In this issue

ASHI New England News

Hello again after a year’s absence.  Its been long span between the last newsletter and this one.  I know everyone has been on the edge of their seats. Actually, as our membership is getting older (some of us) I have been considering recycling the newsletters so they reprint every few years – say, reuse the 2010 newsletter in 2017.  Some of you may remember you’ve read an article I’ve included before - but I bet most of us won’t.  That said – and this may be one of the few valuable pieces of advice I can personally offer – you need to read something three times before you can remember it.  (Read that 3 times).  I know. I know.  I should take this to heart and cancel my subscriptions to building related magazines and just re-read the old ones.  That would make too much sense. 

In terms of ASHI New England News, I think everyone is aware that Bob Mulloy, our educational committee chairman for the last 15 or so years, has retired from active home inspecting.  He will still be teaching home inspection to prospective students,  but crawling through hot attics and nasty crawlspaces is no longer in the works.  Bob has left that to the rest of us. Thanks Bob. 

I won’t reiterate how much Bob has done for the chapter, but as Mike (Atwell) noted at the meeting, when Bob provided a list of what he does every year to put on the monthly seminars and yearly conference, it was several pages long.  I found it scary that someone could do all that and still do inspections.  We now have Greg Boyd and Chuck Mangio heading up the educational committee.  I wish them the best. 

Changes in the Limits of Liability for Massachusetts home inspectors…

I think everyone is aware of this, but the big news from last summer was the change in the Mass. home inspection law to reduce our limit of liability from three years to two.   I think most of you are aware of this – but I guess not every one is.   The nice thing is that this will cut one year off our insurance tail policy when we decide to leave the business.  Mike Atwell, Lenny Licari,  and other board members (not so much myself) did a lot of work to bring this about.  Buy them a beer (stagger your offerings  between meetings please). 

A bit of history… The possibility of getting our limitation liability came about due to an inspection Lenny Licari did with a state lobbyist.  When looking at the history of the home inspector law, the lobbyist’s firm recognized what some of the ASHI inspectors involved with the original law knew: we were never supposed to have a three year limit of liability. The three year limitation was put in place to ‘capture’ those incidences that may have occurred prior to the enactment of the law; it wasn’t supposed to be permanent. 

Anyhow,  as there was going to be a large bill coming up in the Mass. legislature this last summer – partially to streamline government  in line with  Gov. Charlie Baker’s approach,  we had to make a decision to re-engage the lobbying firm we had years ago to bring about the change from three years to one.  We made the decision as a Board to hire the lobbying firm out of our existing reserves.  For various reasons this had to be done quickly and with some stealth.  

Unfortunately, the change from three years to one was changed in the reviewing committee from three years to two.  But hey:  we got part of what we want: some is better than nothing.   Also,  from Mike Casey’s presentation at our Conference  I learned the California has a six year limit of liability – so it could be worse. 

A few thanks on this effort:  first, Tiger Home Inspection paid a tidy sum ($ amount unknown) to the lobbying firm in this effort.  Also, due to Lenny’s efforts we were able to get RJ Inspections to contribute to ASHI New England as thanks for our outlays in this effort.  Jim Brock and Morgan Cohen also have made contributions to ASHI New England to help defray our out of pocket costs.  (Purely voluntary – but if anyone wants to contribute to ASHI New England for this effort talk to Mike (no checks made out to him, however).

New members

ASHI New England has ten new members.  I’ve provided their names below. If you are reading this we thank you for joining.  We welcome you into the ASHI New England ranks.  

JOSEPH BOOTH
JONATHAN BOYD
BERN GALAT
DORON BRACHA
JAMESON MALGIERI
JOHN CARPENTER
PETER JOHNSON
LOUIS DE GEOFROY
MOHAN SINGH
SEAN WALDRON
TRACEY LITT
WALLACE LONG
CHRIS READY
GERHARD van der LINDE

ANDREW DORNEY

ATTENTION New Members: to repeat,  please send me a photograph that you would like to have in the ASHI New England web site.  (Send to Ernie Simpson at evergreenhi384@gmail.com.

Newsletter

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March 2017  

President's Message

 

Well it’s been a while since our last newsletter and we’ve had an eventful year! Last February the Board entered into negotiations with Lynch Associates, a Boston lobbying firm regarding efforts to lower our liability from three years after the inspection to one year.  Reducing this to one year after a trial period  was the original intent of the law according those who wrote it, and it would bring us in line with other service providers in a real estate sale.

     The Board approved funds for this effort. Lenny Licari, David Rossinow, and I attended fundraisers to speak with Governor Baker and Senate President Stan Rosenberg to explain our position.

     In the beginning of August, in the very last hour of the legislative session, the House and Senate reached a compromise on a two year liability and the Governor signed this into law!

     Thanks to ASHI Member Dave Riddle who initiated the idea and did a lot of the leg work, we had two great field trips to Viessman’s plant in  Warwick Rhode Island over the summer. We all got an inside look (literally) at their latest products and received a well organized orientation on the operation, inspection, and maintenance of their equipment. Feedback from the attendees was unanimously positive!

     If any of you have any ideas for a summer field trip, please let me or anyone else on the Board of Directors know, and we will look into it.

     Bob Mulloy spearheaded one of our best Conferences ever in Mystic CT in September. The Board decided to spend a bit more on the Speakers, venue, and the associated afternoon field trip this year, but by all accounts it was well worth it although our esteemed Treasurer, Don Bissex, might disagree!

     Speaking of Bob Mulloy, he retired at the end of December. He has been our amazing Education Chairman for many years and has organized 13 Conferences! We gave him a great send-off at the December meeting, topping it off by presenting him the first Bob Mulloy Award for Outstanding Dedication to ASHI New England. We have gathered a great team of Members to fill his shoes, but he will definitely be missed!

All the best for a busy Spring!

Mike Atwell

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My Take

Why I hate disposals....

Is there a more worthless piece of kitchen equipment than disposals? I know, I know, many people love their disposals.  But how many do we see that are all bound up if the home has not been occupied for a while? (Lots – and many can’t be freed up).   I also see them all of the time when the home has a septic system.  It seems that about 40 percent of the towns make people remove them to pass Title 5, but most, at least in my area, most don’t care. 

(Another reason to be recommend their removal when the home is on septic systems:   I heard of a case where the septic system for the home was replaced…new homeowner had a bunch of kids. Unfortunately for the homeowner the septic system was installed in a completely faulty manner, causing the system to fail within a few years.  It goes to court.  The builder points to a stipulation in the septic design that states that the system was not designed for a disposal.  Based on this he wins the case, even though the disposal had nothing to do with the septic failure.  Most of our clients will ignore our advice on this matter, as we all know).  

In any case,  below is a short statement on maintenance I plan to put in my reports.

“Disposals are prone to failure, especially if you don’t do the following:

  1.  Run the unit regularly, even if it is not being used.  The units will gum up with food particles if not run.
  2. The disposal is not a garbage can.  Do not put anything down that you would not eat.  Limit the amount you put into the system (in my opinion most septic systems will do fine if the amount flushed down the disposal is very limited – and the following cautions are followed).
  3. Use cold water.  (Hot water will melt any grease which will congeal in the piping). Obviously don’t put grease in any quantity down the disposal.
  4. Run cold water for a minute or so after using the disposal to flush the ground up food through the waste pipes.
  5. Cut large pieces of fruit or meat into smaller chunks as larger items will cause the unit to seize up. 
  6. Don’t put any hard in the disposal. This includes:  hard bones, unpopped popcorn kernals,  fruit pits, etc.   Errant bottles caps, screws, forks, and anything metal should obviously be removed immediately.  A hand should never be inserted into a disposal.   
  7. Don’t put anything fibrous or starchy in the disposal. This includes: celery,  artichoke leaves, potato skins (which will tend to stick to the sides of the unit or the waste piping).  Expandable foods such as rice or pasta will tend to clog up the unit also. 
  8. Eggshells shouldn’t be dumped into the disposal. They grind up into a fine powder that tends to harden and cause the blades to seize”
  9. “Septic safe” disposals were developed, in my opinion, to expand the market for disposals to homes with septic systems. These supply enzymes that reputedly help break down septic wastes.  I have no idea if this really works – other than that you should not need additional bacteria if your septic system is working properly.

