Asbestos and Fire: Technological Tradeoffs and the Body at by Rachel Maines

By Rachel Maines

For far of the economic period, asbestos used to be a commonly acclaimed benchmark fabric. in the course of its heyday, it used to be synthetic into approximately 3 thousand varied items, so much of which secure lifestyles and estate from warmth, flame, acids, and electrical energy. It used to be utilized in almost each from resort retaining to army know-how to chemical production, and was once crucial to construction building from shacks to skyscrapers in each group around the usa. starting within the mid-1960s, although, this as soon as renowned mineral started a speedy fall from grace as turning out to be consciousness to the intense wellbeing and fitness dangers linked to it all started to overshadow the protections and merits it supplied.

In this thought-provoking and arguable booklet, Rachel Maines demanding situations the new vilification of asbestos via delivering a ancient point of view on american citizens’ altering perceptions approximately hazard. She means that the very luck of asbestos and different fire-prevention applied sciences in containing lethal blazes has ended in a type of old amnesia concerning the very hazards they have been alleged to decrease.

Asbestos and fireplace isn't just the main completely researched and balanced examine the heritage of asbestos, it's also a major contribution to a bigger debate that considers how the dangers of technological strategies can be evaluated. As expertise deals us ever-increasing possibilities to guard and forestall, Maines urges that studying to just accept and successfully deal with the accidental outcomes of technological techniques is a turning out to be a part of our collective accountability.

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Worm thought it was useful in childbirth, for sores, and for diaper rash.  Scientific writers as late as the eighteenth century still 34 ASBESTOS AND FIRE regarded the material as virtually miraculous. Sir James Edward Smith, for example, saw the famous asbestos shroud at Rome and reported the episode in awestruck terms: “We were shewn, by express desire, the winding-sheet of Asbestos. It is coarsely spun, as soft and pliant as silk. Our guide set fire to one corner of it, and the very same part burnt repeatedly, with great rapidity and brightness, without being at all injured.

Navy and British Construction Rules’ specification that ships be built with asbestos insulation.  Asbestos insulation provided a fire-safe means to reduce fuel consumption by more efficient energy production, thus not only conserving wartime energy stocks but also reducing pollution and dependence on imported petroleum. Of the conservation of fuel, the Asbestos Worker had written in  that insulation on one hundred square feet of pipe saved  pounds of coal every ten hours. If pipes were not insulated, “At the rate of three hundred working days per year, this means an annual waste of forty-five thousand pounds of coal, or twenty-two and a half tons for each one-hundred square feet of unprotected pipe,” not including boilers and valves.

Wood and S. R. Gloyne expressed an opinion similar to Cooke’s in a Lancet article in  and suggested that there would be no new cases of asbestosis in properly ventilated factories. ASBESTOS AND FIRE 22 In the United States and Britain in the s, studies of asbestos workers tended to focus on two red herrings: tuberculosis and silicosis. Asbestosis was thought by many to be a predisposing cause of tuberculosis. Writing in the Journal of Industrial Hygiene in , Philip Ellman comments that Merewether, in , found only  active cases of tuberculosis in an examination of  asbestos workers actually at work, and formed the impression that there was not outstanding susceptibility to tuberculosis among these workers.

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