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EPA is allowing asbestos back into manufacturing (archpaper.com)
560 points by okket 49 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 338 comments



Im seeing a lot of comments on brakes containing asbestos.

As an automotive engine mechanic, I started my trade changing out brake pads. As far as im aware, the last generation of asbestos containing brake pads in the US were Ferodo Brake Pads ending around 1994. The pads were phased out for a number of reasons

- health, of course. as a mechanic, mesothelioma was your biggest risk changing brakes all day. most shops douse the pad assembly in a mix of dawn dish liquid or a basic degreaser liquid we called just called sauce, and send it through a quick carwash after the job. It was also an easy way to please customers and it kept friable dust to a minimum.

- performance. compared to euro/japanese brakes arriving in the states in the early nineties, companies like raybestos were at a serious risk of going bankrupt if they didnt change. My first set of ceramic/ceramide pads was a revelation. I recommended them to all my customers.

- health scares. Your consumer risk of driving a car with brakes impregnated with asbestos was minimal, but the CNN/60 minutes documentaries really did a number on the industry. It got so bad that at one point, Raybestos included big labels reading "CONTAINS NO ASBESTOS."

- quality. As manufacturing for ceramic or exotic carbon pads got better, they got cheaper. the only companies still cranking out asbestos had legacy factories in Mexico or Indonesia that could not re-tool. They were just cranking out cheap pads for fleet customers too lazy to change brands.

*update: checking with a buddy in the shop today It seems im wrong. Older Pierce brand firetrucks (pierce saber models she says) shipped with asbestos front and rear pads if they were not intended for airport duty.


OEMs have phased out asbestos, but there's a serious risk posed by aftermarket pads, shoes and linings. Because asbestos brake parts are legal, there's nothing stopping a parts distributor from shipping in a bunch of cheap Chinese parts made with asbestos. If you operate on the assumption that modern braking systems are all asbestos free, there's a greater risk of accidental exposure if you do encounter asbestos. In many cases, there's no visible difference.


Agreed! but they might be easier to spot than you think...

warped pads with low miles or pad material that laps the backplate are all signs of a cheap chinesium aftermarket product. these cheap pads usually have issues with fracturing, which scores the rotor and can cause pistons to seize.

- weird pad discoloration with wear or rotor marking is a sure sign the pads been impregnated with a cheap cyanoacrylate as a bonding measure.


Asbestos brakes are also the reason why blowing out undercarriages, wheel wells & rims w/ air pressure is illegal. Does your shop not have a sign directing anyone who observes such behavior to report it? Pretty sure in the US, it is mandatory to post in commercial garages in plain sight.


Ha, for some reason it never occurred to me that the "bestos" in "Raybestos" was a reference to asbestos.


oh man, they were legendary for their use of the stuff. The negative association with Asbestos eventaully cost the owner his company in 1998. Raymark filed for Chapter 11.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raybestos#Superfund_site_clean...


Having just lost a father-in-law to mesothelioma (June 2018), this makes me incredibly sad.

I understand this is not an actual rule change and blah blah blah. 3,000 people are diagnosed with mesothelioma each year.

What a slow and horrific way to go. Slowly losing your breath. Lungs filling with fluid and being rushed off to ER to drain. Endless breathing treatments. Never sleeping more than an hour without waking up coughing. I am sure many of you are aware the treatments can be just as painful as the illness itself.

The man I knew when through all of this and more spread over a decade. 2 lung lobectomy surgeries. Chemo. Radiation. Misc corrective surgeries. Not to mention the hassles of the American healthcare system, doctors, lawyers, bills, and enough paperwork to fill a small office building.

3000 people a year.

I can only understand new deployments of asbestos if they are... "perfectly safe" Saving thousands of lives There is no alternative.


> Not to mention the hassles of the American healthcare system, doctors, lawyers, bills, and enough paperwork to fill a small office building.

For reference, each new case costs the Canadian healthcare system $1m CAD.


Assuming case costs are evenly distributed and proportional to per capita expenditure, that means each new case would cost the US healthcare system about $1.6M USD. Something tells me that's an underestimate.


It does say it's only being approved in special cases. I wouldn't expect the building industry to suddenly start using it again.

How many of those 3000 are a legacy of the previous eras misunderstanding of the chemical? I doubt any company would ignore that risk and produce a product that put people at a direct and unknown risk, especially given the legal liability since we now know the full risks of the chemical and the alternatives the market has long ago developed in every category.


>I doubt any company would ignore that risk and produce a product that put people at a direct and unknown risk

Those companies did exactly that! Asbestos companies knew the dangers internally. It's no different than cigarette companies suppressing the science of how smoking is dangerous


Most of those companies were destroyed for it. That's why the parent is speculating companies wouldn't do it now that the medical dangers are fully understood and the matter has been turned into a vast, lucrative profit field in the legal realm.


>Most of those companies were destroyed for it.

But how many CEO's were?


Ding ding ding, being a white collar criminal pays


The cases per year are going down and the average age of diagnosis is 69. So you are right in that most of this is legacy.

But we know now and knew then that it was dangerous.

Much like the radium girls in the early 1900's - where the people delivering the paint would wear leaded protective equipment and then management would watch (and encourage) the girls lick the paint brushes to keep the tip pointed. They knew it was bad. They just didn't give a fuck.


I'd never heard of radium girls and found this interesting:

https://www.cnn.com/style/article/radium-girls-radioactive-p...

I'm slightly confused why the public at large was ignorant of the danger of radium (and even thought it was healthy), but the radium girl managers knew the danger...?


It is a compelling story.

As for why the public was ignorant to the danger; radiation was only discovered in 1895 (x-rays). First injuries the following year from x-ray exposure. First death in 1904.

I am no expert, so I can only speculate. Thinking that pre-internet, information moved slower and scientific information slower still. The radium they were using was "different" and really trendy. Even a handful of deaths wouldn't repel the masses. It was only 12 years after the x-ray deaths.

If I can be cynical for a moment, this is a cycle that replays far too often. Some industry uses a product that is more or less known to be dangerous and it is only with years or decades of evidence, public outrage, and government intervention does that industry change its ways. Not always is it malicious or intentional, but this kind of thing does seem to happen a lot.


>I doubt any company would ignore that risk and produce a product that put people at a direct and unknown risk

History contradicts your statement. The most recent one https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Volkswagen_emissions_scandal

They knew. They did it anyway.

But I agree that most companies, and most people, will not take that path. But you just need a very few to create a global health problem.


The material stil has to be mined. Even with US companies treating the health risks to their employees in an exemplary way (hah!), there still would be extra deaths in asbestos mining and processing in Russia or Brazil...


My uncle was a geologist, spent some time on an Asbestos mine... and it killed him.

As user nemacol said above..... What an awful way to die. Really really nasty.


What is the oversight for approvals? Is it just the 45th president and his mates saying, “Vladimir says it’s okay to put asbestos in brake pads and drywall”?


>>> I doubt any company would ignore that risk and produce a product that put people at a direct and unknown risk.

I'm sorry, but they have done and still do exactly that all the time in the name of profit! Often it takes decades for the public to learn the truth.

Here's a few examples:

- 3M knew already in 1970 that PFOA and PFOE (used in their non-stick frying pan coatings) was toxic and accumulated in peoples blood[1]. - Volkswagen emission scandal[2] - Oil companies' continuous support of fake science, lobbying, advertisement and grant making to oppose regulation. Exxon knew about climate change 40 years ago[3]. - Leaded fuel..

And that's just the few I could think about at a moments notice..

[1]: https://theintercept.com/2018/07/31/3m-pfas-minnesota-pfoa-p... [2]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Volkswagen_emissions_scandal [3]: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/exxon-knew-about-...


https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/is-epa-allowing-asbestos-p...

The EPA has not changed anything about currently banned uses of asbestos, and any new uses would first be assessed by the agency.


The EPA already allows asbestos to be used in a huge range of products. I simply cannot see what justification could be made for allowing asbestos to continue to be used in cement sheet, floor tile and brake pads. It might pose no immediate hazard when installed, but it could become a serious hazard at any point during its lifespan. Cement sheets crack and crumble, floor tiles become worn and get replaced, brake pads are designed to wear down. When you install any asbestos-containing material, you're setting a deadly man-trap.

https://www.epa.gov/asbestos/us-federal-bans-asbestos

In the EU, there's a blanket ban on manufacturing or selling asbestos-containing products under the REACH regulations, with an exception only for replacement membranes in existing electrolysis equipment. Member states can add specific exemptions where there is a valid justification; in the UK, those exemptions apply only to used acetylene gas cylinders, heritage vehicles and museum artefacts.

https://echa.europa.eu/documents/10162/574c30dd-398d-b3ff-cc...

http://www.hse.gov.uk/asbestos/exemption.htm


Welcome to the US lobbying system, where science, ethics, and morals take a backseat to agendas of those with the deepest pockets.


This is so true. We should just ban lobbying because it is only used by rich corporations and individuals.


Lobbying is just a legal form of corruption. Ban it, and it will still continue to exist underground anyway. What we need is to stop voting for idiot politicians.


As long as good politicians feel they'll be disadvantaged if they aren't selling themselves like the idiot ones are the good ones will line up for the money.

Certainly it's better to outlaw it rather than to simply allow it to happen. You will never catch 100% of the people breaking the law, but you can create an environment of transparency and accountability to help and you can make it costly enough for those who are caught to make the next person reconsider risking it.


lobbying is illegal in many countries yet it does not make corruption dissappear, far from it. Its like the war on drugs: it makes cartels stronger, if anything.


What about creating a "Direct Democracy Lobbying Group" that lets citizens donate/vote online on issues and then (legally) bribes the appropriate people with total transparency?

The depressing thing about most bribery is how small the amounts of money are. Politicians take bribes in the form of campaign financing because they want to stay in power. It's easy for them to rationalize if they think they're serving the greater good, and many of them would probably prefer to take money from citizens instead.