Another reason to not recommend disposals: kids put their hands down the units – rarely, but it does happen.  This is why the ‘batch feed’ units with the insertable magnetic cover are the safest type to have.   

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Seminar Review

Dec. 2016  Educational Seminar: INTERIORS

December’s seminar was provided by (not fully retired) Bob Mulloy on Inspecting Interiors.  The interiors would seem to be a less technical and problematic area for inspection than say, the electrical or plumbing systems – but in practice – inspecting the interiors is just as important as the other areas.  I won’t tell you how to inspect the interiors (or anywhere, really) but I will highlight a few points that I got from the seminar that I didn’t know, had forgotten, or simply don’t think I emphasize enough.  I’ll also note a couple of my own thoughts on inspecting interiors. 

First piece of advice from Bob:  Stay consistent Try to cover things in a systematized way.  Go around the interiors in a set pattern, clockwise, counterclockwise, or whatever.  I confess I find it hard to be consistent in my approach.   The problem is we have just two eyes.  (Have you ever had the ‘helpful’ father of the buyer walk around and point out things you are about to get to?  (I try to cut this off by scanning the room (or basement) and if there is something glaring but not something I want to cover first, I’ll note “we’ll get to that” (problem) later – than continue on with what I am doing.    

Also, after many years  of entering rooms and looking straight ahead,  I finally learned first turn around and scan the entire ceiling first, as sometimes it’s the stain in the odd location that’s easy to miss.  You want to see it before the client’s father does, in any case. 

Second, things I never thought of as problems really can be problems.  Example: cracks in the tile floors.  I still can’t bring my self to ALL of these as a safety hazard  due to sharp edges, but they can be.  I need to keep reminding myself:  recommend everything for repairs. 

More advice from the seminar: 

Look at every slope and tilt in the floors and every wall crack as possible evidence of structural problems Then look below at rooms that may have been opened up, with walls removed and the support system altered.  Bob’s advice to recommend the client research all building permits related to this type of work is worth including.  Eccentric loading, where the supports or supporting beams aren’t directly below the bearing walls above are common in older homes – including my own (so don’t miss this if you inspect my home when I sell). 

Stair handrails must be continuous.  No stopping at a wall or intersection and then continuing with another handrail around the corner.  This is something I’ve been too forgiving of.   Of course,  finding handrails on many basement or attic stairs, narrow stairs, or ‘remote stairs’, is probably more common. 

Never touch anything.  We all know this but its hard to be perfect.  Back in the 80’s I once tried to go in back of a armchair to look at a window.  I accidently brushed a large vase as I went by. Fortunately the real estate agent was standing next to me and caught the MING VASE !!!’ from China before it hit the ground.  That one would have put me out of business.  For those who have trouble keeping their hands off of things,  I can provide a long list of examples (from personal experience)  of what not to touch (maybe I should do a seminar on this?).   

Carpeting with raised ridges is a tripping (safety) hazard.  Something I haven’t always thought about sufficiently– or at least, didn’t note as a “safety concern” in the report. 

Test anti-tip brackets on stoves.  They are very often missing.   I sometimes forget to do this.  But,  I also won’t test for tip brackets on gas stoves.  I once tilted a gas stove to see if it had an anti-tip bracket and instead snagged the gas line.  It didn’t rupture – but I wouldn’t tip gas stoves after this.  (I could just see the next days headlines:  “Home inspector blows up home due to severed gas pipe”)   If someone has a fool proof way to test these let me know. 

Document (and take photos of) obstructions in the interior.  I do this – but I realize – sometimes not enough.  The  value of photos is not just pointing out something in the report – but documenting that, in fact, you couldn’t see some area where, of course,  a (allegedly major) problem will of course exist under all of the boxes and debris. 

Shine a flashlight on ceilings and walls.  This is a good one.  Walls and ceilings may look great under low light conditions.  When you shine a light on the area all of the patches and past painted over stains become apparent.  (Again, leave your flashlights at home if you are inspecting my home).  War story:  I once was looking at an older fiberglass bathtub installation.  It looked ‘tired’ but serviceable. I initially didn’t see a problem.   Shining a flashlight down into the tub floor on a second ‘go round’, however, revealed numerous extremely small fissure type cracks in the base that weren’t visible in normal light.  Time for a new bathtub – but it would have been ‘on me’ if I missed this (my female client was tough. She was appreciative when I found stuff but she would have hung me out to dry if I missed this). 

These were just a few of the issues brought out at the seminar.  Attend, when possible, as I covered only a portion of the seminar.  

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Tech article 1

Is fiberglass insulation carcinogenic? 

I wish I could answer that question in this article. I can’t – but a lot of concerns are in order.  I’ve provided some background,  excepts from web sources, and links to several sites.

What I can say, from personal experience,  is that I have become particularly sensitized to fiberglass insulation such that, when I exit an attic after NOT USING a good dust mask or respirator,  I  sometimes spend the next several minutes in the bathroom gagging – sort of like what you see people do in movies where people are dying of “consumption”  (the name for tuberculosis in the old days), minus the spitting out of the blood. I’m not spitting out blood - but it isn’t pleasant either.   This is a warning to younger inspectors:  I didn’t always react as violently as I do now.  Protect your lungs now as it doesn’t get better as you get older. 

What I should do – as I know other inspectors have done – is get an x-ray of my lungs. 

One well known ASHI New England inspector told me an X-ray of his lungs revealed extensive scar tissue.  I’m sure mine would as well – although it may be hard to tell if this was caused by growing up in a home that was full of loose and deteriorated steam pipe insulation, the bags of Zonolite I poured into the attic of my first home, back in the 1980’s, or just the endless crawlspaces I have gone in at inspections – or my own homes, where I have done extensive work.  I should be dead by now, incidentally…

My personal opinion is that the newer stuff may or may not be a problem, but the older fiberglass (and rock wool) products is really nasty stuff that you don’t want to breathe in.  And, I may be trying to recall something I can’t verify, but I remember something I read years back where the fiberglass manufacturers altered the nature of the fiberglass used in insulation batts.  

Anyhow, below are some articles I copied from the web.   The first raise a lot of concerns.  The last article notes the studies that seemed to indicate that fiberglass does not pose a risk, and why fiberglass is no longer required to be labeled as a carcinogen.  (Next newsletter:  Is ceiling insulation in basements even a good idea?)

Whistleblower Exposes Shocking Evidence About A Carcinogen That is Absolutely Everywhere

It's found everywhere, from homes, schools, office buildings, cars to medications and even toothpaste. You can't escape fiberglass and we're only beginning to find out why it is so lethal. A whistleblower and former hazardous materials expert is exposing shocking and under-reported evidence that attenuated fiberglass, the kind used to insulate your home and found in countless consumer products, is more carcinogenic than asbestos. 

