs out of 3/4" thick aluminum to hold the case to spec but sometimes those jigs got forced out of tolerance.



    The above image gives you the general idea of how these bare transformers were built

    If the transformer was out of spec it was junk and went in the scrap barrel. This transformer had over a dozen 3 phase secondaries tat terminated in a PWB with terminals on it. The spec assumed all parts would be in the center of their ranges and that just isn't the way things worked, most of the three phase cores we got from the supplier were at the upper end of the range so we were up against it.

    I remember putting potted transformers on a Bridgeport and milling the case by a few mills and praying I wouldn't hit the transformer windings. That was one plum job we lost money on, we probably lost $50 on each one and we made hundreds of them.

    Bob
    Smith G8-3 with EZ Gas @ 90,000 BTU, Single pipe steam
    Vaporstat with a 12oz cut-out and 4oz cut-in
    3PSI gauge
    ChrisJ
  • PerryHolzman
    PerryHolzman Member Posts: 234
    I believe that I can explain why it seems there is such a difference between people exposed to Asbestos.

    It's been about 2 decades since I followed the research, and here is what I learned between about 1980 and 2000.

    There are different types of asbestos, and I have seen arguments that the number of types range from 3 to 7. In the 1980's the EPA only talked about 4 types. Now they talk about 5 types.

    It's the type of asbestos that matters:

    Amosite (brown short rod like fiber) is one of the most carcinogenic materials known to mankind. Noticeable Amosite exposure mostly always leads to significant health issues.

    Chrysotile (white long stringy fiber) had at that time no evidence to support that it has ever caused cancer or other health issues.

    There was evidence of likely or potential carcinogenic effects of the other types; however, Chrysotile asbestos represents about 95% of all asbestos used in the world, and Amosite is the most common other product used. Most of the other types have had no commercial use except perhaps a specialized product or application (blue asbestos was commonly used to insulate steam engine boilers).

    Chrysotile is the long fiber that was used to make cloth (gloves, protective suits), most spray on fire proofing insulation, brake pads, wiring sheath, and many other products.

    Amosite was most commonly used in high temperature boilers or other very high temperature insulation (firebrick, firebox cement - to assemble the bricks or build custom shapes, commercial and industrial high pressure and temperature boiler/melt furnaces). I've dealt with 100% Amosite insulation in in old power plant boilers (900 PSI, 900 F steam); yet the old 300 PSI boiler we tore down (2 stories high) was insulated with pure Chrysotile.

    Chrysotile was the fiber added to common pipe insulation and common household boiler and low pressure-temperature industrial boiler "mud" insulation that was plastered on (unless the product was specifically designated high temperature (I think that was over 1000 F) - then it would have specifically an added notable % of Amosite.

    The biggest problem that the industry faced was that there were no quality controls in the factories making asbestos products; and it is not uncommon to find Chrysotile asbestos insulation products that have a few% of Amosite "contamination" (I've seen test results with up to 3% Amosite contamination).

    Back in the 1980's the US EPA had already decided to treat all asbestos as if it were Amosite. Europe, on the other hand, allowed Chrysotile asbestos to be used (and I believe they still do today). In Europe - back in the 1990's a remodle project had to test the materials to determine if they contain asbestos (just like the US); however, as long as it was essentially pure Chrysotile (very low contamination levels) there was no need for any special handling or costly remediation (while the US spent Billions over the years to remove Chrysotile and scaring people about how carcinogenic "asbestos" was). I just found a website that says many countries in the world today still allow Chrysotile asbestos products.

    As this related to home heating boilers, furnace, piping, etc.

    The white asbestos pipe insulation and applied "mud" insulation is almost certainly Chrysotile based; but, it may be contaminated with some Amosite.

    Once you go inside an older boiler and furnace firebox (likely up to about 1990) you will likely run into Amosite in the firebrick or cement used in the firebox. Now of course this is all solidly bound up so you would likely only have minimal exposure even if you removed it (you would only experience a little dust, and that might have a few % Amosite).

    Asbestos is only a concern if its in a "friable" state (the fibers are free to break loose and float in the air). Contained in a product or saturated with a liquid (water works) and there is no hazzard.

    You do of course these days have to follow regulations; and treat it within the USA as if any form in anything but the very lowest possible exposures are highly carcinogenic.

    My personal experience, as a teenager who repaired coal fired boilers and furnaces and tore some out in the late 1960's to mid 1970's (with I'm sure amosite exposure when replacing coal burner pots, tearing out and relining fireboxes, etc); and then 5 years a US Navy steam propulsion engine-room with asbestos piping insulation, and then entry into power plants half way through engineering college, and spending decades in power plants (some of the piping, equipment, and insulation was 80+ years old), becoming an asbestos worker as I ran abatement jobs, now 62 with no asbestos related health effects.... is that. Don't panic or be highly concerned about occasional exposure to normal household and home/light industrial asbestos products.