It seems like one super rich person could fix every level of US politics by implementing a backdoor direct democracy and seeding it with matching donations. If crowdfunding has proven anything, it's that people have more than enough money to spend when they want something.

It's only now that everyone is on the internet that this idea is even possible, and no one has tried it yet.


We have a group sort of like that in Australia, Getup (not bribing but lobbying). The current sitting party is trying to get it deemed as a political party as it consistently lobbies against government policy (policy which is consistently against the will and interests of the public).


The rich people and companies have more money than we have all we could do is slightly raise the stakes and still lose.


For that you need to stop produce idiot voters.


Well to be fair, it's difficult to be an educated voter since the candidates are allowed to say whatever they want in the election period and aren't beholden to follow through with the terms they were elected for.


This...

Electioneering should be treated the same as advertising and have the same penalties for making false or misleading statements.


Exactly. Garbage in, garbage out. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jpWrsEpWgrc


I guess we shouldn't have any laws at all then.


And while we're at it, let's build the new Soviet man. The USSR only tried doing that for what, sixty years?

Your politicians aren't idiots, they rationally respond to the incentives in the system. What's broken is the system.


I've always looked at money's influence in politics as a sort of balanced system, like the house and senate. We need both equal access to politics and proportional access to politics based on resources. Otherwise, democracy devolves into two me's and a Jeff Bezos voting on who pays for my stuff.


> We need both equal access to politics and proportional access to politics based on resources. Otherwise, democracy devolves into two me's and a Jeff Bezos voting on who pays for my stuff.

I've actually considered that, because it's effectively the status quo, but then I conclude: Why should wealthy people have special proportional access? There are so many more groups who are so much more at risk: Small business? Orphans? Groups facing systemic discrimination (women, minorities, LGBTQ)? Homeless? Minority party members in solid red/blue districts? People with rare diseases? With unpopular political beliefs? OpenBSD users? Wealthy people already have so much power and so many advantages; they might be the absolute last group that needs special protection.


But now you have one you and 10000 Jeff Bezos' voting on how much tax Amazon should pay. Doesn't seem much better.


> Otherwise, democracy devolves into two me's and a Jeff Bezos voting on who pays for my stuff.

Democracy does not "devolve" into that, that is what democracy is.


Any attempt to ban lobbying would be heavily lobbied against.


Haha, yes - but so true.

Lobbyism forms a power structure that effectively cuts off and circumvents the will of the people. So by definition, it's actually a form of tyranny.


Mike Mulvaney, former House Rep and Trump's destroyer of agencies, said out loud that when he was in Congress he said out loud that he wouldn't talk to anyone unless they made a donation to his campaign. He also said out loud that other members of Congress should do the same.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mick_Mulvaney#Pay-to-play


Would you include the ACLU, EFF, etc. in your ban?


Yes; if lobbying were truly reduced/eliminated across the board, at least they'd have an even playing field. Loopholes will inevitably be used by those with the most money and power.


Do many technology companies (Facebook, Google, etc.) not use lobbying to fight for tech interests?


So? And you think tech companies lobby for nobler reasons than others? Not the case.

ericb 49 days ago [flagged]

edited: Lobbying should be considered treasonous.


Please don't post unsubstantive comments.


Would "should be considered" be more appropriate wording and less hyperbolic? I'm being serious.

I think cash contributions for legislation fundamentally subvert our democracy, and my comment was intended to raise that point for discussion. I don't see discussion of the perversion of democracy as unsubstantive.


A substantive comment is one that contains information that people can learn from. Your comment I replied to was just name-calling.


Not really, no - you need to expand on the why in order to have some sort of substantive discussion (especially when using politically loaded language).

Lobbying in its positive form is about experts trying to explain things to representatives that don't understand the specifics of the field. When done right a representative should get perspective from different areas and be able to understand the issues/regulations that are being discussed from multiple parties that have their own different incentives.

Your comment that's it's 'treasonous' absent any discussion doesn't really offer any explanation of how congressional representatives are supposed to be informed about any subject they don't already know about.

People that do this work are going to be paid by the companies trying to explain things.

Political contributions to campaigns are a different issue and I think do pose a corrupting influence, this talk does a good job explaining the issue: https://www.ted.com/talks/lawrence_lessig_we_the_people_and_...


I would argue that the advent of PAC's and Citizens United has more or less obsoleted the positive case--which you're right, I don't object too. What I mean is, if I'm a politician and two lobbyist show up "explaining" if I listen to the one from a PAC with the briefcase full of campaign contributions, in the next election I'm more likely to stay a politician, so there's now a selective pressure toward corruption on politicians. The same goes for promises of lucrative jobs (Ajit Pai). So lobbying in some senses is collapsing toward the lowest common denominator because the "positive form" players have their cards trumped.


Yeah I agree that that's a problem (you'd probably like the video I linked in my original comment and his book Republic Lost).

I heard an interview on the Stay Tuned podcast (Preet Bharara's podcast) where he interviewed one of the lawyers that argued the winning side of citizen's united. It was an interesting interview and an over simplified summary was that the influence of campaign contributions which come from concentrated groups is a serious problem that needs to be dealt with, but putting government restrictions on speech in order to do it sets a dangerous precedent (at what point are you rich enough where you're no longer allowed to participate in political speech?).

Anyway - thanks for clarifying.


> “...the influence of campaign contributions which come from concentrated groups is a serious problem that needs to be dealt with, but putting government restrictions on speech in order to do it sets a dangerous precedent”

that’s an interesting perspective on citizen’s united worth mulling over.

but while speech is free from governmental limits, it is not protected from the response of other citizens. it’s still problematic that political contributions can be hidden behind organizations to shield the wealthy from the consequences of their speech.

citizens—nay, people—are equal in the eyes of the constitution (as affirmed in the bill of rights), and moneyed citizens are not entitled to unequal, government-protected veils from such consequences.

this is part of the larger discussion around who gets a public (media) voice and in what proportion. it seems an argument can be made that constitutionally, that proportion should correlate to the population (one person, one vote; not one dollar, one vote). we can defer to representatives to voice our opinions for us, but they should do so with only the aggregate backing of the citizens standing behind them. (then you also have to deal with the tyranny of the majority issues arising therefrom).


I agree that you shouldn't be able to obscure where the speech is coming from - some of the laws around television ads were supposed to help with this, but because of the organization thing you mention they're mostly of the form "paid for by people for a better tomorrow" or something else equally useless.

Ultimately I think that was what the decision was about - that there need to be better controls and fixes for how campaign finance currently works, but that the citizen's united solution (that lost) was not the safe way to do it.


> you need to expand on the why

The US Constitution defines treason thus:

> Treason against the United States, shall consist [...] in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort.

If you assume the US is a democracy[0], ie that its enemies are the enemies of its citizens, rather than its nobility^Wgovernment, then any politician who passes laws at the request of (or otherwise Aids and Comforts) eg Facebook, Dow Chemical, [insert human-rights-violating corporation here], is de facto guilty of treason.

You could certainly argue that treason means something other than what the constitution says it does, but taken at face value this is rather obvious.

0: If you don't, then that's a different discussion.


This is a dramatic oversimplification and somewhat beside the point.

The US is a republic/representative democracy, but that aside working with organizations to pass laws isn't zero sum - laws can be good for organizations and the public. If Google is lobbying to prevent the government from passing key escrow laws that weaken encryption that's better for everyone.

These companies are also made up of citizens and a part of the society (not enemies of the government or the people) - working with experts in the field to try and understand things better isn't 'de facto treason'.


The unhinged emotional reaction to asbestos in this thread is a good example of why lobbying is important. There is a cost-benefit analysis to be done for products containing asbestos, just like for any other product. Lobbyists present that analysis to the regulator. The alternative is regulation by knee jerk reaction, which undermines to point of regulatory agencies.


This would be fine if the dollar-cost value of usage of these toxic materials actually represented the health and wellbeing of a population. Putting a dollar value on health has never been a simple proposition.

In many of these cases, these costs are externalized; they are borne by (healthcare, communal, familial) systems outside the industry where the asbestos is used. Only where a link can be definitively traced back to the industry itself can these costs begin to be rectified.

That the EPA allows this represents a shift in our society, that the costs to life and wellbeing are to be borne by the individual worker exposed to the chemical and not the manufacturer of the chemical or the employer cutting costs by not using alternatives.


How is this a shift in our society? When in recent history has this not been the standard?


Strong unions in the post-war era kept it at bay, but those have been declining in power.

Cost externalization has always been there. It's inherent in capitalist systems, and it lurked silently under the covers of neoliberalism for the past several administrations.

The change is its shift from covert to overt under this administration. They've saturated our ability to cover scandal, so they're no longer maintaining the facade.


Every lobbyist is going to present an analysis that concludes "our client's product is the best thing since sliced bread". They commission dodgy research, they fudge figures, they gloss over unflattering facts and emphasise others, because that's their job.

Regulators in other developed nations have concluded that while asbestos may have some marginal advantages in certain use-cases, the externalities are immensely expensive. There are plenty of good, cheap, safe substitutes for asbestos.


...a former employer (based in the EU, exports perhaps 2/3 of production outside the EU) took a major financial hit when it was found that a valve sourced from a cheaper supplier than the ones originally used contained an (undeclared) asbestos gasket.

Cost of replacement gasket? Less than $1/system.

Cost of getting to gasket? ~$70-80k/system. We had deployed a few hundred.

On the upside, after this incident, noone in purchasing tried to source cheaper, same-same but different replacements for parts specified by engineering for years thereafter...


"same same" is the enemy of quality in any supply chain.


And the friend of your customer's wallet.

Trade-offs are everywhere.


Depends on the time span; a once mentor of mine always quipped that the ultimate act of laziness was to do things properly the first time and be done with it; much the same goes for the economics of cost savings - long term, quality tends to lead to longer maintenance intervals and simpler maintenance at that.

