Posted by: Green Knight | December 28, 2012

Worker’s Comp and Mesothelioma

This is complete bullshit. Mesothelioma is only caused by asbestos, or, more rarely, by ethylene oxide, neither of which you’re likely to be exposed to outside the workplace. And anybody can sue anybody for anything, so this restriction they’re talking about is also complete bullshit. They’re saying that Missouri is the only state where such claims can be brought up outside of worker’s comp? Excuse ME??? That, also, is complete bullshit. It’d almost make this state look, ahem, progressive, which it sure isn’t. It’s just another f*cking political DODGE.  They should rename Jefferson City “Dodge” City. I normally try to infuse this blog with humor and wit, but sometimes things just totally PISS ME OFF. The corporations win again. Depressing, ain’t it? Check out the article.

NOTE: I just got a “like” and a subscription from Linda Edmond, who’s with a law firm specializing in asbestos-related disease cases. It’s only fair to a fellow blogger that I copy y’all on a good post of hers. It’s got some pretty good info on sources of exposure. I should clarify a few things about ‘stos, though. Most people think the stuff was banned years ago. Well, partially true. It was banned from use in many products, but not all. EPA attempted to ban it from several more, but a court struck it down. It was banned from “new products,” and banned from imported products (but with all the stuff snuck in from China, who knows for sure?) Canada and Russia still mine the stuff and sell it overseas. Europe has the closest thing to a total ban out there.

It’s still used in vinyl floor tile. Still used in auto brakes, especially for big trucks, because they’ve had trouble finding substitute materials that don’t catch on fire (Kevlar has shown some promise). A few other products as well, but at least we got rid of its use in HVAC insulation. Another thing is that mesothelioma is caused more by some of the rarer asbestos minerals, and not so much by the more common chrysotile or “white asbestos.” The UK regulates them separately; the US, being lazy, regulates them all the same.

I should mention something about asbestos products in residential settings. Not very common, but in some older houses you might find it in decorative asbestos cement exterior siding tiles, those corrugated ones, often with a wavy bottom. Those are considered “non-friable,” meaning they can’t be crumbled by hand pressure. When removing those, just remove them intact. If one snaps, it’s no big deal, the fibers are pretty much contained in the matrix. Just don’t do any sawing, grinding, or sanding. It’s also often found in asphalt roofing materials, whether a membrane on a flat roof, or those scalloped shingles on old Victorians. That stuff is also a flexible matrix, although with age and UV exposure, removing roofing materials needs to be done by trained and licensed contractors, who are subject to EPA and OSHA regulations.

Indoors, sometimes it’s in fireplace mortar. Rarely is it found in plaster or in basement insulation. The only way to be sure is through a lab test, you can’t tell by looking at it. Older acoustical ceiling tile is another candidate. On really old houses with lath & plaster interior walls, often the wiring back there has asbestos insulation on it; the black wire and the white wire have this sort of braided-looking material on the wires. If rewiring the house, don’t go using wire-strippers so you can sell the copper (many scrap dealers won’t take anything but bare wire). The fluff you generate will be a huge exposure hazard, even though the regulations (“regs”) don’t cover wiring insulation at all. As an aside, some people who take out — or steal — newer copper wiring to sell for scrap will BURN the plastic insulation off. Good way to get in trouble with the air pollution folks.

Anyway, here’s Linda’s post:

I should mention that I taught the EPA asbestos abatement courses for 10 years.


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