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asbestos danger for Electricians

Asbestos exposure in the workplace (Electricians)

Linemen, wiremen and electricians typically encounter asbestos in two ways: Fibers may be released when existing asbestos-containing construction materials are cut or removed, or they may be released when working on older equipment, such as turbines, generators, heating units and hot water tanks.

The date of the materials is a factor. Asbestos use was limited in the mid-1970s, and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) deemed asbestos so dangerous that it issued a regulation that banned its use in most products manufactured or built after 1989.

Asbestos exposure can cause mesothelioma, asbestosis, lung cancer, laryngeal cancer, ovarian cancer, testicular cancer and pleural plaques. The severity of these illnesses differ, but all usually take a long time to develop.

For example, mesothelioma can take up to 45 years. Fibers penetrate the lung, stomach or abdomen walls and cause cancer in the lining. It is aggressive, and survival rates are low. Similarly, with the other cancers, the fibers enter that organ and affect the cells. Asbestosis occurs over a period of 10–20 years. Fibers accumulate in the lung and cause scarring. Over time, the lung tissues thicken, causing pain and restricting breathing. Pleural plaques are patches of thickening in the lining of the chest wall. They are a symptom of asbestos exposure but are benign and usually don’t cause any pain.

I came across this article By Tom O’Connor, Published In May 2017 Read Full Article

Asbestos danger is real in the workplace and according to this article also applies to Electricians and IT workers, this is why OSHA & AHERA set regulations that include a mandatory 2 Hour Asbestos Awareness training for all workers that may come in contact with Asbestos

Asbestos Dangers Are Still Lurking

Though banned in certain products and uses, this mineral continues to pose a health threat.

AFTER ALL THESE YEARS – long since the dangers of asbestos became common knowledge and use of the fire-resistant mineral decreased drastically – health experts say asbestos continues to make us sick.

Despite the fact that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency began banning asbestos in some products and uses in the 1970s, such as in felt laid under flooring and pipe insulation, it’s still found in older buildings and allowed in newly produced materials ranging from brake lining to window caulk. When the microscopic asbestos fibers are inhaled, they can cause problems like the chronic lung disease asbestosis, in which lung tissue can become scarred over time, hampering breathing and raising cancer risk. For some people, asbestos exposure may lead to the development of lung cancer or cause another aggressive cancer that attacks the lungs and abdomen called mesothelioma.

“The vast majority of mesotheliomas are related to asbestos exposure,” says Dr. Jae Y. Kim, chief of thoracic surgery at the City of Hope cancer center in Duarte, California, of the rare cancer that afflicts about 3,000 people annually. The consequences of asbestos exposure don’t usually appear until long after the fibers are inhaled into the lungs. That could be at least 10 years or more before asbestosis occurs, or several decades before symptoms of cancer emerge. Kim says he usually sees people with mesothelioma around 40 years after they were exposed to asbestos. Patients are typically in their 60s or older, and often had worked in naval shipyards, where asbestos was used frequently in manufacturing, or they worked in other construction or plumbing jobs.

But the composite of who’s at risk from asbestos exposure is hardly limited to workers from a bygone era. Workers and homeowners today also face their own challenges. And while long-term exposure raises one’s risk, it appears even brief exposure to asbestos can potentially have serious or even fatal consequences. “There is no known safe threshold of asbestos exposure,” Kim says. “As far as we know, even significant amounts in a short period can cause long-term health problems.”

Those at risk can include the homeowner who’s renovating an older house or a worker who is exposed to asbestos-containing materials on the job, such as while working on old pipes. Asbestos is still allowed in things like hard floor tile , brakes for vehicles – from cars and planes to trucks and trains – and insulating jackets found on heating systems and boilers; some structures are still built with the hard, asbestos-containing material transite, says Larry McGowan, supervisory industrial hygienist at the Occupational and Safety Health Administration, whose job involves protecting workers from health hazards. “So there’s a lot of materials out there,” that contain asbestos, he says.

He notes that the EPA has collaborated with states to set up systems requiring training, certification and licensing for workers doing any kind of asbestos removal. That could include removing asbestos insulation from an older building, for example. Other workers who may disturb asbestos or be around it – from mechanics who do brake work to individuals cleaning industrial areas that could contain the mineral – are also supposed to receive proper safety training, which OSHA regulates.

“Most exposures come from destruction or demolition of old asbestos-containing materials,” says Dr. Jill Ohar, a director of pulmonary rehab and professor of pulmonology at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. “Therefore it is important to approach household renovations with great care.” However, just as homeowners don’t always look before the demo , employees sometimes find that they’re unequipped to deal with the hazards that arise – or are inadequately protected by their employers. “OSHA responds to complaints from workers that are either told to work around a material they suspect is asbestos or they see some damage and they’ve asked their supervisor or building manager and nothing was done,” McGowan says.

On the home front, it’s important to be aware of the age of your abode and the condition of the materials in it, says Jill Dyken, environmental health scientist at the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry in Atlanta. The federal public health agency, under the Department of Health and Human Services, focuses on preventing harmful exposures and diseases related to toxic substances.

If you have any concerns, she recommends contacting a state or local environmental agency. Have materials tested for asbestos. If found – especially if materials are in bad condition, and therefore more likely to release the dangerous fibers that can become trapped in a person’s lungs – experts say its important to hire a contractor licensed to remove asbestos-containing materials. “Those companies can use safe removal methods to avoid contaminating the whole house with asbestos,” Dyken says.