The ultimate cheapness is to buy quality items and be done with it. (Obviously, there will be cases where this doesn't hold true, but as a first-order approximation...)


"I am not rich enough to buy cheap stuff."


Under the proposed Significant New Use Rule, almost all of those previously-legal products - basically anything that's no longer on the market in the US with asbestos in - will be considered significant new uses and subject to EPA pre-approval. You can read the actual proposed rule here: https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2018-06/documents...

As far as I can tell, both this article and the Snopes fact check are simply wrong. The SNUR pretty clearly does not in any way change the existing blanket ban on new uses of asbestos, defined as using asbestos in any kind of product which it wasn't used in in the US prior to 1989. It only imposes further restrictions on the asbestos products which weren't banned in the US. (See in particular section III of the notice, which explains the rationale and how it relates to the existing ban.)


The danger of asbestos to regular people is way overstated. Yes, if you work around it every day for years without wearing a mask you'll regret it. If it's in your floor tiles and one breaks, you'll be fine.


"all levels of asbestos exposure studied to date have demonstrated asbestos-related disease ... there is no level of [asbestos] exposure below which clinical effects do not occur"

https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/81-103/pdfs/81-103.pdf


That is a 1980 pamphlet, not a scientific paper.

OP is right -- there is a lower limit of acceptable asbestos exposure that is not well known. All the asbestos-related mesothelioma cases were from workplace exposure for an extended period (more than two months).

Furthermore, there are two major forms of asbestos that have widely varying effects. Chrysotile has been shown to not be harmful in small doses. (That's the stuff that you'll find in popcorn ceilings installed prior to 1974.)

"Inhalation toxicity studies of chrysotile at non-lung overload conditions demonstrate that the long (>20 µm) fibers are rapidly cleared from the lung, are not translocated to the pleural cavity and do not initiate fibrogenic response." Reference: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3581056/


> However, in general, people who become ill from inhaling asbestos have been regularly exposed in a job where they worked directly with the material.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Health_impact_of_asbestos

> Asbestos can be found naturally in the air outdoors and in some drinkable water, including water from natural sources. Even nonoccupationally exposed members of the human population have tens to hundreds of thousands of asbestos fibers per gram of dry lung tissue, equivalent to millions of fibers in each lung.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Health_impact_of_asbestos#Envi...

OMG we're all gonna get mesothelioma from the asbestos that is normally found outdoors, unrelated to man-made activity!

Again, I stand by what I said. The risks of asbestos to ordinary people are way overblown. It has to be loose and you have to be exposed to a lot of it for a long period of time. Regular people are fine.

Edit: ya know people, you could respond to the specific claims instead of pressing the "I disagree" button. Is asbestos a dangerous substance? Yes, in certain circumstances. Are those circumstances something normal people need to be concerned about? No, not unless you work with the substance every day and without proper precautions.


> Asbestos can be found naturally in the air outdoors and in some drinkable water, including water from natural sources. Even nonoccupationally exposed members of the human population have tens to hundreds of thousands of asbestos fibers per gram of dry lung tissue, equivalent to millions of fibers in each lung.

If you're using this as an argument that increased asbestos exposure has no correlation to negative health outcomes, then you are contradicting the scientific literature for the sake of making a naturalistic fallacy. Why are you doing that? It's just a strange attempt at an argument.

> OMG we're all gonna get mesothelioma from the asbestos that is normally found outdoors, unrelated to man-made activity!

Again, because something appears in nature does not mean that it isn't positively correlated to negative health outcomes and that we shouldn't minimize it. That just point blank is not an actual argument.

If you want to make an argument for your position you will need to cite research that increased asbestos exposure does not significantly increase negative health outcomes, which will be hard because it's well studied and the research is pretty conclusively against you.

To illucidate why your argument isn't valid at a basic level, you can apply it to other things. Cyanide is present in almond plants and a byproduct of metabolizing apple seeds. Does that mean we should lax regulations around how much we systematically increase people's exposure to cyanide? What about radiation? People are exposed to ionizing background radiation every day. Do you think that somehow means that increasing that radiation exposure won't increase rates of cancer?


The study linked in the article itself, indicates that the current state of scientific understanding is that water born and skin contact are not significant issues for asbestos, and the primary concern is inhalation. Took me only 5 minutes to find it looking through the docs.

I am not agreeing with the GP on their theory of "overblown". Asbestos initiated cancers seem to be some of those with no known threshold. That is, there is no safe amount of asbestos dust inhalation above which you get cancer.

I am disagreeing with your statement on the scientific literature and consensus. As far as I know (not my field, so I am an outsider looking at literature), there is no strong consensus either way. There are hypotheses that need deeper looks [1][2][3][4][5]. That is, it looks like there may be something there, but the investigators can't as of yet, distinguish between this as causal versus other factors.

This does not mean I think it is safe to ingest a bowl of asbestos followed by an asbestos flavored adult drink. What it does mean is that evidence is inconclusive, though there are a few pathways researchers could imagine would make sense as a causative.

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28276807

[2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27919155

[3] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15820729

[4] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3304998

[5] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21534087

[minor update to add a missing "be" ]


for the sake of making a naturalistic fallacy.

That's not at all what the parent comment did.


So your argument is, because people get mesothelioma from living near natural deposits of asbestos, we should put more of the stuff in our homes? "What's a little more cancer?"

Your own source material shows just living near asbestos gives you higher risk of cancer. You're trying to argue that we aren't at significant risk without prolonged exposure. Living with asbestos is prolonged exposure. Increasing the amount used in products that we all live around/near will increase the risk and incidence of cancers.


Smoke detectors have a radioactive source, and we put them inside our homes, because the radiation level is so low that the increase of the risk is minimal.

Walls have a tiny amount of radioactive material, but they protect you from the radiation of the exterior. I don't know if the walls increase or decrease your cancer risk.

There are many thinks that may cause cancer. It's important to calculate the risk of each one, because you can't avoid all of them.


Nit: most smoke detectors don't use radioactive materials anymore - they are inferior to the infrared sensors that operate on the same principals.


https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/asbestos/

The difference between asbestos and radiation is that there is no "safe" amount of asbestos exposure, according to OSHA.


Only industrial smoke alarms use radioactive sources and even then only some types (you need different types for different situations).

The radioactivity in a smoke alarm is already negligible when you hold it in your hand, never mind when it's mounted on a ceiling.

Additionally the americium-241 used in smoke detectors is mainly alpha decay and a sheet of paper will stop it, the remaining radiation that is dangerous is gamma and it's exposure is so far below annual average background that you might not even bother. Flying in a plane will expose you to a thousand times more radiation.


If 55 other developed nations can ban use of asbestos, we can too. There's no need to calculate the risk if we can just avoid it entirely. Why poison yourself if you don't need to?


There seems to be group think present even here on HN. I don't downvote comments if that at least attempt to make a coherent argument with supporting facts.

But, when I got rid of asbestos insulation around some water pipes I followed every precaution. But many people seem to think chlorine isn't toxic because it's so common.

Note: There is _no_ known antidote to chlorine poisoning. (an example of how there is a toxin around us everyday, in our drinking water, in our pools, on our clothes, cleaning products, etc...) Why is there no outrage over this?

https://emergency.cdc.gov/agent/chlorine/basics/facts.asp

More on asbestos many people may not know that I got from the same wikipedia entry.

"Portions of El Dorado County, California are known to contain natural amphibole asbestos formations at the surface. The USGS studied amphiboles in rock and soil in the area in response to an EPA sampling study and subsequent criticism of the EPA study. The EPA study was refuted by its own peer reviewers and never completed or published."

"Globally, samples collected from Antarctic ice indicate chrysotile asbestos has been a ubiquitous contaminant of the environment for at least 10,000 years."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Health_impact_of_asbestos#Envi...


> But many people seem to think chlorine isn't toxic because it's so common.

> Note: There is _no_ known antidote to chlorine poisoning. (an example of how there is a toxin around us everyday, in our drinking water, in our pools, on our clothes, cleaning products, etc...) Why is there no outrage over this?

There’s probably no credible outrage for two major reasons:

- Chlorine in water is not actually a meaningful problem. Unlike, say, asbestos, there are many, many chemicals that are problematic in high concentrations and very safe in low concentrations. As extreme examples, water and sodium chloride will both kill you if taken in excess. Chlorine at ~4 ppm in tap water is a bit stinky but won’t hurt you even after a lifetime of exposure. And Chlorine at ~3 ppm in a swimming pool with an appropriate level of cyanuric acid added is barely perceptible.

- There aren’t credible alternatives. We can chlorinate our water, or we can add monochloramine, or we could let pathogens grow in our municipal plumbing. The latter will sicken people on a large scale.


> There aren’t credible alternatives.

Other countries (e.g. Germany) do not routinely chlorinate their drinking water and seem to do fine.


After a bit of reading, it seems that this is mainly achieved by having a much newer and better maintained water distribution system. It would be great to have that in the USA.


The local US army bases in Germany actually chlorinate their perfectly fine tap water. What a waste!

But it is probably the perception of unchlorinated water as not safe, and you will probably have a similar problem in the US itself if you switched the water system..


>"Chlorine in water is not actually a meaningful problem."

There's the crux of the argument define "meaningful", because I think that is what everyone is arguing over in regards to asbestos.

There are no levels of radioactive alpha particles that are safe to ingest (surface contact, they can apparently be washed off), yet in Desert Storm our troops stomped right through the stuff regularly with no warning or protections. Go look up photos of troops near/on destroyed Iraqi tanks, the white powder is depleted uranium rounds. The wind blows it into the air and the troops breathed that stuff in.

Cancer in Iraqi civilians skyrocketed after that war, and US troops got the mysterious "gulf war syndrome"... (but no one official knows where that came from...) Do you think the Army/government didn't know the area was radioactively polluted?