The fiberglass manufacturing industry includes many of the same corporations which created the asbestos tragedy, except now these corporations are larger and operate in many countries. Despite recent bankruptcies, the fiberglass manufacturers retain much wealth, in the form of factories, brand names and distribution channels. Their long fingers reach into universities and medical centers, where their money pays for "research" on the safety of their products.

The Asbestos Toxicity Nightmare


In 1973, a legislative declaration was made that asbestos constituted a public health safety hazard"

"Airborne asbestos dust and particles, such as those from sprayed asbestos slurry, asbestos-coated ventilating ducts, and certain other applications of asbestos are known to produce irreversible lung damage and bronchogenic carcinoma. One American of every four dying in urban areas of the United States has asbestos particles or dust in his or her lungs. The nature of this problem is such as to constitute a hazard to the public health and safety, and should be brought under appropriate regulation."


Shortly after, construction safety legislations were enacted to prohibit the used of sprayed-on asbestos or the use of asbestos containing materials (ACMs). At that time asbestos was integrated in almost all building materials including adhesives, caulking, plaster, insulation, tiles, cement products, shingles, flooring, wallboards and even tapes. Once valued for its thermal insulation and fire resistant properties, asbestos was eventually classified as a toxic nightmare. Some estimates state that asbestos has killed approximately 400,000 people in the United States alone. 

Although the toxicity of fiberglass was known after the World War I shortage of asbestos, the chemical industry eventually persuaded politicians to accept fiberglass as a suitable and gradual replacement to highly toxic asbestos in the 1970s. This spurred large full-scale commercial operations and production of fiberglass in the U.S.

Fiberglass: The New Asbestos, Only More Toxic and Deadly

What was not known then, that is known now, is that fiberglass may be higher in toxicity levels compared to asbestos. As asbestos was phased out, fiberglass production steadily increased. More than 30,000 commercial products now contain fiberglass. Common uses most people are aware of include thermal insulation, acoustic insulation, fireproofing and various applications in automotive components. Fiberglass insulation is present in 90 percent of homes, buildings, schools and offices. What most people may not be aware of are the lesser known uses in medications, toothpaste, nicotine products and many other consumer goods.

Fiber glass --a material that nature does not make --is now measurable everywhere in the air. The air in cities, rural areas, and remote mountain tops now contains measurable concentrations of fiber glass. If the dose-response curve is a straight line (that is to say, if half as much fiber glass causes half as much cancer) and if there is no threshold dose (no dose below which the cancer hazard disappears), then exposing the Earth's 5.7 billion human inhabitants to low concentrations of fiber glass will inevitably take its toll by causing excess cancers in some portion of the population.

In the early 1970s, a body of evidence linking these ubiquitous fibers to lung disease began to accumulate. In a series of papers published from 1969 to 1977, the National Cancer Institute determined that tiny glass fibers were “potent carcinogens” in laboratory rats and that “it is unlikely that different mechanisms are operative in man.” Specifically noted was the cancerous potential of fibrous glass in the pleura of lab animals. The pleura is the outer casing of the lungs; in humans, cancer of the pleura is called mesothelioma and it is caused by asbestos fibers.

In 1987, The New York Times reported "these synthetic fibers, already in wide use as building materials and insulation, in cars, furniture and packaging and for many other applications in a $3 billion-a-year industry, are increasingly being employed as substitutes for asbestos, a known cause of cancer and other serious illness."

Just last June the U.S. government finally added formaldehyde, a substance found in fiberglass and other commonly used products, to a list of known carcinogens.

The finding that fiberglass causes diseases similar or even more severe than asbestos was chilling news in the early 1970s and an additional 25 years of research has only confirmed the earlier warnings. In 1990, members of the U.S. National Toxicology Program (NTP), who represent ten federal health agencies, stated unanimously: “Fiberglass may reasonably be anticipated to be a carcinogen” in humans. NTP was preparing to include fiberglass in its 1992 Seventh Annual Report on Carcinogens when politics intervened. Although fiberglass industry lobbying delayed publication of NTP’s conclusions for two years, the report was sent to Congress in June 1994.

This caused public health officials to ignore the growing number of epidemiological studies that showed how deadly fiberglass really was. 

HazMat Whistleblower Tells All 

Paul Ayers worked as a Certified Hazardous Materials Supervisor with extensive industrial experience in the asbestos abatement industry. For much of his career, he was exposed to the removal of chemical and solid waste following "stringent" laws in regards to toxic waste and management. 

Ayers has worked extensively within a variety of installations and settings including FBI, military, U.S. Marshall's offices as well as power generation companies, chemical refineries, educational institutions, hospitals and medical centers to name a few. His credibility and experience in the industry are well established spanning almost a decade.

He presented evidence from a position paper sent to C. Everett Koop on behalf of Victims of Fiberglass which quoted " asbestos causes cancer NOT because it is asbestos, but because it is a (RDF) Respirable Durable Fiber (Stanton 1974). RDF's completely unrelated to asbestos such as fiberglass and rock wool are equally carcinogenic."

"A question arises from the Abatement of the Asbestos," according to Ayers. Mainly, what material to reinsulate thermally that is safer than asbestos? "A product was made by Dow Corning called Attenuated FiberGlass, a 'safe' product as claimed by its manufacturer, this product comes in various forms," he added.

"Many times in general construction this attenuated fiberglass was blown into attics, walls, cavities to insulate properly. With a major issue, no one stated that attenuated fiberglass was found to be extremely dangerous. It is glass and the verification of friable toxicity and carcinogenic," he stated. 

He questions that somehow the toxicity of fiberglass must have been purposely hidden from the public. "Could it be because it is the globally corporate replacement for ultra hazardous asbestos, and this attenuated fiberglass is everywhere literally!"

Depending on specific factors, Ayers proclaimed that attenuated fiberglass may potentially be 10 times more carcinogenic than asbestos. "Why did the FDA and Federal officials allow this attenuated fiberglass [to] be placed by drug companies in medications?" 

The arrangement between the fiberglass and pharmaceutical industries was a favourable one because it allowed the integration of fiberglass in medications so that tiny glass shards would create very small incisions in the stomach lining to increase the absorbability of medications. The use and labeling within medications is typically masked under the general grouping of silicon dioxide additives.

Abrasives constitute at least 50% of a typical toothpaste. Colgate and other varieties of toothpaste originally allowed fiberglass within their formulations to facilitate tiny incisions on the gums which promoted fluoride absorption directly into the blood stream. The toothpaste industry now also incorporates the use silicon dioxide which functions much in the same way fiberglass does.

In tobacco products a similar method in cigarette filters allows for increased nicotine absorption. Researchers from the Department of Molecular Immunology, Roswell Park Cancer Institute reporting in the Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers Prevention Journal,documented the contamination of a cigarette-appearing smoking articles labeled Eclipse with glass fibers, fragments, and particles.

In Ayers' research, he claims that Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder (COPD), colon cancer, ulcers and lymphomas may all be caused by attenuated fiberglass. 

"I have come to several friable facts," according to Ayers:
1. Doctors are ignorant of this very fact!
2. Government has knowledge of attenuated fiberglass and the studies and analytical testing performed with certifiable research and development.
3.Attenuated fiberglass is everywhere, in almost every car, every building in some form or fashion, heating ducts, even inside cooking stoves and refrigerators. 

Damages DNA 

Three different kinds of glass fibers were poisonous to cells and damaged DNA in studies performed by a team of doctors at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), the medical research arm of the U.S. Department of Labor. Damaged DNA can unleash a process of accelerated and even unrestrained cell growth, and the research showed cells with fiberglass-damaged DNA exhibited these tendencies. Although the exact mechanism by which cancers and tumors grow is not yet deciphered, damaged DNA and abnormal cellular reproduction is widely thought to be the first step.

