Posted 01 July 2014 - 05:45 PM
Okay, I will violate my own self imposed oath to stay out of political debates here on the forum. Passion forces me to make a couple brief comments.
In 1995, I lost my father. He was a young 53 years old when diagnosed with mesothelioma, lung cancer specifically attributed to asbestos exposure. He was a boiler tender on a destroyer in the USN in 1957-1961. He recalled specifically many occasions when he had to strip loose asbestos insulation from pipes in order to make repairs, or in some cases, remove equipment from packing material containing loose asbestos. What has been already said is true, that loose asbestos is the danger. It can either be inhaled or swallowed. If inhaled, the fiber(s) imbed in the lining of the lung. This was what had happened in my fathers case. If swallowed, it imbeds in the stomach lining. Cancer is likely to develop. Sadly, the cancer "incubates" for as long as 25 to 30 years before symptoms develop. I don't know if medical treatment has developed in the past 18 years, but when my father was diagnosed, it was always terminal. He was extremely healthy-didn't smoke, didn't drink, was two years from a retirement in a career in the fire service and the best man I have ever known. Make no mistake about it, he died as a result of serving his country-it just took 25 years to catch up to him.
Having said that, I also don't believe that WWI helmets or gas masks are a real danger (so no, MAW, you cannot have the USMC 6th Marine helmet depicted as my Avatar). Having said that, I would not tear apart the liner of a WWI helmet or try on or disturb the contents of a gas mask. We are surrounded by asbestos-it is in old floor tiles, dry wall, brake pads, etc. For those who care to research it, the Government (the US Government that is) knew the ill effects of asbestos in the 1940's and refused to remove it from the market place predominantly because the alternative was the fiberglass used today, and fiberglass as a skin irritant resulted at that time in having to pay .50 an hour more to those workers handling it. So in other words, despite the extreme dangers posed by asbestos, it wasn't eliminated because of the almighty dollar. I for one, will not be playing Russian roulette with whether one fiber can kill you or not. This is a terrible disease. My father suffered a terrible death at an age far too young. For those who don't know, Steve McQueen suffered the same fate. He too was a Navy veteran.
So in the end, while I too believe there are some pretty ridiculous Government regulations out there, those who have been exposed to the horrible effects of mesothelioma understand first hand the true dangers of asbestos. For what it is worth-Kevin