In addition, homeowners – particularly those who live in houses or buildings constructed in the 1970s or earlier – can take preventive measures to protect themselves from possible exposure. If you’re just worried about what materials were in your home in the past or otherwise want to be proactive, regularly cleaning your house with a wet rag, mopping or using a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter to get rid of dust may help, she says.

While most of the focus has been on what man has done with asbestos – which is made of thin, fibrous crystals, and describes several different minerals ranging in color from white, brown, blue and green – it can also be potentially hazardous in places it’s found to naturally occur near the ground’s surface. The U.S. Geological Survey research geologist Bradley Van Gosen has mapped many places where asbestos naturally occurs and knit together a comprehensive national view for U.S. News & World Report.

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View map and read full article by Michael O. Schroeder, Staff Writer @ U.S.News

 

 

Floor Mastic Contains Asbestos

Bead Blasting Technique.

Bead blasting of floor tile mastic on concrete floors leaves the cleanest surface but there are a number of considerations. Not all abatement contractors have bead blasting machines so they have to rent the equipment. Also the bead blasting machine cannot clean all the way to the edge of a wall so a floor grinder with a special scarifying blade should be employed.  The grinder must be equipped with a cowl connected to a HEPA vacuum.  A thin section of mastic will remain in the corner but the majority of that can be removed with a scraper.   The major concern with Bead Blasting and grinding is dust control. The area must be under negative air pressure and adequate wetting must be employed.   The project requires full containment and the mastic debris will be friable, requiring disposal as hazardous waste.

cancer causing asbestos center complex indiana legal battle

Cancer-causing asbestos at center of complex Indiana legal battle

Larry Myers worked 40 years as an electrician, unaware he had been handling materials that could cause his death.

For the past two years, the 78-year-old man from Northern Indiana has been embroiled in a contentious legal battle against a number of manufacturers who he claims knowingly produced products that caused malignant pleural mesothelioma, a rare form of cancer that typically kills within a year of diagnosis. Myers was diagnosed on March 17, 2014, 15 years after he retired.

The cancer, doctors told him, resulted from years of exposure to asbestos in materials he had used, worked with and been around as an electrician. He also smoked a brand of cigarettes that had filters containing asbestos, according to court records.

The complex litigation reached the Indiana Supreme Court in early 2015. At issue is the constitutionality of a section of Indiana’s Product Liability Act called the statute of repose, which created a 10-year cutoff for allowing plaintiffs to sue manufacturers of asbestos-containing products. According to the statute, the 10-year countdown starts when a product reaches a user or consumer.

That posed a problem for Myers. Mesothelioma and other diseases caused by exposure to asbestos take decades to manifest themselves, sometimes up to 50 years. Indiana denied Myers any legal recourse because he became sick  after the 10-year cutoff had passed. And unlike the state’s statute of limitations, which starts from the time a person discovers an injury, the repose could expire well before the injury occurs or is discovered.

“They could be injured, but there (are) no symptoms. That’s the problem,” said Linda George, one of Myers’ lawyers. “They’re sick, but they don’t know.”

 

read full article on Indystar

 

Tile that contains asbestos

Which sized Floor Tiles contain Asbestos?

Tile that contains asbestos12-inch by 12-inch or 9-inch by 9-inch vinyl or asphalt Floor Tile…
OSHA says all asphalt or vinyl floor tile installed prior to 1980 is Presumed (PACM) to contain asbestos unless sampling proves otherwise. Pretty much all 9-inch by 9-inch contains some amount of asbestos. Typically, it contains less than 5% Chrysotile asbestos. It is common for 12-inch by 12-inch to also contain asbestos especially if it was installed prior to 1980. It is usually less than 3% Chrysotile asbestos.

Floor Tile Mastic ….

Floor Mastic Contains AsbestosFloor tile mastic often contains asbestos whether or not the vinyl or asphalt floor tile contains asbestos. This mastic is usually black in appearance and has been applied with a serrated trowel. It is not uncommon for this material to contain Tremolite asbestos but most often will contain Chrysotile asbestos between trace (1% or less) and 3%.

Chemical Stripper or Bead Blasting?

IMG_1343So what is the best way to remove floor tile mastic. Depends on the substrate and the intended new floor covering. On concrete floors, bead blasting with perimeter clean up utilizing floor grinders will leave a surface suitable for epoxy application or new mastic and flooring material. Wood surface is not suitable for bead blasting and chemical stripper will suffice. If the building is going to be demolished, cutting an old plywood floor out and disposing of it as asbestos contaminated may be more cost effective than mastic abatement.

Smoking and Asbestos

Smoking and Asbestos Exposure

Researchers have found that Asbestos workers who also smoke increase their risk of contracting lung cancer 70 to 80 times greater than the general population.

Fortunately the exposures to asbestos available today are generally much lower, and the amount of cigarettes smoked daily much less, than in the 1950’s when these studies were conducted with shipyard workers. Obviously, it is better to avoid cigarette smoke and asbestos disturbance altogether whenever possible in order to eliminate as much risk as possible

EPA or OSHA workers regulations

EPA or OSHA?

People ask “which agency is responsible for asbestos regulations?”  The answer is “Both”.The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 1982 was charged protecting the environment from asbestos in K-12 schools nationwide in the USA. Prior to that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) had developed regulations to protect Manufacturing employees.  Later, OSHA promulgated regulations for the construction industry as well, which affect all employees.The EPA regulations require training for workers and specify responsibilities for local education agencies (LEA’s) and public building owners while OSHA regulations are primarily directed towards employer responsibilities.  While there may be some overlap in the requirements, all must be addressed in order to comply.