WTF is asbestos?
What Is Asbestos?
Not To Put Too Fine A Point On It, But Asbestos Is A Deadly Rock
Suppose you’re a manufacturer, making anything from ceiling tiles to jewelry, and going to work every day to play that great game of business where you try to keep costs down, prices up, competitors at bay, and sales consistently high…
… Now suppose that, bingo! You discover a material you can use to provide filler, bulk – or even “flame retardance” to your products.
And the stuff’s available in abundance.
And it’s cheap!
Wouldn’t you be hard-pressed not to give in to the temptation to use it?
And really, wouldn’t you be hard-pressed not to use as much of it as you can get your hands on?
That’s pretty much exactly what happened when manufacturers discovered the “miracle” of asbestos, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries (and continuing, sadly, to this day).
Soon products were being touted because they contained this wonderful new substance. Many sales were made… lots of money was raked in by companies using asbestos… and tons of the stuff was finding its way into American homes and businesses.
Only One Problem…
It turns out that asbestos is, well, ugly.
It’s not just non-miraculous… it’s dangerous. In fact, asbestos is deadly.
It took some time for the public to awaken to this fact… but it turns out that the inclusion of asbestos in any product makes that product a potential disease-causing weapon that threatens anyone using it!
In polite company, asbestos could be referred to as a “mineral” – the fact is, asbestos is basically a rock.
Nothing against rocks… gold and silver are, after all, rocks.
But gold and silver don’t kill you when they break up into microscopic airborne bits which can tear holes in your lungs and cause you to need to put your affairs in order.
That’s what asbestos does!
It isn’t treated with anything… and when it breaks up, due to water damage or any of a number of other eventualities, it can threaten your health in ways few other substances can.
… And It Isn’t A Problem Of The Past
A few years ago, the government got involved, and pretty soon the ugliness of asbestos was fairly well known, far and wide.
Laws were even passed banning asbestos!
So many people assume asbestos is just a thing of the past… a problem our forefathers had to deal with, all the way back in the wild-and-crazy 1970s.
But what isn’t widely known is that those asbestos-banning laws were, in the fullness of time, effective for about one hot minute (relative to the long history of asbestos).
Yes, it’s true: The Environmental Protection Agency did outlaw asbestos in the United States in 1989. But my 1991, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals actually overturned that ruling.
Can you say lobbyists?
Most folks assume asbestos is illegal these days. After all, wasn’t it banned all those years ago? Didn’t asbestos end up on the “ash heap of history,” like the Bell telephone monopoly, the K-car (look it up), and the Soviet Union?
The hard truth is that asbestos is legal these days… and there are tons of it circulating in the United States right now.
Manufacturers are still using it… companies are still selling it… and people are still dying from exposure to asbestos.
Asbestos isn’t illegal… but it should be. If there’s asbestos in your home or workplace, testing for it and abating it are not only less expensive than you might think… they’re potentially life-saving measures you should undertake before it’s too late. If the asbestos isn’t “disturbed,” you don’t have to fear immediate health risks… but it’s a great idea to know the truth, and to go for an asbestos-free life. Rock ‘n’ roll is great… but asbestos is a rock you can definitely live without!