While I don't have the chemistry degree to argue with you about the dangers of chlorine, my dad (who is a chemist) can. He won't put chlorine in his pool, he uses a bromide of some kind.

Also, there are tons of other toxins dumped into our food supply, including additives to the containers that don't need to be reported as ingredients, but are in the food none the less.

While I don't disagree that pathogens need to be killed in the pipes, and chlorine works pretty well for that, this isn't proof that it's safe to ingest. And considering the massive quantities in many peoples lives, comparing it on a minute level is disingenuous, as it's not just 4ppm if you encounter all day long, it can be dramatically higher than that.

And if anyone doesn't know, chlorine gas, a similar gas to mustard gas (used to kill many in World War 1) can be made by accidentally combining chlorine and another common house cleaner. And these people didn't die right away, in fact most didn't. The effects were longer term.

So to claim since there are no immediate health effects from exposure to chlorine is to dismiss the long term affects, of which, who knows what they are? Seems odd this isn't common knowledge since we know so much about asbestos which somehow one tiny speck of it will give you cancer?

I am not foolish enough to test if asbestos is dangerous, but the sheer willingness to ignore common sense and trust "ppm" and "safe in low concentrations" is likely why we have so much cancer and other diseases these days.


Well, for one, there isn't any chlorine in my water. None. 0.

The last time we had chlorine in the water was after a farmer overfertilized and the ancient water system took on some pathogens. After cleaning out the pipes the water system was chlorinated lightly for a week.

Low doses of chlorine aren't deadly, there is such a thing as a LD50 for chlorine.

In low doses, chlorine and asbestos aren't harmful in a significant manner but it should be added that chlorine has much more direct effects than asbestos and asbestos to my knowledge has much lower limits at which prolonged exposure will cause negative medical effects.

Asbestos in nature is not different to background radiation. The obvious conclusion isn't "radiation isn't harmful" or "getting hit with a car is more dangerous than radiation".


Does persistent low-level exposure to chlorine cause health problems?


That's a good question, does it? I know that there was a time when not a single doctor in the world believed there was such a thing as latex allergy.

My family is in the chemical business and my father (chemist) won't put chlorine in his pool, he uses a bromide of some kind.

But, if something is popular (asbestos was at one point) it must be just fine.


This is argument based on a counter-factual though. Chlorine as used for keeping our water supply safe does appear to be warranted (i.e. the benefits outweigh the costs), whereas the use of asbestos is the other way around; the health effects clearly outweigh the benefits. Public policy should be based around what we know, not what you wish to be true but isn't.


>"...the benefits outweigh the costs.."

I agree with this sentiment, but it seems the costs are only considered after public outcry, not from scientific understanding or economics. It's often cheaper to let people get hurt.


If something is popular, problems tend to become apparent. It can be an unknown with a new chemical, but for something like chlorine which has had massive public exposure for a very long time, it’s fairly safe to say that it doesn’t have much in the way of negative effects at low levels of exposure.


What about cigarettes, lead pipes, lead paint? There's quite a few chemicals/toxins that were in use for thousands of years before any did anything about them. Even something as simple as hygiene is new to doctors as of the 18th century.


You can’t look before the modern era, as the tools and techniques for discovering this sort of long-term damage didn’t exist.

Are there any examples of things that were in pervasive use around, say, 1970 but didn’t get recognized as dangerous until recently? I think there are examples in nutrition, but I don’t know about environmental toxins.


Every era is the modern era, until it isn't anymore.

Are you claiming that people could spend decades counting the average movement of the moon around the earth, accurate to the fraction of a second, thousands of years ago, but couldn't understand long term health effects until just recently?


I'm pretty sure you know that I was referring to the period of time from a couple hundred years ago until now, 2018, when I said "the modern era." Let's not delve into semantic fuckery.

And yes, that's exactly what I'm saying. Figuring out the motion of the moon can be done by a single person using nothing but dedicated observation and arithmetic. Figuring out the public health effects of chronic low-level exposure to toxins requires statistical techniques and data-gathering infrastructure that didn't exist until at least the 18th century, and wasn't commonly applied until the 20th century.

The concept of long-term health effects due to exposure to stuff has been around forever, but the ability to conclusively prove it is a lot more recent.


Both of the following statements statements are true:

> there is no level of [asbestos] exposure below which clinical effects do not occur

> in general, people who become ill from inhaling asbestos have been regularly exposed in a job where they worked directly with the material

If minimal exposure causes small effects, and maximal exposure - loose, lots of it, long periods of time - causes huge effects, you would expect the people who interact with it most to show the most severe symptoms. That does not mean the small effects are not present, only that they're smaller than the large effects.

For an analogy, poking people with a penknife is not a healthy activity. Just because most people who die from or who go to the hospital for knife wounds were stabbed with larger knives does not mean we should promote poking people with small knives, and suggest that knife wounds are only bad if you're stabbed with large fixed-blade knives many times. Being worst in the latter case does not mean that they're benign in the former case. A headline that law enforcement are now allowing people to stab each other with small knives would be ridiculous.


On reading sibling comments, I note that there's an important counter-analogy which I neglected to mention: Many things do have minimum exposure levels below which they are safe. Various medicines, for example - an appropriate dose is good for you, overdosing will kill you.


In the same wikipedia article

>A history of asbestos exposure at work is reported in about 70 percent to 80 percent of all cases.

This means in 20 to 30 percent of all cases, health effects occur in subjects who do not have periodic exposure to asbestos at work. 20 to 30 percent is not negligible.


My father, a Systems Analyst, had the misfortune to spend 18 months in the late sixties working on a site where a new Air-Conditioning system was being installed and lagged with Chrysotile (White Asbestos.) Thirteen years later he was dead due to mesothelioma.

His "regular job" did not involve working directly with the material and Asbestos continues to kill hundreds of pople each year who do not directly work with this material. https://www.teachers.org.uk/edufacts/asbestos


Edit: ya know people, you could respond to the specific claims instead of pressing the "I disagree" button.

I pressed the "made a reasonable argument, even if I disagree, and backed it up with some sources" button. More folks would do well to choose that one more often over other choices.


Because your arguments are ridiculous, and you are referencing directly to material that points out very clearly that exposure to asbestos carries a risk of health hazard, for the people exposed.

"In general" people who become ill from inhaling asbestos have been regularly exposed in a job where they worked directly with the material ???

If there is even the risk that a single person could fall ill because of unintentional exposure, then it should be ground enough for a blanket ban.

It's like saying that smoking should be allowed again in public places, since "in general", people that get cancer are first-hand smokers.


Are you here on some kind of political mission? You're not making scientific claims, you're picking single sentences out from a context that backs up the actual scientific claims made the by the actual scientific paper posted by the person you're replying to. Why pretend that we can't click on the same wikipedia link as you and read the paragraphs surrounding the quoted and impressively vague "However, in general..." sentence.

At least, I gotta thank you for pointing out a needlessly vague an slanted statement in wikipedia. It should be removed or amended with the figures that follow elsewhere.


> Are you here on some kind of political mission?

No, I'm just annoyed that people seem to treat a statement of fact, that asbestos in your floor tiles or walls is a grave risk to people who don't work around it all day is so controversial.

> Why pretend that we can't click on the same wikipedia link as you and read the paragraphs surrounding the quoted and impressively vague "However, in general..." sentence.

Did you click on it though? Because you would've seen this immediately after:

> A paper published in 1998, in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, concurs, and comments that asbestosis has been reported primarily in asbestos workers, and appears to require long-term exposure, high concentration for the development of the clinical disease.

Which again, supports my original statement.


“Primarily” and “generally” means 70-80% here, based on the actual figures, not 99.5% which is what it sounds like you want people to think. That’s a huge amount of people affected not working in construction.


People are downvoting because they believe what they've been told for decades from the media and late night lawyers commercials but this is the scientific fact. Non-friable asbestos is not dangerous, and people who don't work with it on a constant basis are not at risk. Those people who work with asbestos over longer periods of time are the ones who are at risk. A handful of exposures to friable asbestos will not give you lung cancer.

This is the same belief/religion with high salt or high fat diets. People have grown up for so long with those beliefs because we have been indoctrinated that when new science comes up that disproves the above, they disbelieve the science.


>A handful of exposures to friable asbestos will not give you lung cancer

Simply not a claim you can make. The incidence may be very low, but it has been proven that asbestos fibers are directly responsible for the creation of cancerous mesothelioma cells. Any number of fibers in your lungs 'may' cause cancer, even one.


> it has been proven that asbestos fibers are directly responsible for the creation of cancerous mesothelioma cells.

This is also a claim you simply cannot make.

Every chemical has a toxicity level. A single x-ray could give you lung cancer if you're unlucky. Just because there's a claim floating around that a single fiber could cause cancer is meaningless. Was this in a test tube or a lab environment?

Every day, millions of your own body cells are developing cancer because the DNA is being misreplicated during mitosis. But you have structures in your body that fight against this cancer and destroy those cells. You're saying, without any evidence, that your body can't fight a few microscopic fibers? Remember, any number of x-rays, including dental x-rays, could also cause cancer but you don't see people banning x-rays.


Radiation has known degrees of safety. https://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_tab...

>There is no "safe" level of asbestos exposure for any type of asbestos fiber. https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/asbestos/


Chemicals can have levels of dilution, where below a certain level it ceases to be a threat. Diluted in air, or in liquids.

You cant dilute a fibre....

This is also the same reason why nanoparticles are such a threat.


They're not made of chemicals?


So how does the asbestos get into your floor or ceiling?

People have to work with it and those people are not hazmat wearing highly paid specialists but your normal workers who get the burden of making sure that they take all precautions during their whole working career no matter the environmental conditions. And the only support they get from their employer are probably just the mask and a note to always use it.

Disclaimer: I have an asbestos linked death in my immediate family so my opinion may be biased.