NIOSH researchers set out to answer three questions about glass fibers: whether they can introduce a transformation in the structure and form of cells, whether the induction of "morphological" changes could be related to fiber size, and whether cells thus transformed would exhibit accelerated, tumor-like (neoplastic), growth.

"These results indicate that glass fibers are capable of transforming mammalian (BALB/c-3T3) cells in vitro as a function of their physical properties and that glass-fiber-induced transformed cells possess neoplastic characteristics."

Although the exact mechanism is unclear, there is little doubt of the carcinogenic potential of fiberglass and its ability to negatively affect DNA.

Fiberglass Nominated As a Top Occupational Hazard


Fiberglass was nominated as a top concern on the synthetic mineral fiber list to The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) Priority Planning Committee by Victims of Fiberglass in 1994. 

"The OSHA Priority Planning Process has been aimed at identifying the top priority workplace safety and health hazards in need of either regulatory or non-regulatory action," according to an OSHA statement. "The resulting set of priorities is intended to round out the agency's existing programs in order to ensure that the leading causes of occupational injuries, illnesses and deaths are being effectively addressed."

OSHA papers noted that fiberglass exposed workers demonstrated a significant excess of lung cancer. "Several epidemiological studies have demonstrated statistically significant elevations in the risk of lung cancer and other respiratory system cancers among workers employed in fibrous glass and mineral wool manufacturing facilities," an OSHA official stated. 

According to OSHA researchers, an 8-hour exposure to 0.043 glass fibers per cubic centimeter of air is sufficient to cause lung cancer in one-in-every-thousand exposed workers during a 45-year working lifetime. In rural areas, the concentration of fiber glass in outdoor air is reported to be 0.00004 fibers per cubic centimeter, about 1000 times below the amount thought to endanger one-in-every-thousand fiber glass workers. 

However, people in rural areas breathe the air 24 hours a day, not 8 hours. Furthermore, a human lifetime is 70 years, not the 45 years assumed for a "work lifetime." Moreover, one-in-a-thousand is not adequate protection for the general public; U.S. Environmental Protection Agency uses one-in-100,000 or one-in-a-million as a standard for public exposures. (And, finally, in urban air, there's 10 to 40 times as much fiber glass as in rural air.) Therefore, the amount of fiber glass in the outdoor air in the U.S. and Europe (and presumably elsewhere) already seems higher than prudent public health policies would permit. Assuming a straight-line dose-response curve and no threshold, we believe there is ample reason to be concerned about the human health hazards posed by fiber glass in the general environment. (And this says nothing about the hazards to wildlife.) 

It has been 25 years since researchers at the National Cancer Institute concluded that fiber glass is a potent carcinogen in experimental animals. During that time, additional research has confirmed those findings again and again. During the same period, the amount of fiber glass manufactured has increased rapidly year after year. Ninety percent of American homes now contain fiber glass insulation. All of this fiber glass will eventually be released into the environment unless special (and very expensive) precautions are taken to prevent its release. We believe the likelihood of Americans taking such precautions is nil. Billions of pounds of fiber glass now in buildings will eventually be dumped into landfills, from which it will leak out slowly as time passes. Elevated concentrations of fiber glass are already measurable in the air above landfills today.

Why You Are At Risk and What To Do About It

According to the American Lung Association, "home owners are at risk." Like asbestos, fiberglass is now recognized for creating serious health problems. According to the American Lung Association, fiberglass insulation packages display cancer warning labels.

“These labels,” says the Lung Association, “are required by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) based on determinations made by the International Agency for Research on Cancer and the National Toxicology Program.”

The signs of fiberglass poisoning in your home are straightforward and obvious to even the mildly observant person:

  •                             Pervasive dustiness, even after repeated cleanings
  •                             Glass-like dust which glitters when struck by light.
  •                             Most or all individuals in the home, including pets, have strange illnesses which do not respond to conventional treatments, especially skin and breathing ailments
  •                             Ill individuals feel better when out of the house for extended periods of time.
  •                             Individuals feel worse when the heating or air conditioning is on.
  •                             Strange stains around or under HVAC output areas.


If some or all of these symptoms are present, then it's time to do some sleuthing.

If you are convinced that your health woes are worse when the heating or air conditioning is on, buy some wide, clear cellophane tape. Partially cover the registers of the heating/ac system, then run it for several hours. If the tape becomes covered with glassy dust, then you may have found the source of your problems.

Another quick test is to shine a strong flashlight in the dark. If you observe glimmering fiber-like particles, you have more reason to continue sleuthing.

To find out more about what is coming out of the ducts, you may hire an industrial hygienist to run some scientifically acceptable tests. The test mediums may be taken to a laboratory and analyzed under a scanning electron microscope or similar device. Such analysis can tell you how many fibers there are and their sizes, but may not be able to tell you the composition of the fibers (i.e. glass, asbestos, slag etc.)

Your hygienist may also be able to do a "wipe" test. To do one of these, find some area in the house which does not get disturbed or dusted often. Wipe some of the dust onto a perfectly clean cloth or paper medium, and place that into a clean plastic bag. Whatever shows up on that towel is what you are breathing.

Discovering your home is contaminated with fiberglass is shocking and frightening. Coping with the disaster, and cleaning it up, can be exhausting and time consuming, but it also can be empowering, as you take control over your environment and methodically remove the source of your ills.

The best recourse in all instances of fiberglass contamination is to make alternate living arrangements until your home is safe to occupy. Stay in a hotel, with friends, neighbors or relatives, stay in a tent in your back yard if the weather is accommodating. You will be amazed at how quickly you recover from your most debilitating fiberglass poisoning symptoms, how your mental outlook improves, and how well you sleep, once you relocate to a clean environment.

Unless your home is a rental, and you can simply leave*, you will need to clean the house inside and out. The most critical part of any clean up is the planning; in order to be completely effective, the clean up must encompass the source of the contamination, every area of the house and the entire contents of the house. Any element which is left uncleaned could ultimately re-contaminate the entire house.

You may wish to enlist the help of professionals to clean your house. Professional cleaning services abound in any populated area. As with most things, it is best to interview several firms. Their experience, the services they offer, and the prices they quote will vary widely.

Cleaners with little experience may do an incompetent job, and therefore may turn out to be a waste of time and money. Highly qualified specialists, such as asbestos removal companies, may be quite costly, but if they do the job right, could be the best bargain. It may be most cost effective to contract out the more difficult or specialized work, while directing the various contractors and doing much of the grunt work yourself.

Especially important is the cleaning of the heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system. This is one area where it is particularly beneficial to have professional help. Once again, the whole system must be cleaned and sealed at once. Cleaning or replacing part of a contaminated HVAC system almost never yields a fiberglass-free system. That is because once fiberglass gets into the HVAC system, it is distributed by the air handler throughout the entire system, as well as the entire house.

If the contamination is severe, or if the ducts themselves are lined on the inside with exposed fiberglass, consider replacing the system. It will be nearly impossible to clean. Ducts with exposed fiberglass lining on the inside are particularly susceptible to mold and bacteria growth in hot, humid climates. Cleaning the exposed fiberglass lining on these ducts may compromise the resins holding the fibers down, leading to more fiber shedding and more contamination. Flexible ducts, which often have fiberglass sealed between two layers of plastic, are relatively inexpensive and less toxic.

Does it make sense to continue allowing needless suffering from the inhaling of microscopic shards of glass coated with formaldehyde?
Because of its monstrous potential liability, the fiberglass industry can never admit to a sliver of possibility its products cause disease, especially cancer. A candid discussion about the merits and hazards of today's insulation products benefits society substantially in the long run. The asbestos legacy shows that senseless human suffering and mind-numbing litigation always follow when society allows wealthy manufacturers to do as they please.

