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Asbestos risks when exploring old cement plants inside or outside the building?

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Feb. 1st, 2013 | 03:38 am
posted by: cc124905 in abandonedplaces

I am wanting to check out an abandoned cement plant nearby and would just like to know if I'd be at risk of this?

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Comments {20}

Every Day Above Ground

(no subject)

from: mallorys_camera
date: Feb. 1st, 2013 12:29 pm (UTC)
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If the plant was one of the many that manufactured asbestos cement, you could be at risk. Asbestos cement is friable -- meaning it breaks down over time. That means there would be a lot of asbestos dust in the air. Generally speaking, you have to be exposed to asbestos over a considerable period of time to develop asbestos-related diseases. However, there are cases of rescue workers at the Twin Towers who developed mesothelioma after being exposed to asbestos in the Towers for a very brief period of time. So be careful.

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aishabintjamil

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from: aishabintjamil
date: Feb. 1st, 2013 01:38 pm (UTC)
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I'm not certified for asbestos work of any kind, so take this with that warning. I've just picked up a few bits of information from co-workers who have their asbestos-inspector's certificates.

The major danger of asbestos is inhaling fibers. Airborne dust is a risk in any old building. If you're making a habit of going into them to take photos it's probably not a bad idea to invest in some disposable dust masks to keep the worst of it out anyway,and to change your clothes immediately after you leave to make sure you don't carry anything away with you. There are health risks from things like bat and pigeon dropping too, especially if they are dry and the dust becomes airborne.

If you see loose,fibrous looking insulation in an older building, it's probably asbestos-containing material. Don't poke at it. You typically find that on pipes, and around things like boilers and furnaces, and sometimes inside walls. Other places you might find it are in certain heavy duty adhesives used for things like tile, in some older floor tiles, and sometimes in building siding. Those aren't risks unless you're generating dust from them by actual demolition.

Some good general information on cement issues here: http://www.mesothelioma.com/asbestos-exposure/products/cement/ It's not generally in issue unless it's broken/cracking, but there's always the chance that if they were producing it that they weren't doing much to control dust during the process, and in that case there might be quite a bit of it on general surfaces.

I wouldn't go into any abandoned industrial facility without at least doing some research and getting an idea what went on there. My employer has been working at one in a town in CT which is across the street from the local YMCA, and within a quarter mile of no less than 3 schools. There were 150 drums of unlabeled stuff, and a vat acid left over from their metal processing. We ended up hiring someone who could go in wearing a full level A suit (imagine a space suit, complete with self-contained air) to take the initial samples because there could have been *anything* in those drums. Sometimes unscrupulous people will see an abandoned industrial site, without good access control, and sneak their hazardous waste into it so they don't have to pay for proper disposal.

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Elli

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from: ellig123
date: Feb. 1st, 2013 03:07 pm (UTC)
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A standard disposable dust mask won't protect against asbestos exposure, although might give a false sense of security!

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aishabintjamil

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from: aishabintjamil
date: Feb. 2nd, 2013 02:56 am (UTC)
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Agreed. If you know there's asbestos you shouldn't be handling it without a tyvek suit, gloves, and a full face respirator.

The dust mask does probably have some value against other things that are more common in abandoned buildings than asbestos, which is what I meant. I suspect a lot of people who go photograph abandoned buildings do so while cheerfully oblivious to the potential environmental hazards that may lurk in them.

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Lover. Healer. Fighter. Ink and Angst.

(no subject)

from: sarahkucera
date: Feb. 1st, 2013 01:50 pm (UTC)
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How about you just consider that if you're trespassing on any abandoned property that you're at risk for any number of things at any possible time? Anything from asbestos exposure to being attacked by a raccoon to falling through a floor. Always take precautions like wearing boots and layers of protective clothing and gloves...always carry a light and travel with a buddy...and always accept that what you're doing carries an inherent risk.

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ford_prefect42

(no subject)

from: ford_prefect42
date: Feb. 1st, 2013 02:56 pm (UTC)
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Asbestos risk is pretty much mythology. Yes, it exists, but the people that had probpems worked in opaque clouds of it for years. Standing next to an asbestos clad boiler for a few decades won't harm you.

It's one of those scares that was cooked up by a corrupt system, the trial lawyers make a fortune off it.

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franklanguage

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from: franklanguage
date: Feb. 2nd, 2013 12:03 am (UTC)
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IAWTC: The "asbestos abatement" currently being done to old buildings—and for the past several years—is actually more dangerous to workers than it ever was to people who lived and worked in said buildings for years. Asbestos is most dangerous when it's airborne, not when it's in a solid slab as I used to use in chemistry class when heating my Bunsen burner.

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operatic_diva

(no subject)

from: operatic_diva
date: Feb. 2nd, 2013 03:28 am (UTC)
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Are fucking stupid? Or do you work for James Hardy?

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ford_prefect42

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from: ford_prefect42
date: Feb. 2nd, 2013 05:13 pm (UTC)
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Thank you for the civil discourse and the well reasoned reply. I look forward to you making an ass of yourself in the future.

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JJ_MacCrimmon

(no subject)

from: jj_maccrimmon
date: Feb. 3rd, 2013 05:03 am (UTC)
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Diva, watch your mouth. He's right - use civil discourse in this forum or go find another one.