You know those drop ceilings in offices? Some older tiles used in those ceilings contain asbestos.


That's unfortunate but again, I was talking about the danger of asbestos to people who don't work with it for a living.


I think the OP’s point is that if it’s used anywhere, then it’s someone’s job to work with it.


Doesn't matter whether it's overstated, there are laws on the books that businesses and lawyers have successfully lobbied for that require inspections when there is even the possibility of exposure - and all of that costs money.

For example, high rise condo with asbestos used as insulation. Electrician comes in, doesn't know this, does some scraping, people find out, and now the state mandates detector traps be set. Those found asbestos exposure, and that triggered a full abatement and removal for that entire condo unit. Then the neighbors sued claiming exposure. And since that abatement, the upstairs neighbors have flooded the abated unit five times, and every single time the law requires asbestos testing even in the exact same ceiling tested 2 months earlier, just because it was a different flood event. Testing and retesting even though that ceiling has long since been abated. One teeny tiny example, thousands of dollars, multiplied by millions of people and incidents.

And that's when no one gets sick.


If you're going to express an opinion, particularly one contrary to widely held beliefs/truths, you need to provide evidence/reasons. That's called "discourse."


See my other reply.


I looked at your other replies. You consistently reassert your initial claim without evidence. When presented with evidence, you re-assert your claims, again without evidence.

You even go so far as blaming others as being intolerant when they challenge you with evidence.

All of this makes you seem like a bad actor to me -- someone either utterly obtuse or willfully trying to undermine everyone else's very ability to have a meaningful conversation.


You make it sound like the Snopes article contradicts the OP articled. They both say the same thing: "On June 1, the EPA authorized a “SNUR” (Significant New Use Rule) which allows new products containing asbestos to be created on a case-by-case basis." (2nd sentence of the OP article). Also, Snopes rates the claim as "mostly true".


They've not changed any rules... yet. But they are establishing a process for doing so. Whereas before there was no such path. So while, sure nothing has changed yet, the entire point of proposing a process for allowing new uses is ... to allow new uses.


This assessment is what I'm worried about the most.

The current EPA is perfectly okay with rolling back emissions standards, so why shouldn't they be okay with allowing for more asbestos than it's necessary?


Yes, instead of banning it outright they just kept the same rules and added loopholes to get around them.


the overall rating is 'Mostly true', though.


Mega misleading, it's not being used in the capacity it used to be. They aren't allowing anyone just anyone to use asbestos and none of the old use cases for it are allowed--only new ones.


new uses of asbestos. the use cases where we do not have evidence for its carcinogenicity. because we have never needed to look for it there before.

of course, we know that it is carcinogenic. the use case does not change that property of the material. the EPA is explicitly excluding environmental contamination risks, too. we know it is harmful to the environment, and, by proxy, us, again.

what a folly the EPA has made here -- for the profit of those who would prefer to make money even if it hurts people.


> the report states that the agency will no longer consider the effect or presence of substances in the air, ground, or water in its risk assessments.


It was my understanding they were now allowing it to be used in a case by case basis reviewed by the EPA. IMHO that makes sense. Surely there are some applications it makes sense for if the proper precautions are taken.


Well, they also are explicitly excluding any effects of it getting into the ground, water or air. Given ground, water and air is a major part of the environed the EPA is supposed to protect, what are they even doing?


People thought they were taking proper precautions in the past. Proving something is safe in the long-run is very difficult and takes many years. Do you think this EPA will force applicants to do years of studies?


That was the impression I got from the article. I think the headline of this post should be changed, but that snopes post doesn't really add anything beyond what the article says.


Thanks, that is a lot clearer than the article.


Also from snopes:

https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/russian-asbestos-trump_fac...

>Did a Russian Asbestos Company Put Trump’s Face on Their Product?

>A Russian asbestos producer shared a photograph of their product to social media with a seal of Donald Trump’s face and the text "Approved by Donald Trump”.


Wow, is that not the single best photo summing up the current state of affairs?! Straight out of a James Bond movie. It's got pallets full of poison, red Russian labeling, the cartoonish president himself! Can it get any more sinister?? I thought for sure that it must have been 'shopped!


They should probably also mention that all of the United States asbestos imports comes from Brazil.

>All asbestos used in this country is imported. According to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), the only form of asbestos currently imported into the United States is chrysotile, all of which originated from Brazil in 2017(USGS, 2018). USGS reports that in 2017, the United States imported approximately 300 metric tons of raw asbestos, the total of which they state is used in the chlor-alkali industry (USGS, 2018). In 2016, the United States imported approximately 702 metric tons of raw asbestos (USGS, 2018)

https://assets.documentcloud.org/documents/4495888/Problem-F... Page 238


Brazil banned asbestos in the end of 2017.

https://www.asbestos.com/news/2017/12/04/brazil-asbestos-ban...


Now that Brazil has banned asbestos, Russia is filling the market gap.


I think current EPA would allow asbestos infused coal plants.


Preferably implemented with neighborhood based DC generators as Edison intended.


What is happening to the EPA in the US is really unbelievable. How low will the bar get for the polluters in this country, one wonders?


It is not unbelievable, it is the stated stance of the GOP to reduce environmental and health regulations, and they are doing it. It is exactly what we voted for.


"We" didn't vote for this. A bit less than 25% of us voted for it, a bit more than 25% voted against it, and nearly 50% of us didn't bother to vote at all. (3rd parties got a small number of votes in the middle there too.)

Neither of the major parties has a majority, or anything like a "mandate" about what the American people want. The majority wants "none of the above". If anyone figures out how to get that majority motivated to vote for them, they'll sweep the election.


The 50% of people who didn't vote basically have said, we don't care to choose. So they got exactly what they voted for.


Or they didn't see a viable candidate that represented their interests and decided to abstain. This is a legal right.


[flagged]


What are they different on that makes the lives of everyday Americans better? Abortion? LGBT rights? They're both war & business parties and practically do exactly the same things. They both sell out the worker in favor of the establishment.

Once you expand your knowledge of political ideologies outside of USA's acceptable overton window, you get a true sense of just how close both parties actually are.


"Both parties are the same" made sense in 2000, when there were two generic white guys running, if you were too young to remember Watergate or Iran-Contra much, and also because the trillion dollar wars and deficits to come were unimaginable. After the invasion of Iraq, let alone the ACA, and what's happened post 2016, it seems to me like hollow propaganda. It's fundamentally no longer possible to have a productive discussion when you can't get to the point of believing your counterpart is sincere about anything.


>two generic white guys running

Two generic white people ran in 2016.

Obama left in 6 or 7 wars/major conflicts. He dropped 26000 bombs in 2016 alone [1]. He used the espionage act against journalists more than any president in history [2]. He let protestors get their heads smashed in by oil companies in North Dakota right before he left [3]. He expanded the surveillance state [4]. Obama seemed sincere and then ended up selling out the American people even further.

Schumer wont whip the vote to block Kavanaugh [5]. Democrats recently overwhelmingly backed the largest defense budget in US history [6].

It still makes sense. It's not "hollow propaganda". Both parties are war, oil, and business parties. Neither are in favor of helping the worker.

[1] https://www.cfr.org/blog/how-many-bombs-did-united-states-dr...

[2] https://www.politifact.com/punditfact/statements/2014/jan/10...

[3] https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/nov/21/dakota-acces...

[4] https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2017/01/obama-expands-surveill...

[5] https://www.washingtonpost.com/powerpost/schumer-plays-long-...

[6] https://www.forbes.com/sites/eriksherman/2018/06/20/house-an...


My initial reaction to your posting is reinforced.

If the parties are significantly different when it comes to existential threats to the US, then most issues are a distraction. If we're not talking about millions of lives or trillions of dollars or the political destruction of the country, they may in fact be very harmful distractions when the issue is voting correctly.

I interpret comments like yours as not genuinely engaging person-to-person, but rather demonstrating how to submit to a certain way of thinking, perhaps to normalize it for third party readers.


Your interests are going to be represented by one of the two major party candidates, whether you like it or not. And even if you're firmly on the side of "do not like," one of those candidates is almost certainly going to be less worse than the other. Maybe you think both of them have authoritarian tendencies, but only one of them openly talks about the press as the enemy of the people and tacitly encourages their followers to demonize and harass their opponents. Maybe you want universal health care and neither of the candidates support it, but one of them talks about shoring up and expanding the Affordable Care Act and the other one talks about repealing it. Maybe you think both of them are too beholden to Wall Street, but only one of them literally lives in a gold-plated penthouse a couple blocks away.

So, sure, it's your legal right not to vote. But it's my legal right to point out that by doing so, you are not nobly opting out of the system -- you're supporting the winner.


If you are voting for someone in a representative system they are acting in your name and their action are your responsibility. Not to mention that you give legitimacy to such a system by participating in it and help it to perpetuate itself.

Then again, supporting the lesser evil might be reasonable in some situations, but that doesnt get you out of the responsibility of the actions of the lesser evil.

Voting is a lot like the Trolley problem.


It's the candidates job to win my vote. If neither win my vote what am I supposed to do? Vote for someone I don't like at all? Why should I have to do that? People who don't vote have been roughly 45-50% of the voting bloc in recent history [1].

As a Democratic Socialist learning towards Socialist, neither Hillary nor Trump represented really any of my views. Pretty much none at all to be honest. Both were terrible people, and terrible candidates.

[1] http://www.electproject.org/2016g


There wasn't even a single issue you agreed with either Hillary or Trump on? Because even if there was just one thing you cared about and which only one side supported, then by your stated principle that both parties are (otherwise) the same, then you should have voted for that.

Or... even if both sides were pro-war, pro-big-business, anti-worker, whatever, you could have still voted against the undignified office-demeaning racist.