Marco Torres is a research specialist, writer and consumer advocate for healthy lifestyles. He holds degrees in Public Health and Environmental Science and is a professional speaker on topics such as disease prevention, environmental toxins and health policy.

http://projectcensored.org/-fiberglass-the-carcinogen-thats-deadly-and-everywhere/

April 30, 2010

Sources: RACHELS ENVIRONMENT & HEALTH WEEKLY #444 Date: 6/1/95; “A Carcinogen That’s Everywhere”; Author: Peter Montague; IN THESE TIMES Date: 8/21/95; “Fiberglass, the Asbestos of the 90’s”; Author: Joel Bleifuss

SYNOPSIS: A World War I era shortage of asbestos, once valued for its thermal insulation and fire resistant properties, spurred the first full-scale production of fiberglass in the United States. Unfortunately, man-made glass fibers have been found to share another characteristic with naturally-occurring asbestos fibers: they can cause lung cancer when inhaled.

According to the American Journal of Industrial Medicine, asbestos will have killed 300,000 Americans by the end of this century. As it was phased out, fiberglass production has steadily increased. More than 30,000 commercial products now contain fiberglass. Uses include thermal insulation, acoustic insulation, fireproofing and various applications in automotive components. Fiberglass insulation is present in 90 percent of American homes.

In the early 1970s, a body of evidence linking these ubiquitous fibers to lung disease began to accumulate. In a series of papers published from 1969 to 1977, the National Cancer Institute determined that tiny glass fibers were “potent carcinogens” in laboratory rats and that “it is unlikely that different mechanisms are operative in man.” Specifically noted was the cancerous potential of fibrous glass in the pleura of lab animals. The pleura is the outer casing of the lungs; in humans, cancer of the pleura is called mesothelioma and it is caused by asbestos fibers.

The finding that fiberglass causes diseases similar to asbestos was chilling news in the early 1970s and an additional 25 years of research has only confirmed the earlier warnings. In 1990, members of the U.S. National Toxicology Program (NTP), who represent ten federal health agencies, stated unanimously: “Fiberglass may reasonably be anticipated to be a carcinogen” in humans. NTP was preparing to include fiberglass in its 1992 Seventh Annual Report on Carcinogens when politics intervened. Although fiberglass industry lobbying delayed publication of NTP’s conclusions for two years, the report was sent to Congress in June 1994.

Following the report, Health and Human Services finally determined that fiberglass should be listed as a substance “for which there is limited evidence of carcinogenicity in humans and/or sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity in experimental animals.” Yet the news made scarcely a ripple in the national media. In These Times learned from a source who asked to remain anonymous that ABC news executives bowed to industry pressure not to air a “20/20” investigation on the dangers of fiberglass. What coverage there was played down any threat to public health. Frank Swoboda and Maryann Haggerty in the Washington Post reported as fact the assertion of Public Health Service spokesman Bill Grigg that there is no data “that would indicate there’s any problem that would involve any consumer or worker.” Grigg ignored six epidemiological studies that showed otherwise.

Robert Horowitz, chairman of Victims of Fiberglass, said, “The arguments from industry are the same arguments that we’ve seen time and time again. It doesn’t matter what the substance is. Whether it is DDT or cigarettes or asbestos, industry says, “You can’t prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that we are killing you.’ But do we have to wait for that absolute scientific proof before we do something? Breathing in microscopic shards of glass could not possibly be good for you.”

SSU Censored Researcher: Mike Thomas

COMMENTS: Author Peter Montague, of the Environmental Research Foundation, said the subject received almost no media attention, “even after the U.S. National Toxicology Program (NTP) declared in June 1994 that fiberglass is ‘reasonably anticipated to be a carcinogen.’ This story should have been on every television set and in every newspaper. Unfortunately it was hardly covered at all. Part of the responsibility lies with government officials because they chose to minimize the importance of their own announcement. It seems to me, their purpose was most likely to protect the interest of the $2 billion-per-year fiberglass industry.

“Fiberglass is pervasive in our society—90 percent of all homes are now insulated with it—and it will cause many cancers in the coming decades. It should be banned for the same reasons that asbestos has been banned. Of particular importance is the finding that fiberglass is now found everywhere in the environment. Forty years ago one could not measure fiberglass in the ambient air. Today fiberglass can be measured in the air on remote mountain tops in California. Since fiberglass is ‘reasonably anticipated to be a carcinogen,’ the public needs to know the facts about fiberglass, so that public health policy can evolve through informed debate.”

The National Toxicology Program (NTP) first proposed to list fiberglass as a probable carcinogen in its Seventh Annual (1993) Report on Carcinogens. “In response,” Montague said, “the North American Insulation Manu-facturers Association (NAIMA) hired a former member of President Clinton’s transition team to lobby Donna Shalala, Secretary of Health and Human Services. After receiving a letter from NAIMA’s lobbyist, Secretary Shalala postponed the publication of the NTP report and called for an unprecedented review of NTP’s decision on fiberglass. Furthermore, NAIMA threatened to take legal action if the NTP listed fiberglass as a probable carcinogen. NAIMA has four members: CertainTeed Corp.; Owens-Corning Fiber Glass Corp; Knauf Fiber Glass GMBH; and Schuller International, Inc. (formerly Manville Co.).

“Donna Shalala eventually accepted NTP’s classification of fiberglass as a probable carcinogen but her agency downplayed the announcement of the NTP report and particularly downplayed the importance of declaring fiberglass a probable human carcinogen. The interests of the four corporations that comprise NAIMA are uniquely served by Secretary Shalala’s spin on the issue, and by the scant news coverage.”

Montague concludes that while the debate over the hazards of fiberglass continues to rage, “five billion pounds of new fiberglass are being added each year to the world’s growing inventory of this poison. As a result, our children will be breathing a few fibers of fiberglass with every breath they take, no matter where on earth they take it. This cannot be good news.”

Joel Bleifuss, author of the In These Times article, charged that the “potential threat to human health from fiberglass has received virtually no exposure in the mass media, with the exception of some very poor reporting in the Washington Post.” While some journalists were very interested in the subject, no major coverage resulted. For example, a reporter for a major television news program explored this story and invested a lot of time researching the subject. But the story was finally rejected by the executive producer after the reporter concluded that fiberglass was more harmful than the industry admits. Bleifuss acknowledged that his concern about press freedom at a network news show is “more disturbing to me as a journalist than is the fact that a story about a public health threat was canned by a major network news executive.”

Bleifuss feels the fiberglass issue is a subject in dire need of public exposure. “Virtually every homeowner I know has at some time in their life installed fiberglass without a respirator. I have done so several times. Further, I believe that exposure of the issue would help curtail the dangerous practice of insulating houses with blown fiberglass particles.”

The politically powerful fiberglass industry is clearly benefiting from the limited coverage given this subject, according to Bleifuss who adds, “Dow Corning, which is particularly influential, is doing all it can to prevent fiberglass from becoming another asbestos-like scandal.”

In These Times published two letters concerning Bleifuss’ article in its November 13, 1995, issue. In one, Robert Horowitz, cited above in the synopsis, notes that formaldehyde, a known carcinogen, is used in manufacturing fiberglass insulation and believes it deserves further study. In the other, Catherine I. Imus, communications director for the North American Insulation Manufacturers Association, said, “…in the most recently completed review of the available scientific evidence regarding fiberglass, researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health concluded that “taken together, the data indicate that among those occupationally exposed, glass fibers do not appear to increase the risk of respiratory system cancer.”

