[log in to unmask] writes:

> People somehow need to get a realistic picture of the nature of the real
> world.  This should be a principle task of our educational system. Instead
> seems to be left to the sensational news media and those who have vested
> interests in making mountains out of molehills. Someone should be
> that.
> Mike Csontos

I did not have the opportunity to grow up and play with and live around
asbestos.  By the time I was a teen in the 1970s, asbestos was already
vilified.  If you have to remove any asbestos in your home today, it looks
like the CDC has decended, with people in white bunny suits and armed with
HEPA filters - pretty much a scene taken right out of the Hot Zone.  That
sight alone would put the fear of God into anyone, including myself.

So naturally, folks of my generation and younger were raised with a general
fear of - certainly respect for - asbestos.  I never bothered to ask "how
much asbestos is bad", and just assumed that any exposed asbestos was bad.

As a mechanical engineer, I used to design and qualify nuclear power plants
in the 1980s, and can really appreciate how implementation and usage can
be more important than the technology itself.  There are good and bad
power plant designs and operating procedures.  However, the lawyers and the
media generally point their collective finger at the few bad examples,
ignoring the many good and successful examples.

I also grew up in a home that had every surface coated in lead paint,
I used DDT to combat termites (again in the 1970s - I can still remember
the odor), and most recently I just disposed of my Diazinon at a hazmat
facility.  Although all of these substances can be very harmful, I used
them as directed taking every appropriate precaution.

The anecdotal evidence presented on this list regarding asbestos is
compelling, but at least for me, the "asbestos fear" is still deeply
ingrained, and I would need to see the underlying scientific basis of
good and bad asbestos before I let go of my media/government/lawyer
inspired fears.

Until I am thoroughly educated on asbestos, I will continue to take
precautions when working with anything that has asbestos.  Which
includes testing for it if I'm suspicious.  If anyone is aware of
any scientific studies that quantify asbestos exposure, I'd be
interested in reading them - not so much for audio, but because I
also spend time doing architectural restoration, and encounter
asbestos all the time (we either remove it, or more often simply
encapsulate it).

Eric Jacobs
The Audio Archive