One thing that I agree with isn't enough to get me to drop my morals and vote in favor of endless wars, low wages, unaffordable healthcare, unaffordable college, keeping marijuana illegal, privatization of our schools, more oil drilling & fracking, more income inequality, more anti-union rhetoric, doing the favors of Wall St., surveillance state, etc.

I voted for Obama in 2012, and even though his public image was fantastic, I feel as if the blood from everything that was kept out of public view is on my hands. I won't make that mistake again.


This is on your hands, too.

I mean, it's probably not even worth me making the same cliched points about responsibility to vote, that you can read anywhere else. I'll just note this: the disappointment in Obama, the lack of perfect (or often, even "good") candidates, the general disappointment in the actions by government... none of that is new, unique to this cycle, unique to the U.S., or unique to you.


I'm sorry, but it's not on my hands. Nothing is really different, just a never ending slow decline for the majority of the country.

You should put blame in the right places, such as campaign finance laws and mainstream media which undoubtedly played a bigger role than non voters...since people who abstained literally did nothing. Maybe the system is broken and people see nearly the same candidate over and over and have no real way to vote outside that?


Blaming people who didn't vote is a strange thing.

For one, it ignores any practical barriers to voting. Maybe someone was working an hourly job with no flexibility to make it to the polls that particular day.

Also, the status-quo of our political system is also in play. What about someone living outside of one of the 6 swing states and their vote wouldn't have likely made a difference. Consider New York State: a Democratic voter may skip with the knowledge that the state will absolutely go blue, and a Republican voter may feel their vote is in vain because the state will go blue anyway.

Shouldn't it be the people who cast their votes who are held accountable for the individuals they put in office? For this I leave you with George Carlin's explanation on the matter [0]

[0] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xIraCchPDhk


No, because of the electoral college, in states like California where your vote doesn't matter as much (because nearly everyone votes democrat) the turnout is lower.

It's not apathy when your vote literally isn't worth as much as someone else's, as evidenced by the fact that the number of votes didn't even determine the election.


You vote on more than just the president, though... you still have an opportunity to get your voice heard.

Admittedly, as a statement of fact, it's plausible/likely that the electoral college reduces turnout because presidential elections get people excited (especially when they know their state is in play), but that's not usually a rational response. You still get to vote for congress, state government, ballot initiatives, etc.


Or if they missed the time at work it would have taken to vote, they'd lose their job and can't feed their family.

Election day is not a national holiday


Just because a candidate had a stated (or misstated or unstated) viewpoint doesn't mean a vote for that candidate is a vote for that viewpoint. That's not how any representative-elected political system has ever worked.


Actually, the 50% of people who didn't vote in the presidential election have said we don't care to choose between which of the two pieces of shit we're going to be forced to eat, and we're not going to legitimize our own oppression by helping pretend its consensual.

If Kodos had been elected, this likely would not be happening at the EPA (nor that shitshow over at the FCC). But other similarly destructive corruption would certainly be, depending on what her specific sponsors had purchased. The industries' agendas are written years in advance, the skinjobs' role is merely to sell them, and the act of voting is a major step to getting your mindshare.

Go try talking to a Trump supporter about the direct objectively bad results of his policies, on topics they ostensibly care about - eg tariffs that encourage even more manufacturing to move to China. You will find that they basically just fall back on cognitive dissonance from having chosen him and therefore having bought in to his reality distortion field.


> Actually, the 50% of people who didn't vote in the presidential election have said we don't care to choose between which of the two pieces of shit we're going to be forced to eat

If they had voted in the primaries, they would have different choices, but 71% of those eligible to vote in primaries didn't bother (Turnout was only 29% of those eligible in the 2016 primaries). [0] So, cutting the field back to those “two pieces of shit” didn't drive people away.

The poor set of general election choices is a product of apathy, not it's cause.

[0] https://m.box.com/shared_item/https%3A%2F%2Ffairvote.box.com...


Stepping back to the primaries is fallacious, as it just obscures the criticism. For 2016 we can easily see that the top-level choices were bullshit. But condemning the process that led to the Democratic primary choices is more amorphous, making it easier to cling to belief.

Rather than retreating to lower layers of the recursive structure, it's more productive to discuss models that cover the whole system - my working one is that there is a general gradient whereby the candidates that have (or adopt) views more palatable to entrenched interests receive more support, both funding and institutional. And that support is the primary factor of how far they make it - both election-wise, and how much they "get done" in office.

> The poor set of general election choices is a product of apathy, not it's cause.

The people voting for the popular-corruption candidates look pretty damn non-apathetic to me. I've never understood this idea that if only more people were voting, the process would get more intelligent. I can only think it is wishful thinking by people who are aware of their own struggle between antipathy and capitulation. You hope that if the disinterested suddenly decided to vote, they would all vote in what you consider the intelligent way. And with those numbers, you could have voted for your real choice instead of the one you've resigned yourself to. But, like the idea of gas molecules spontaneously all moving in one direction, it just does not work that way.


I think you're right; simply increasing turnout would probably split the vote along the same lines, and not change the outcome.

What I was replying to is the idea that the winner speaks for the people, which you always hear after every election, which you hear a lot from Trump and his supporters, and which is reflected in the comment "we got what we voted for." If everyone voted, then that would be at least arguably true. But since half of the eligible voters didn't bother to vote, we don't know what they wanted, and no elected official can claim to speak for them.

My final comment was about some theoretical person who could get the dis-interested voters to vote for them. Whoever has that magic could get twice as many votes as the Democrat or Republican. I suspect that the non-voters are mostly centrists, who feel that the major parties have gotten too radical. So maybe a solid centrist candidate could have a third-party chance.


Bingo. It's incredibly condescending and straight-up ignorant to caricature non-voters as naively unaware of the goings on.

Personally I like to make it as clear as possible that I did not endorse the outcome of the election. And seeing how the press reports on third parties gives little option there.

But as I said my biggest concern is that having voted seems to warp people's minds. If they voted for the winner, they rationalize what's being done as in line with corresponding to what they wished for. And if they voted for the loser they get to tell themselves they fought the good fight, but that the other majority is responsible for the results.

I actually think the second largest factor to winning elections is getting wary voters to show up and vote against the incumbent party (with the first being the tendency to go with what one knows).

IMHO, "centrist" is the wrong way to look at it, but of course I'm imparting my own views here. Primarily people just want to be left alone, but they can be whipped into a fervor against an "other". So both parties' basic marketing spiel is freedom for their grass roots constituents' general pain points. But obviously what's ruining your freedom is that other group over there. So really we've got to stop them, and maybe even give them some of their own medicine.

Then when an election is won and it's time for action, of course the profitable ideas have legs - say, undermining the freedoms of the "other" in a way justifiable to the winners. Meanwhile rolling back the older policies would cut into someone's profit, is thus politically unpalatable, and therefore nothing gets done.


The majority of us did not vote for this. Without gerrymandering or the electoral college, Congress and the White House would be overwhelmingly controlled by Democrats.


Just a couple of points, here.

First, gerrymandering's effectiveness is a symptom of the problematic way we elect politicians in this country (first-past-the-post). Implement multimember districts and proportional representation and things might change (then again they might not).

Second, so what if the Democrats controlled everything: Richard fucking Nixon gave us the EPA and relations with China. Meanwhile Carter gave us Regan, Clinton gave us welfare reform/destruction and finance deregulation, Obama gave us a giveaway for private health insurers and put social security on the table ("chained CPI"). Obama and Clinton both accelerated the militarization of our police. This notion that everything would be better (from a progressive/liberal perspective) if only Democrats had power is just out of sync with reality. Better than republicans? Maybe, on some issues. Generally not though.


The GOP of Nixon days and their stance on the environment then is in no way comparable to the state of the GOP in 2018.


The Democrats’ problem is that their supporters are better at sorting themselves into geographically distinct clusters, i.e. cities. You don’t get more Democratic representation for a 90% win than a 52% one. And gerrymandering is a bipartisan endeavour, whichever party is in power during redistricting gerrymanders, that’s just American politics. As far as the electoral college goes no one is making any effort at reform because no one cares unless it’s their ox that’s been gored. US presidential elections go by electoral college vote so that’s how candidates campaign. If it was by popular vote a lot more Republicans would bother voting in California and a lot more Democrats in Utah. There’s no actual constituency for reform, just the whining of losers. When the Democrats next take the White House there will be no talk of reforming the Electoral College.


The problem is that the loss of our manufacturing base eliminated Democrat leaning organized labor outside the cities.


I think you're massively overstating the effects of gerrymandering.

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S026137941...

> while Republican and Democratic gerrymandering affects the partisan outcomes of Congressional elections in some states, the net effect across the states is modest, creating no more than one new Republican seat in Congress


It has a more dramatic effect on state governments: "In 2000, 21 state governments had governorships and state legislatures controlled by one party; 15 of those were Republican. But by 2010, 33 state governments were under one-party control, 22 of them Republican." https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/monkey-cage/wp/2018/04/2...


> gerrymandering or the electoral college

Look up just how many races had exactly one candidate and say that again. US politics has been adjusted based on it's ridiculous rules, different rules would have vastly more competitive races.

IMO #1 change would be nationwide proportional representation for at least one side of congress which mean every single vote counts and 3rd parties are viable.


IMO, even if gerrymandering doesn't have a huge effect on seating in Congress (perhaps it has more effect on state level politics? I didn't read the other commenter's link so I won't make any claims) it makes a lot of districts non-competitive. The effects of this are hard to quantify and so we don't hear as much about it, but I argue that they are at least as profound as the numerical differences in congress on our national dialogue.


the issue is more that the country is self-gerrymandered such that despite the majority of total votes going to democrats, the distribution of house and senate seats across the states heavily favors rural areas that tend to vote overwhelmingly republican.


At least the system is working as designed.


You trace it back though; we voted for the people who did the gerrymandering, and we voted for the electoral college (our ancestors did, anyway).