Bleifuss responded that the review failed to examine published work by scientists whose research has shown fiberglass to be carcinogenic. And he points out, “This glaring omission is perhaps explained by the fact that the Harvard study was supported by a grant from the North American Insulation Manufacturers Association.”

http://projectcensored.org/-fiberglass-the-carcinogen-thats-deadly-and-everywhere/

April 30, 2010

Sources: RACHELS ENVIRONMENT & HEALTH WEEKLY #444 Date: 6/1/95; “A Carcinogen That’s Everywhere”; Author: Peter Montague; IN THESE TIMES Date: 8/21/95; “Fiberglass, the Asbestos of the 90’s”; Author: Joel Bleifuss

SYNOPSIS: A World War I era shortage of asbestos, once valued for its thermal insulation and fire resistant properties, spurred the first full-scale production of fiberglass in the United States. Unfortunately, man-made glass fibers have been found to share another characteristic with naturally-occurring asbestos fibers: they can cause lung cancer when inhaled.

According to the American Journal of Industrial Medicine, asbestos will have killed 300,000 Americans by the end of this century. As it was phased out, fiberglass production has steadily increased. More than 30,000 commercial products now contain fiberglass. Uses include thermal insulation, acoustic insulation, fireproofing and various applications in automotive components. Fiberglass insulation is present in 90 percent of American homes.

In the early 1970s, a body of evidence linking these ubiquitous fibers to lung disease began to accumulate. In a series of papers published from 1969 to 1977, the National Cancer Institute determined that tiny glass fibers were “potent carcinogens” in laboratory rats and that “it is unlikely that different mechanisms are operative in man.” Specifically noted was the cancerous potential of fibrous glass in the pleura of lab animals. The pleura is the outer casing of the lungs; in humans, cancer of the pleura is called mesothelioma and it is caused by asbestos fibers.

The finding that fiberglass causes diseases similar to asbestos was chilling news in the early 1970s and an additional 25 years of research has only confirmed the earlier warnings. In 1990, members of the U.S. National Toxicology Program (NTP), who represent ten federal health agencies, stated unanimously: “Fiberglass may reasonably be anticipated to be a carcinogen” in humans. NTP was preparing to include fiberglass in its 1992 Seventh Annual Report on Carcinogens when politics intervened. Although fiberglass industry lobbying delayed publication of NTP’s conclusions for two years, the report was sent to Congress in June 1994.

Following the report, Health and Human Services finally determined that fiberglass should be listed as a substance “for which there is limited evidence of carcinogenicity in humans and/or sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity in experimental animals.” Yet the news made scarcely a ripple in the national media. In These Times learned from a source who asked to remain anonymous that ABC news executives bowed to industry pressure not to air a “20/20” investigation on the dangers of fiberglass. What coverage there was played down any threat to public health. Frank Swoboda and Maryann Haggerty in the Washington Post reported as fact the assertion of Public Health Service spokesman Bill Grigg that there is no data “that would indicate there’s any problem that would involve any consumer or worker.” Grigg ignored six epidemiological studies that showed otherwise.

Robert Horowitz, chairman of Victims of Fiberglass, said, “The arguments from industry are the same arguments that we’ve seen time and time again. It doesn’t matter what the substance is. Whether it is DDT or cigarettes or asbestos, industry says, “You can’t prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that we are killing you.’ But do we have to wait for that absolute scientific proof before we do something? Breathing in microscopic shards of glass could not possibly be good for you.”

SSU Censored Researcher: Mike Thomas

COMMENTS: Author Peter Montague, of the Environmental Research Foundation, said the subject received almost no media attention, “even after the U.S. National Toxicology Program (NTP) declared in June 1994 that fiberglass is ‘reasonably anticipated to be a carcinogen.’ This story should have been on every television set and in every newspaper. Unfortunately it was hardly covered at all. Part of the responsibility lies with government officials because they chose to minimize the importance of their own announcement. It seems to me, their purpose was most likely to protect the interest of the $2 billion-per-year fiberglass industry.

“Fiberglass is pervasive in our society—90 percent of all homes are now insulated with it—and it will cause many cancers in the coming decades. It should be banned for the same reasons that asbestos has been banned. Of particular importance is the finding that fiberglass is now found everywhere in the environment. Forty years ago one could not measure fiberglass in the ambient air. Today fiberglass can be measured in the air on remote mountain tops in California. Since fiberglass is ‘reasonably anticipated to be a carcinogen,’ the public needs to know the facts about fiberglass, so that public health policy can evolve through informed debate.”

The National Toxicology Program (NTP) first proposed to list fiberglass as a probable carcinogen in its Seventh Annual (1993) Report on Carcinogens. “In response,” Montague said, “the North American Insulation Manu-facturers Association (NAIMA) hired a former member of President Clinton’s transition team to lobby Donna Shalala, Secretary of Health and Human Services. After receiving a letter from NAIMA’s lobbyist, Secretary Shalala postponed the publication of the NTP report and called for an unprecedented review of NTP’s decision on fiberglass. Furthermore, NAIMA threatened to take legal action if the NTP listed fiberglass as a probable carcinogen. NAIMA has four members: CertainTeed Corp.; Owens-Corning Fiber Glass Corp; Knauf Fiber Glass GMBH; and Schuller International, Inc. (formerly Manville Co.).

“Donna Shalala eventually accepted NTP’s classification of fiberglass as a probable carcinogen but her agency downplayed the announcement of the NTP report and particularly downplayed the importance of declaring fiberglass a probable human carcinogen. The interests of the four corporations that comprise NAIMA are uniquely served by Secretary Shalala’s spin on the issue, and by the scant news coverage.”

Montague concludes that while the debate over the hazards of fiberglass continues to rage, “five billion pounds of new fiberglass are being added each year to the world’s growing inventory of this poison. As a result, our children will be breathing a few fibers of fiberglass with every breath they take, no matter where on earth they take it. This cannot be good news.”

Joel Bleifuss, author of the In These Times article, charged that the “potential threat to human health from fiberglass has received virtually no exposure in the mass media, with the exception of some very poor reporting in the Washington Post.” While some journalists were very interested in the subject, no major coverage resulted. For example, a reporter for a major television news program explored this story and invested a lot of time researching the subject. But the story was finally rejected by the executive producer after the reporter concluded that fiberglass was more harmful than the industry admits. Bleifuss acknowledged that his concern about press freedom at a network news show is “more disturbing to me as a journalist than is the fact that a story about a public health threat was canned by a major network news executive.”

Bleifuss feels the fiberglass issue is a subject in dire need of public exposure. “Virtually every homeowner I know has at some time in their life installed fiberglass without a respirator. I have done so several times. Further, I believe that exposure of the issue would help curtail the dangerous practice of insulating houses with blown fiberglass particles.”

The politically powerful fiberglass industry is clearly benefiting from the limited coverage given this subject, according to Bleifuss who adds, “Dow Corning, which is particularly influential, is doing all it can to prevent fiberglass from becoming another asbestos-like scandal.”

In These Times published two letters concerning Bleifuss’ article in its November 13, 1995, issue. In one, Robert Horowitz, cited above in the synopsis, notes that formaldehyde, a known carcinogen, is used in manufacturing fiberglass insulation and believes it deserves further study. In the other, Catherine I. Imus, communications director for the North American Insulation Manufacturers Association, said, “…in the most recently completed review of the available scientific evidence regarding fiberglass, researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health concluded that “taken together, the data indicate that among those occupationally exposed, glass fibers do not appear to increase the risk of respiratory system cancer.”