    Be concerned if you are dealing a lot with removal of old fireboxes, or dealing with high temperature commercial/industrial boilers or metal melting pots and equipment where Amosite was the preferred insulation.

    Also, yes the flooring contractor I just had give me a quote told me that the industry is trying to get permission to reintroduce asphalt asbestos floor tiles. Which would have be Chrysotile based as they used it for the long fibers to bind things together. Those old asphalt asbestos floor tiles wear better than vnyl and are much less of a hazard to a family or firefighters when there is a fire (no toxic fumes).

    I hope that helps,

    Perry
    ethicalpaulSuperTechGordyvibert_c
  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 4,806
    That was an interesting writeup, thank you.

    I'm so ignorant of this topic, but something about my BS meter always jumps when I see the bunny suits and negative pressure chambers set up to remove some basement tiles or siding panels.
    1 pipe Peerless 63-03L in Cedar Grove, NJ, coal > oil > NG
  • SlamDunk
    SlamDunk Member Posts: 1,487
    Thanks Perry, for taking the time to write that up. Very informative.

    I often wondered about brake linings made with asbestos and how it may have effected people in urban areas. that dust had to be everywhere.

    We inherited my in-laws home and it has perfectly good asbestos tiles from 1950. We recently found a trivet in the kitchen that has aluminum on one side and on the other "cardboard" that says it is asbestos and also has the "Good Housekeeping" seal on it.
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 8,381
    My concern with brake linings is the 100 years of dust in the bottom of subway tunnels by the tracks in cities like NYC and Chicago.
  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 4,806
    In NYC the tunnels have been flooded and soaked so many times I'm not too worried. In Chicago the trains are elevated so the dust just falls onto the pedestrians.
    1 pipe Peerless 63-03L in Cedar Grove, NJ, coal > oil > NG
  • ChicagoCooperator
    ChicagoCooperator Member Posts: 341
    Um, you know that we do have subways in Chicago too, right?
    ethicalpaulmattmia2SuperTech
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 14,941
    What about electric brakes?
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
    ethicalpaul
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 21,519
    Not all railroad brakes have "linings" -- older ones in particular are just iron shoes on iron wheels. Don't know about New York's subways...
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    ethicalpaul
  • Hap_Hazzard
    Hap_Hazzard Member Posts: 2,826

    Not all railroad brakes have "linings" -- older ones in particular are just iron shoes on iron wheels.

    That explains why they sound the way they do. If they could make them out of fingernails and chalkboard that would be an improvement.
    :#
    Just another DIYer | King of Prussia, PA
    1983(?) Peerless G-561-W-S | 3" drop header, CG400-1090, VXT-24
    Canucker
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 8,381
    The non asbestos replacements sometimes have chunks of metal in them.
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 21,519
    All kinds of replacements for asbestos in automotive and truckng brake shoes. Some of them work pretty well...

    And many modern freight cars and engines (we're talking trying to stop 140 to 300 tons here, folks) have high friction composite linings. The problem is always managing the heat without the brake shoes or linings overheating.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 14,941
    > @Jamie Hall said:
    > All kinds of replacements for asbestos in automotive and truckng brake shoes. Some of them work pretty well...
    >
    > And many modern freight cars and engines (we're talking trying to stop 140 to 300 tons here, folks) have high friction composite linings. The problem is always managing the heat without the brake shoes or linings overheating.

    140-300 tons over how many wheels and sets of brakes? Last time I checked train wheels don't grab very good, especially compared to rubber tires on asphalt.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 8,381
    Trains also start and stop very slowly compared to road vehicles. I believe the couples are built with some slop so the engine only has to start one car rolling at a time.
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 14,941
    > @mattmia2 said:
    > Trains also start and stop very slowly compared to road vehicles. I believe the couples are built with some slop so the engine only has to start one car rolling at a time.

    That whole tractive effort thing..
    Damn steel and steel.....
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 21,519
    edited January 2020
    The usual 4 axle car is around 140 tons these days. So... you're looking at somewhere around 35 to 40 tons per axle. The biggest diesels run upwards of 300 tons on 6 axles. Under good conditions, with high friction shoes and good track, you can get up to a friction coefficient of 0.3, although 0.1 is more common -- compared to a rubber tire on dry pavement of around 1. Despite that, a train just can't stop that fast -- dump a 10,000 foot, 10,000 plus ton train into emergency at say 69, and she'll take a couple of miles to stop.

    And it doesn't matter whether you're in front of it or not... be careful!

    Controllng the slack action which @mattmia2 mentions is a fine art.
    And indeed, @ChrisJ , they take a while to get up to speed, too -- even with upwards of 20,000 horsepower pulling and pushing!
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England