TortsProf Blog

Editor: Christopher J. Robinette
Widener Commonwealth Law School

Friday, April 6, 2007

Asbestos Advertising

The Consumerist blog has posted a pretty amazing (and somewhat disturbing) ad for the safety benefits of asbestos.  On the one hand - wow, that's pretty weird.  On the other - it suggests either remarkable denial (quite possible!) or a genuine belief in the wonders of the product.  It's a reminder of a time in which asbestos was really considered very nearly a miracle.  (Of course, lots of the fights are over precisely when it became clear that it was not a miracle but instead a disaster.)

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I think there was very arguably a stretch of time when asbestos did do more good than harm. In the 21st century, we forget the extent to which fire was a devastating force, in part because of the success of asbestos in ending the problem of the peacetime citywide conflagration.

Posted by: Ted | Apr 7, 2007 4:48:40 AM

The funny thing about asbestos is that for certain jobs, it really is the best substance out there. As long as you don't go ripping it out, or causing it to become dustlike (say by sanding, filing, or punching holes in it), it is perfectly safe. The tests show that as long as you dont disturb it, its actually harmless (meaning that abatement should be sealing and not removal).

In some materials, such as emulsions and stuff we used to "goop", the tests indicate that if used properly it should never cause a release. And this is even after you go at the material (say roofing mastic) with a sander.

Problem is that we used so much of it, and the asbestos industry lied about the dangers of it, that the use of it now is akin to citing the Dredd Scott decision.

Posted by: Bill | Apr 9, 2007 1:23:16 PM

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