I say it's a feature, not a bug. Reducing everything to a popular vote is just a feel good way of describing mob rule.

The electoral college and equal Senate representation acts as a tempering force on said mob.


The electoral college and equal Senate representation acts as a tempering force on said mob.

So rather than tyranny of the majority, now we have tyranny of an arbitrary minority. I fail to see how that improves things.

As others have pointed out, the constitution and the court system are the features that are supposed to counteract tyranny of the majority, not the EC or the Senate. The EC and the Senate aren't there because they make the system better or more democratic, they're there because they were part of the necessary compromises that were made hundreds of years ago to convince all the independent states to band together into the United States.


> So rather than tyranny of the majority, now we have tyranny of an arbitrary minority. I fail to see how that improves things.

There's nothing arbitrary about it. The United States is a federated government and the electoral college is a system designed to ensure smaller state governments maintain some influence.

We have granted more and more power to the federal government over the years. You could argue that's a good thing. We are forcing the states to "catch up" their policies with the rest of the nation. You could also argue it's a bad thing. Each state is distinct by its culture, geography, demographics, etc. Therefore it makes sense that each state would need its own government and policies to handle its unique situations. Heavy-handed policies on the federal level could ruin the systems created by those governments.

You can argue the point either way but it's not fair to consider the electoral college as an "arbitrary" system. And it was no more of a bargaining chip than the Bill of Rights. It is a deliberate mechanic designed for a government that has changed significantly over more than two centuries.


> smaller state governments maintain some influence.

Which is another way of saying, having some people's voices worth 3 or 4 times more than others. And the sparser the region you live in, the higher the multiplicative effect.

Rocks, trees, grass don't get a say in govt, people do. And all people should be weighted equally. Unfortunately, our current system does the opposite of that.


Aren't limited powers of the Presidency also a tempering force? So are checks and balances.

Yes, direct representation encourages mob voting, but there are hundreds of distinct mobs that can check one another.


Agreed completely. Folks should be careful what they wish for...


In most places you prevent tyranny of the majority through the constitution. Then in the bounds of the constitution, yes, the majority does get to decide. That's not the same as mob rule.


A few years ago I might have agreed with you.

The fact that the electoral college allowed a person with absolutely no political experience who's primary accomplishments were several failed businesses and some TV spotlights to be president of the United States is an absolute fucking glowing failure.

Donald Trump IS the person the electoral college was put in place to stop.

They did not do their job. The electoral college needs to be abolished, and while we're at it, we really need some form of ranked-choice voting for president. FPTP is a pathetic voting system, and while you can argue about which alternative is the best one until you're blue in the face, I have never seen an argument that favors FPTP when the main metric is fair representation.


I think any opinion predicated on the purpose of the electoral college at this point is invalid. That's because it was originally intended to allow the states to choose independent electors, but since they are now bound by the statewide popular vote, any effect of that is unrelated to the original purpose.

The fact that sometimes they elect the candidate who did not win the national popular vote is simply a bug in the evolved system, and all defenses of it are post-hoc rationalization motivated by the assumption it will continue to favor Republicans.


> Donald Trump IS the person the electoral college was put in place to stop.

Wrong. It was put in place to stop someone who was only popular in urban areas. You need to carry a majority of states in order to represent the states. There are plenty of other checks to "stop" (curb) the power of the office. The voters can have a big say whether or not those should be invoked this November.


"You need to carry a majority of states in order to represent the states"

The states have never had an equal number of electors, so I believe your claim is false.


Actually this is the result of a two party system, not some nefarious political conspiracy.

The electoral college is the way we elect presidents for a reason. If we went by population, a huge chunk of the country's vote wouldn't matter and the Democrats would win every election. I'm pretty sure that's exactly the opposite of what the founders of the country envisioned.

If you're not happy about what's going on, get your act together and take back the house and then proceed to do what the Republicans did to Obama after they took back the senate and effectively blocked everything he wanted to do, including a SCOTUS nomination.

You want REAL change? Allow more political parties so that the pendulum doesn't just swing back and forth. There was a time when any president would work with a divided congress and compromise to get stuff done. It would seem those days are long gone and the only way to truly fix the system is to get more than two parties just handing off power back and forth.


> any president would work with a divided congress and compromise to get stuff done

It's funny that you say that because in France the house is often divided, but one common way to get a law passed is put a vote when most representative are absent, except those of the preseident's party.


A huge chunk of the population's vote already doesn't matter. Any state with a wide margin of victory for either party effectively neutralizes the power of an individuals' vote. For presidential elections specifically, I live in a very blue state. No matter what my vote, it will not change the outcome even if we ground-hog-day repeated the election 1 million times. Whereas, in a state like Ohio or Pennsylvania or Michigan, where thousands of votes separate the winner, each individual's vote is much much more important, as well as the network effects of their political activism/thought patterns onto those around them.

It's disingenuous to say that the two party system is the only problem here. Votes already don't matter for many people, except as a symbolic gesture of rights/freedom.


> Any state with a wide margin of victory for either party effectively neutralizes the power of an individuals' vote. For presidential elections specifically, I live in a very blue state. No matter what my vote.

The presidential election is less important than your local elections. I live in a very blue state as well and nearly every year, our state supports the Democratic candidate. However, the majority of the local and state governments have had equal representation over the years, including electing several independent candidates. THOSE elections have far more impact on my day-to-day life then who's president for a few years.

If you want to make a difference you can. If you feel like your vote doesn't count, then I would refer you to the time when Jesse Ventura ran as an independent candidate in Minnesota. The Republican candidate in one of the debates said, "If you vote for Jesse Ventura, then you're wasting your vote" You know who won the Governor's race that year? The guy who was told if you voted for him, your vote didn't matter.


a "stated stance"? Show me where?

I call BS.


https://prod-cdn-static.gop.com/static/home/data/platform.pd...

ctrl+f EPA ctrl+f Regulation: The Quiet Tyranny

It's really not that difficult.


From their 2016 platform: We firmly believe environmental problems are best solved by giving incentives for human ingenuity and the development of new technologies, not through top-down, command-and-control regulations that stifle economic growth and cost thousands of jobs.


Trump, in his infinite wisdom, said that if asbestos had not been banned, the World Trade Center would never have burned down.

https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/25865556945865113...


So, what exactly happened? The EPA was founded by a republican (Nixon). Yet environmental efforts are now attributed to democrats. And combined with that, is that republicans was to destroy the very org they made?

What am I missing out of this? Why did the parties completely change their face?


The political parties did largely switch sides on many issues. As Republicans love to remind people, Lincoln was a Republican and he freed the slaves. Additionally the politicians who opposed civil rights legislation were largely Democrats. http://factmyth.com/factoids/democrats-and-republicans-switc...


Had there been an actual switch, you would have seen numerous politicians changing party. Virtually none of them did.

The one senator: Strom Thurmond

The one representative: Albert Watson

The whole "party switch" idea is slander and an excuse. It's a rewrite of history intended to evade the ugly truth of an unbroken continuity to behavior that is now considered unacceptable.


and that behavior would be?


The Reagan administration sold the GOP that all government agencies are incompetent.


Not exactly. Reagan was a surprisingly nuanced political thinker, whether or not you agree with him. He believed - and in fact observed - that government has an inherent motivation to constantly increase legislation. This, according to Reagan, is partly because legislators who vote for more regulations on a given industry will then benefit from that industry’s lobbying and campaigning efforts. It’s akin to a somewhat benevolent protection racket - play ball, or you might find it even more expensive to do business.

Of course, Reagan flipped that script and made wanton deregulation a “selling point” of the GOP. And now Trump has taken that to the extreme.


In a very shorthand version of things - it's related to fundamentalist Christians switching from segregation to anti abortion as a rallying cry in the 70's, which somewhat meant a switch from southern Democrats to the GOP as time went on, the tie in used during the Reagan adminstration by his EPA head James Watt was that the Bible says that the world is for humans to use, and that since the Bible predicts that Jesus is coming back, saving the environment from development is a pointless goal cause the second coming of God would render the state of the environment moot (of course one could probably find contradictory statements/interpretations for either side of an argument in the Bible).


You’re missing the fact that introducing bureaucracy is the GOP’s best tool in dismantling big bad government.

In Nixon’s time, introducing an agency that directly answered to/was controlled by Congress was the name of the game.


Pretty hard to call Nixon a small-government conservative. He was the last of the Rockefeller Republicans (counting Ford as part of his administration). Some Nixon Admin policies:

-Nominating Warren Burger and Harry Blackmun to the Supreme Court, who concurred in Roe v Wade.[0]

-Creating subsidies to turn corn into a commodity crop, effectively paying farmers to grow a lot of it[1]

-De-coupling the US Dollar from the value of gold and instituting price and wage controls[2]

No Republican in any district in 2018 America could get the nomination supporting these policies.

[0]https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roe_v._Wade#Supreme_Court_deci...

[1]https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earl_Butz#Secretary_of_Agricul...

[2]https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Nixon#Domestic_policy


[flagged]


This website is NSFW.


This is the result of a 2016 amendment. Not the curreent admin. And read what the article says, the headline is clickbait. It will be a case-by-case review of any new application. Old, legacy bans will remain.


It is absolutely the decision of the current administration. From Snopes:

> The problem, according to critics, is twofold. The first, more generally, is that the EPA could have used the currently unfolding overhaul of the TSCA — which began at the end of the Obama administration and has continued along a very different path under Trump — to ban any new uses of asbestos, something that had been the case at the end of the last administration. Instead, they are explicitly allowing new uses, but with the caveat that the EPA first evaluate possible potential new uses based on “risk evaluation, select studies, and use the best available science.”


Why are we unquestioningly swallowing this headline from an unknown source as if it were the truth?

The EPA has not approved any new uses of asbestos. Quite the contrary:

> In the absence of this proposed rule, the importing or processing of asbestos (including as part of an article) for the significant new uses proposed in this rule may begin at any time, without prior notice to EPA.

https://www.epa.gov/asbestos/federal-register-notice-propose...