Bleifuss responded that the review failed to examine published work by scientists whose research has shown fiberglass to be carcinogenic. And he points out, “This glaring omission is perhaps explained by the fact that the Harvard study was supported by a grant from the North American Insulation Manufacturers Association.”

ARTICLE NOTING EVIDENCE FIBERGLASS IS NOT A RISK

Cancer Warning Labels Removed from Fiberglass Building Insulation Products

By Angus E. Crane

The North American Insulation Manufacturers Association ("NAIMA") and its fiberglass member companies have promoted the usefulness and safety of fiberglass insulation products since the 1930s. Throughout the years, NAIMA has asserted that "biosoluble" fiber, fiber that readily dissolves in the lungs, is safe to manufacture, install and use when the proper work processes are followed.

Man-made vitreous fibers were identified as a possible carcinogen in 1987 by the International Agency for Research on Cancer ("IARC"). These claims were later adopted by domestic governmental bodies. However, since then, scientists, both internationally and domestically, have questioned the evidence backing the classification of fiberglass as a carcinogen. Medical and scientific evidence has been collected and analyzed from groups in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, The Netherlands, Australia, New Zealand, and others since the 1930s.

In October 2001, IARC changed the classification of "insulation glass wool," moving it from Group 2B (possibly carcinogenic) to Group 3 (not classifiable as to its carcinogenicity to humans)."1

Recent Developments in the United States

On June 10, 2011, the National Toxicology Program (NTP) removed from its list of "Reasonably Anticipated To Be Carcinogens" biosoluble glass wool fibers used for home and building insulation, drawing a distinction between biosoluble glass wool fibers and "certain glass wool fibers (inhalable) [that are] reasonably anticipated to be human carcinogens" in an explanatory fact sheet. The fact sheet notes "Not all glass wool fibers cause cancer. Certain refers to those fibers that can enter the respiratory tract, are more durable, and remain in the lungs for long periods of time."2 The NTP action means that a cancer warning label for biosoluble fiberglass home and building insulation is no longer required under federal law. Home and building insulation that will no longer carry a cancer warning label include fiberglass residential, commercial, and industrial insulation products; specifically, fiberglass pipe and board products will not carry a cancer warning label. In fact, the United States was the only remaining jurisdiction in the world where biosoluble fiberglass insulation was required to carry a cancer warning label.

Also in 2011, the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) published a modification of its Proposition 65 listing to include only "glass wool fibers (inhalable and biopersistent)."3 The OEHHA action means that a cancer warning label for biosoluble fiberglass home and building insulation is no longer required under California law.

Delisting fiberglass insulation from the NTP's Report on Carcinogens (RoC) and California's Prop. 65 list of carcinogens is consistent with the findings or conclusions reported by the IARC4 in 2002; the National Academy of Sciences (NAS)5 in 2000; the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) in 20046; and Health Canada7 in 1993.

What is a Biosoluble Fiber?

Before any further discussion on these two significant developments, it is imperative that the reader understand the meaning of "biosoluble." A "biosoluble" fiber is one that readily dissolves in the lung. "Biopersistent" fibers are fibers that remain in the lungs for a longer time. These more durable fibers are not used for insulation and represent a small percentage of glass wool fibers produced in the United States; biopersistent fibers actually constitute less than one percent of the glass wool fibers produced in the United States. Biopersistent fibers are "used for high-efficiency air filtration media, acid battery separators and certain fine-diameter glass fibres."8

To identify those fibers described by NTP and California as biosoluble, NAIMA and its members have adopted as a policy the European Union (EU) criteria to identify which fibers require cancer warning labels under U.S. and California requirements. The EU provides a scientific classification system for differentiating and distinguishing between those glass fibers that require a cancer warning label from those that do not. The EU system relies on standardized in vivo protocols. For additional details, the reader may consult the EU Guidelines ECB/TM27 rev. 7.9

The Historical Backdrop

The labeling of fiberglass insulation as a possible carcinogen had its genesis in animal implantation studies. Implantation is a non-physiological route of exposure. These studies literally injected or surgically implanted large quantities of fibers directly into the abdomen, pleura (lining of the chest and lungs), or trachea of the animals, bypassing the animals' normal respiratory systems' protective mechanisms. Some of these studies resulted in tumors.10

Relying upon the studies where tumors occurred in animals after implantation, IARC, in 1988, classified fiberglass as a possible carcinogen. California's OEHHA (Prop. 65) and NTP followed shortly thereafter with similar listings. These listings were based on the animal implantation studies, however.11 Over time, most in the scientific community agreed that these implantation studies were not appropriate for characterizing human health risk.12 It was the consensus of a World Health Organization (WHO) panel of fiber toxicologists that these non-physiological methods of administering fibers to animals were not appropriate substitutes for inhalation studies for assessing risk of fibers to human health.13

As the legitimacy of implantation studies was called into question, a series of inhalation studies was conducted at RCC Laboratories in Geneva, Switzerland. The results of these studies demonstrated that animals exposed through inhalation to large doses of glass wool fibers did not develop tumors.14 With this animal data and expanded human epidemiological data, IARC revisited its earlier decision. In October 2001, a panel of international experts reviewed the data and concluded that fiberglass and rock and slag wool fibers used for thermal and acoustical insulation were considered "not classifiable as to carcinogenicity to humans (Group 3)." IARC noted specifically:

"Epidemiologic studies published during the 15 years since the previous IARC Monographs review of these fibres in 1988 provide no evidence of increased risks of lung cancer or of mesothelioma (cancer of the lining of the body cavities) from occupational exposures during manufacture of these materials, and inadequate evidence overall of any cancer risk." 15

IARC also included a Group 3 classification for continuous glass filaments and the Group 2B "possible carcinogen" classification for certain special-purpose glass wools also known as biopersistent fibers.16

Catching Up With the Rest of the World

After the IARC decision, the United States was the only jurisdiction in the world that required a cancer warning label on biosoluble fiberglass insulation. NAIMA immediately petitioned the NTP seeking a similar delisting from the RoC. In submitting comments to NTP, NAIMA emphasized that glass wool fibers delisted by IARC are not classified and labeled as carcinogens outside the United States. Under this scenario, a company could produce a glass wool fiber product at a plant in the United States and ship it to Europe, Canada, or anywhere else in the world without a cancer warning label. If that identical product was distributed in the United States, it would be required to carry a cancer warning label.

It is useful to understand that to be listed on the RoC, certain criteria must be satisfied (published in the Report on Carcinogens, Twelfth Edition [12th RoC]):

Known To Be Human Carcinogen:

There is sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity from studies in humans, which indicates a causal relationship between exposure to the agent, substance, or mixture, and human cancer.

Reasonably Anticipated To Be Human Carcinogen:

There is limited evidence of carcinogenicity from studies in humans, which indicates that causal interpretation is credible, but that alternative explanations, such as chance, bias, or confounding factors, could not adequately be excluded,

there is sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity from studies in experimental animals, which indicates there is an increased incidence of malignant and/or a combination of malignant and benign tumors (1) in multiple species or at multiple tissue sites, or (2) by multiple routes of exposure, or (3) to an unusual degree with regard to incidence, site, or type of tumor, or age at onset,

there is less than sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity in humans or laboratory animals; however, the agent, substance, or mixture belongs to a well-defined, structurally related class of substances whose members are listed in a previous Report on Carcinogens as either known to be a human carcinogen or reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen, or there is convincing relevant information that the agent acts through mechanisms indicating it would likely cause cancer in humans.

