Originally Posted by maxmillan
I can't believe how much of this stuff is EVERYWHERE!
You don't know the half of it.
Asbestos is one of the most abundant minerals in the Earth's crust. As a result, there are large surface outcroppings of asbestos throughout the world. In the United States, just about all of the surface rock in California contains asbestos. There are large areas of West Virginia that also have asbestos outcroppings at the surface.
Did you know that:
1. The airborne asbestos fiber count in the state parks around San Fransisco were measured to be fifty (50) times higher than the OSHA would allow in a workplace without special protective breathing gear being provided to the workers? It's true. The gravel roads in these parks were made with an asbestos bearing rock called "Serpentine". When cars drove over those gravel roads, the rocks would rub together creating airborne dust that contained asbestos fibers. As a result of that finding, California has enacted laws limiting the amount of serpentine rock that can be used in the gravel used to make gravel roads. That content has been decreased from 100% down to just 0.02 percent because of the asbestos fiber content in the dust kicked up by cars driving on these roads.
2. There is asbestos in the rocks around the Great Lakes. This rock erodes to form dust, and that dust is carried into the rivers feeding the Great Lakes by the rain. As a result, despite being treated, a glass of tap water in Duluth contains about 7000 asbestos fibers. Luckily, no one has found any detrimental health effects from swallowing asbestos fibers yet.
3. No one uses asbestos anymore, right? Wrong. Did you know that asbestos is still being used for automotive brake pads and shoes? In America, a baby squabble broke out between several branches of the government on who is responsible for overseeing the importation of car parts. No department wanted to handle that job without extra funding, and there was no extra funding to be had. The result is that right now there is no law in the US forbidding the IMPORTATION of asbestos brake linings. So, brake parts imported from China that contain asbestos are still being installed on American cars. When your local brake shop advertizes brake jobs starting at $49, do you think they're installing American-made Borg Warner brake shoes costing $50 a set? No, they're installing brake shoes from China that cost about as much as a ham sandwich.
Really, the bottom line on asbestos is that there's no safe exposure level, but some of us seem to be more susceptible to it than others. It's kinda like cancer that way. My uncle smoked his entire life, and ended up dying of pneumonia at age 98. Someone else can smoke all their life and die of lung cancer at age 42. And, at the end of the day, the ONLY thing they've ever found that seems to be healthy for our hearts is drinking alcohol. Put lung cancer, Mesothelioma, UFO's and crop circles in the same bag. We don't understand any of them well enough to know who will be affected and who won't. So, to cover their butts, the government's response is to tell everyone to avoid the stuff like the plague.
I think they can't see the forest because of all the trees in the way. Asbestos was just as abundant in the Earth's crust over the hundreds of millions of years that we evolved from apes and apes evolved from more primitive mammals before them. I think it's far more likely that over the eons, we land animals have developed some natural resistance to asbestos. But, as with everything else in nature, diversity is the rule. So, just as some of us inherited more body hair and the propensity to be territorial from our ape ancestry, some of us inherited a greater natural resistance to asbestos than others.
Mesothelioma | Asbestos.com - The Leading Mesothelioma Resource