This new rule is required for the EPA to comply with the Lautenberg Act's "Mandatory duty on EPA to evaluate existing chemicals with clear and enforceable deadlines"

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frank_R._Lautenberg_Chemical_S...

Politically, it's an unfortunate name. But it's not approving Significant New Uses, it's regulating Significant New Uses.


Also, this isn't really about new uses of asbestos, despite the name of the rule. It's about making sure that old uses of asbestos which have fallen out of use don't reappear. Actual new applications for it are still unconditionally banned.


This makes sense as asbestos only really causes harm when humans come into contact with it. For applications where it is safely enclosed or mixed with another material it may have its uses.

I think analysis on a case-by-case basis is the right way to go.


It does make sense, and I get frustrated by the blanket reactions below. In my line of work redeveloping historic buildings, asbestos is just another item to deal with. Some of the asbestos we encounter is friable, where we have to seal off a room with plastic, have all workers in hazmat suits, keep the material wet at all times, double bag it, and send it off to a special landfill in a sealed-top dumpster. Non-friables are much easier to safely remediate. Furthermore, asbestos that is encapsulated is safe to be left in place undisturbed.

It stands to reason that if there is a non-friable, encapsulated use where asbestos' natural properties make a significant impact, them we should at least consider their potential benefits as well.

Asbestos is a cheap and natural product with dangerous side effects. Much like oil. Allowing ways to use it safely is a worthwhile consideration.

EDIT: thinking back, the real pain in the ass with asbestos in my buildings is when it is glued down or otherwise affixed, and cannot be lifted away cleanly. Even in friable asbestos applications, if it can be removed or replaced relatively cleanly, then its not a big deal.

EDIT 2: to put numbers to the abatement discussion, we typically spend 1.5% of our construction budget on abatement. $30mm construction budget will cost $450k to remove it all properly, and in these buildings, asbestos and lead is everywhere. The bigger hit to us is on schedule, where we have to set aside an additional month or 2 to let the abatement guys have a whole floor at time, sometimes having to make 2 passes to abate the surface finishes like floor and ceiling tile, then come back through after general demo to remove pipe insulation, mastics, etc. The schedule hurts.


Case-by-case analysis is really expensive for a government agency to do. And you know full well that developers will cut corners at any chance they can if the rules are loosened up.


If we banned all uses of harmful substances, many things (e.g. spaceflight) wouldn't be possible (or at least much more expensive) (e.g. most hypergolic propellant used for fine maneuvring e.g. during docking are extremely poisonous - alternatives are being tested but aren't there yet).


Yeah, hydrazine came to my mind instantly.

That stuff is scary.


Case-by-case could be an industry wide standard with Operations & Maintenance requirements, which is what we currently have in real estate surrounding existing asbestos and lead applications. A similar protocol surrounding implementation of new "safe" installations of asbestos-containing-materials could be developed.


In what cases would you use it where humans wouldn't be in contact with it eventually?


As far as I know asbestos was often mixed with cement for insulating properties. And in this case was often deemed unharmful.

Maybe it'll find uses in locations that use cement that requires thermal insulation but isn't exposed to humans.


What about during demolition, including unplanned demolition such as what happened on 9/11? A lot of people got sick and died from breathing in that dust.


Electrolysis membranes.


One thought would be as a cement additive in marine applications.


What about asbestos and marine wild life?


Genuine question, if you do not have lungs does asbestos have any negative impact on you? Marine animals either hold their breath and come up for air or have gills.


If it becomes loose in the water it would get in their gills and bottom feeders would suck it up off the sea floor and harm them the same way it harms lungs. That said, im not sure there would be loose pieces of it leaving the cement. Plus if someone REALLY wanted the properties of asbestos, there are plenty of ceramic wools that are pretty much identical products (with the same risks of asbestos) that are comparable in price and not subject to the same kind of rules. However nobody that makes ceramic wool would be dumb enough to pretend that shit isn't harmful to be exposed to.


I would wager that most marine animals would be unaffected. Mammals would hold their breath, and any other animal with gills already deals with fine-grained sediment.


Might perforate the blood vessels in the gills and enter the blood stream? Later on we eat it?


Deep space probes?


If asbestos is enclosed, what's the point in using it? Why not just build the entire object using the material that enclosed the asbestos?

Safety analysis on a 'case-by-case basis' will take place where the product is made, not where it's sold. In China. So you believe Chinese inspectors will keep Americans safe?


> If asbestos is enclosed, what's the point in using it? Why not just build the entire object using the material that enclosed the asbestos?

Asbestos is carcinogenic because it's extremely fibrous. By enclosing asbestos you mitigate its deleterious effects on human lungs. However, you do not remove its insulation properties, which may not be shared by whatever is physically enclosing it.

Simply put: all you need to prevent fibrous material from entering the lungs is a physical barrier. But a physical barrier is insufficient to provide insulation. Sandwiched asbestos provides insulation that the enclosure material cannot provide on its own.


Because the material itself may not have the insulating properties of asbestos itself. Additionally the material enclosing might be more expensive than asbestos too.


Can it be mined or mixed with other material without people coming into contact with it?


The manufacturing process pretty much always involves humans.


Like what kinds of used?


Isn't that anyways now different, I mean asbestos is dangerous when its in the air but:

> The report states that the agency will no longer consider the effect or presence of substances in the air, ground, or water in its risk assessments.

Therefore if they don't consider effects from having it in the air asbestos is not dangerous anymore? This article must seriously misrepresent the facts, I can't believe that even post-Trump / GOP are this insane.


Leaded paint is only really dangerous if you pry it off the wall and swallow it. Who would do that?


Or, much more likely, if you create a fine dust by sanding it.


Or if it is pulverized into dust and becomes airborne, like when you open/close an old painted window, or door.


And yet there is a nice chunk of lead in my car.

It's all in how you use it, asbestos included.


Or breath in the dust as the paint degrades in an alarmingly short time.


Kids do that. The paint chips even have a sweetish taste to it.


>EPA is now allowing asbestos back into manufacturing

Wow, misleading headline of the decade. Asbestos was never completely banned from manufacturing in the United States, only for certain items.

https://www.epa.gov/asbestos/us-federal-bans-asbestos

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asbestos_and_the_law_(United_S...


Very much so. The entire proposed rule, so far as I can tell, is solely about taking most of the asbestos products which are still legal to manufacture and use in the US, declaring them a substantial new use on the basis that they're no longer being made, and erecting regulatory barriers to ever manufacturing or importing them again. It doesn't unban anything, not even genuinely novel uses for asbestos (which there's a long-running blanket ban on).


yes. that's right. it was the proliferation of costly lawsuits in recent decades which diminished the use of asbestos in the US.

companies are still trying to resolve all of these lawsuits.

what kind of incentives would need to be in place for a company to willingly put that lawsuit target on its own back?


I've heard people argue that a much more effective way to do environmental regulation would be to basically not regulate and instead increase liability standards for environmental/health damage.

Right now, in many cases, if a factory is dumping toxic sludge into a river and they're within EPA limits, there's nothing anybody can do to stop it.

If you allowed farmers downstream to come after them for damaging crops (or whatever), or allowed class action suits against coal-burning power companies for cancer and such, imagine what that might do to incentive structures.

I'm not sure I buy it, but the asbestos case makes me wonder.


How would you prove which power plant produced the particular molecules that gave you cancer? What if the company that owns a power plant has gone bust? How does this help you deal with cancer? What if you die before you make it through the years and years such a court case would drag on?


I imagine that whether or not the asbestos is frangible will be strongly considered during evaluation.

Incidentally, I have also seen a good amount of evidence that the fiberglass we currently use to replace asbestos insulation is super bad for your health, but likely not as bad.


And wait for us to discover all the wonderful side effects of ingesting or breathing nano particles of anything.

They are everywhere now.

E.G: salt now often contains E551, which is silica nano particles. It's silica, so the laws says it's ok because the raw material is harmless. Except we have no idea how the shape of it affects us. It will be able to go into places it couldn't before, interact chemically differently, and so on.

A lot of fun is to come.

It's the same with GMO: the tech is superb, the potential is wonderful. Can we wait 30 years of testing, and do said testing by independent, interest-free entities before spreading it everywhere ? Can we make testing on interactions ? On long term exposures ? On complete ecosystems ? And for each product ?

Hell no: let's say it's safe by default because mouses didn't suffer from eating it for a few months. Then use illiterate facebook mum posts to make sure any critics is regarded as unscientific. We got this.

The thing is, human has always did that. It's not being evil. It's our natural way of doing things: try it out, and fix on the way. It's why we made so many cool stuff.

The problem is, we are arriving at a point were the destructive potential of our actions is reaching such a scale, this strategy is way too dangerous.


> E.G: salt now often contains E551,

Strange how new solutions to non-problems keep getting invented. We just used to put a few grains of rice in the salt cellar to stop it getting damp.


Asbestos, stone wool, fiberglass, etc. all tend to have the same physical properties, thus making them dangerous to inhale or ingest.

Unfortunately, these physical properties tend to be why these materials are so effective as insulators.


Be careful not to conflate chemical and mechanical properties. They share chemical properties, but do not share the mechanical property that makes Asbestos carcinogenic.

Asbestos breaks down into particles of a dangerous size and shape. Glass and rock wool fibres are shaped differently and do not break in the same way. Glass/rock wool has been used extensively in practice and no link with cancer has been found to date.

A quick search has found a quora post about the subject that goes into more detail: https://www.quora.com/How-much-of-a-health-hazard-is-fibergl...


Asbestos stands out in that list as causing a significant mesothelioma risk. It's because some of the fibers are so small. There's some speculation that carbon fiber will be similarly dangerous, but rock wool and fiberglass aren't quite there. They're nasty but not that nasty.

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