Conclusions regarding carcinogenicity in humans or experimental animals are based on scientific judgment, with consideration given to all relevant information. Relevant information includes, but is not limited to, dose response, route of exposure, chemical structure, metabolism, pharmacokinetics, sensitive sub-populations, genetic effects, or other data relating to mechanism of action or factors that may be unique to a given substance. For example, there may be substances for which there is evidence of carcinogenicity in laboratory animals, but there are compelling data indicating that the agent acts through mechanisms that do not operate in humans and would therefore not reasonably be anticipated to cause cancer in humans.

This evidence can include traditional cancer epidemiology studies, data from clinical studies, and/or data derived from the study of tissues or cells from humans exposed to the substance in question, which can be useful for evaluating whether a relevant cancer mechanism is operating in humans.

 The 12th RoC profile for certain glass wool fibers (inhalable) indicated that biosoluble glass wool fibers do not meet the criteria for listing. Shortly after the NTP action, California's OEHHA published a modification to its Prop. 65 listing to include only "Glass wool fibers (inhalable and biopersistent)."17

Conclusion

IARC, NTP, and California's Prop. 65 do not often remove substances from their lists of carcinogens. NAIMA and its members are not surprised by the recent development, however, because they are supported by medical and scientific evidence. NAIMA restates that "Fiberglass insulation products are safe to manufacture, install and use when recommended work practices are followed."18

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Energy Related

Every God-Damned Day

As Brad Plumer notes over at Vox, we're nowhere close to the end of the fossil fuels era. That didn't stop climate scientist Michael Mann from asserting that

I think we are witnessing the end of the age of fossil fuels and the beginning of a new age of a clean global energy economy.

Brad included the big energy graph.

That nearly invisible yellow sliver at the top ("other renewables") is the current contribution of wind and solar to global energy (in millions of tons oil-equivalent).

Brad then quotes Robert Wilson, who I am not familiar with.

... By and large, oil, gas, and coal continue to rule our world.

Robert Wilson puts it vividly: "Fossil fuels continue to dominate new energy infrastructure. Maersk is not unveiling solar powered container ships. Boeing and Airbus appear content with the age of kerosene. Steel makers are sticking with coal. 20 million new cars are added to China’s roads each year. ... India plans to double its coal production by 2020. Green Germany just opened a new coal power plant last month." And on and on.

Yes, on and on. Clearly that 1.5 degree target is toast, but what about 2 degrees? How much carbon-free energy must be deployed to reach the promised land?

It will take massively ambitious measures to halt these trends and shift toward cleaner energy. To prevent serious global warming, as the University of Colorado's Roger Pielke Jr. likes to point out, carbon-free sources will have to rise from 14 percent of the energy supply today to more than 90 percent by the second half of the century.

That means (roughly) deploying 1 gigawatt of carbon-free power every single day for the next century — the equivalent of opening a large nuclear power plant around the world every day, or raising 1,500 wind turbines every day.

It will mean shifting our cars and trucks to clean electricity, overcoming the intermittency problems with renewables, radically increasing energy efficiency, finding new ways to fuel our ships and airplanes (hydrogen? biofuels?) and steel and cement production.

[Here is the 2003 paper (pdf) underpinning the "every day" calculation.]

Lest you think you might not have read that correctly, I will repeat it:

That means (roughly) deploying 1 gigawatt [GW] of carbon-free power every single day for the next century.

Tim Garrett, in the original paper describing his physical model of the global economy, came to a very similar conclusion.

To reach stabilization, what is required is decarbonization that is at least as fast as the economy’s rate of return. Taking the 2005 value for η of 2.1% per year, stabilization of emissions would require an equivalent or greater rate of decarbonization. 2.1% of current annual energy production corresponds to an annual addition of approximately 300 gigawatts of new non-carbon emitting power capacity—approximately one new nuclear power plant per day.

For your information, the smallest nuclear plant in the U.S. is about 0.5 GW, and the largest is about 3.9 GW.

Every day during which humans do not build 1 gigawatt of carbon-free power, we get further behind. Every day in which additional fossil fuel capacity is added to the energy mix to support the global economy, we get further behind. Basically, every day in which you get out of bed, we get further behind. Every god-damned day.

And what does Brad have to say about this? (The word "hard" is emphasized in his text.)

This isn't impossible, at least not in theory.

The detailed reports from the Deep Decarbonization Pathways Project offer a vivid illustration of how we might make that shift to clean energy. I'll write about them more in the coming days.

But it is hard. It will require much more than a single climate treaty that corrals fairly weak and largely voluntary national efforts. And that's the real work that lies ahead. Declaring victory after Paris is premature.

Maybe I don't understand what the words "hard" and "impossible" mean. The phrase "in theory" doesn't make the difference Brad seems to be highlighting. Lots of things are possible in theory, but that doesn't mean these things will ever happen, unless we have infinite time available to us. Which we don't.

You might remember what I've said today anytime somebody proclaims the end of the age of fossil fuels.

Every god-damned day.

Article on future oil shortages

http://www.businessinsider.com/the-future-of-oil-supply-and-demand-2016-9?r=UK&IR=T

https://srsroccoreport.com/the-death-of-the-bakken-field-has-begun-big-trouble-for-the-u-s/

 

https://srsroccoreport.com/warning-the-coming-collapse-of-u-s-net-worth-will-wipe-out-millions-of-americans/

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On the lighter side

The following questions were in last year's GED (grade 12 equivalent) examination

(These are genuine answers).
 
Q.  What is a turbine?
A.  Something an Arab or Sheik wears on his head.  Once an Arab boy reaches puberty,  he removes his diaper and wraps it around his head.  

Q.  How is dew formed?
A.  The sun shines down on the leaves and makes them perspire.  

Q.  What guarantees may a mortgage company insist on?
A.   If you are buying a house, they will insist that you are well endowed.

Q.  In a democratic society, how important are elections?
A.   Very important.  Sex can only happen when a male gets an election.

Q.  What are steroids?
A.  Things for keeping carpets still on the stairs.   
      (Shoot yourself now, there is little hope.)  

Q.  What happens to your body as you age?
A.  When you get old, so do your bowels and you get intercontinental.  

Q.  What happens to a boy when he reaches puberty?
A.   He says goodbye to his boyhood and looks forward to his adultery.   
      (So true)  

Q.  Name a major disease associated with cigarettes.
A.   Premature death.  

Q.  What is artificial insemination?
A.   When the farmer does it to the bull instead of the cow.

Q.  How can you delay milk turning sour?
A.   Keep it in the cow.   
      (Simple, but brilliant)  

Q.  How are the main 20 parts of the body categorized (e.g. The abdomen)?   
A.  The body is consisted into 3 parts - the brainium, the borax and the abdominal cavity.
     The brainium contains the brain, the borax contains the heart and lungs and the abdominal    
     cavity contains the five bowels:  A,E,I,O,U     

Q.  What is the fibula?
A.   A small lie.  

Q.  What does 'varicose' mean?
A.   Nearby.

Q.  What is the most common form of birth control?
A.   Most people prevent contraception by wearing a condominium.   
      (That would work.)  

Q.  Give the meaning of the term 'Caesarean section.'
A.   The caesarean section is a district in Rome.  

Q.  What is a seizure?
A.   A Roman Emperor.    
      (Julius Seizure, I came, I saw, I had a fit.)  

Q.  What is a terminal illness?   
A.   When you are sick at the airport.   
      (Irrefutable)  

Q.  What does the word 'benign' mean?
A.   Benign is what you will be after you be eight.   
      (brilliant)
 
Q.  Name the four seasons   

A.   Salt, pepper, mustard and vinegar.

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