He's also spot on about asbestos. Unless you kick up a cloud by pulling down wall or ceiling coverings, it's mostly harmless. The danger is disturbing this fibrous material.

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honestjoh

(no subject)

from: honestjoh
date: Feb. 1st, 2013 03:25 pm (UTC)
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Always take precautions like wearing boots and layers of protective clothing and gloves...

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(no subject)

from: cc124905
date: Feb. 1st, 2013 10:23 pm (UTC)
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I was planning on exploring the outside parts probably now. Is there still a risk?

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ford_prefect42

(no subject)

from: ford_prefect42
date: Feb. 2nd, 2013 12:13 am (UTC)
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no.

At least, not a real, practical risk. There's a risk that you, standing where you are right now, might suddenly be hit by a meteor. Are you worried about it?

The guy above that said that 1 fiber can kill you is technically correct. But it's a 1 in billions shot. That's why virtually all of the people that have gotten sick from it were people that were exposed to vast amounts over long periods.

Basically, yes, there's a risk. There's a risk of you inhaling an asbestos fiber that causes mesothelioma right where you are sitting right now. Again, are you worried?

Here's the big thing. try not to raise dust. Furthermore, I cannot stress this enough, no matter how tempting it is, DO NOT snort lines of any powdery residues you may see in an abandoned concrete factory.

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keechakatt

(no subject)

from: keechakatt
date: Feb. 2nd, 2013 12:41 am (UTC)
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I work for a lighting company and many work orders come with the asbestos disclosure.

I don't think you can be too careful.

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Amorette

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from: amorettea
date: Feb. 2nd, 2013 01:57 am (UTC)
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I like to used a painter's respirator when exploring old abandoned places because pigeon poo is nasty, nasty stuff. Carries all sorts of germs. Both silica and asbestos will be in the air in an old cement plant but probably won't be a major problem unless you are extra sensitive or just have sh*t luck. I always wear old clothes, gloves, hard hat, etc. and wash the clothes thoroughly when done. That said, I have explored with folks in flip flops who seem to have no concerns.

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operatic_diva

(no subject)

from: operatic_diva
date: Feb. 2nd, 2013 03:27 am (UTC)
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All these people here saying "asbestos isn't risky" or "you have to be in clouds of it for long periods of time" ARE WRONG. ONE exposure to ONE fibre is all it takes to cause mesothelioma- which is a slow, horrible death. Where I live thousands of people have died from asbestos related diseases and projections say in 10 years another 170,000 will die.

It is not worth the risk for some photos.

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ford_prefect42

(no subject)

from: ford_prefect42
date: Feb. 2nd, 2013 05:31 pm (UTC)
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One fiber, yes. In 1 out of several billion cases. The fact remains that it does not, in practice, work that way. The exposure does matter, and the people that had problems were and are almost without exception, those that worked in factories or otherwise in constant extremely high level exposure for extremely extended periods. Educate yourself with actual *facts* before you go calling people stupid bubby.

http://annhyg.oxfordjournals.org/content/55/6/565.full

The risk is based on fiber exposure years. So while you are *technically* correct, that one fiber is the proximate cause of the disease, it's a matter of rolling a 10 billion sided die. It needs to come up 1 for a fiber to cause mesothelioma. Now, why do your friends die of it? Because they rolled that die a hundred billion times. they worked in clouds of asbestos fibers for years. There is no risk to a person walking through an abandoned factory that is greater than the risk of getting hit by a meteor.

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Vanity Asphyxia

(no subject)

from: vanityasavirtue
date: Feb. 3rd, 2013 02:39 am (UTC)
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Hello there, person who works in the asbestos field here. Cement plant would be a very dangerous place. Asbestos is really a danger to you when it is in dust or crumbling form where fibers could easily get airborne. up until it's ban in residential use, asbestos was a common ingredient in many cement mixes. Unless it's a cement plant that was opened and closed within the last 20 years and manufactured cement strictly for residential construction (not likely), it's extremely probably that the inside of the place is just coated with asbestos dust. You can easily kick this up by walking through it. Air currents could disturb it. These are not exaggerated claims. I'd consider it too dangerous. Unless you somehow have access to tyvek suits, full-face respirators and a decontamination tent/shower don't bother.

The amount of exposure to asbestos isn't what matters. The most common type of asbestos, chrysotile, is like a barb, and when it imbeds itself in your lungs, it creates a constant irritation that your lungs can only repair with scar tissue. Here's one of the videos my company uses in our classes for asbestos workers: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AcgQ_0ZklG0

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Polecat

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from: p0lecat
date: Feb. 4th, 2013 03:37 am (UTC)
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I removed Asbestos for 10 years as a Hazardous Material Handler and Asbestos Abatement Technician and there are a LOT of different ways to protect your self but the most common is a NORTH HEPA Half face respirator and were rubber boots and the bottom half of rubber rain gear. Wash everything with soapy water when your done exploring and you should be fine. However in most cases, the asbestos you might encounter will be located around boilers, steam lines, or anything that involves high heat. And amazingly, 8 inch by 8 inch floor tiles for some reason. Mainly found in government building and schools.

In the abatement industry, we always said Asbestos is the Bestos or we are Master Abattors.

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(no subject)

from: cc124905
date: Feb. 4th, 2013 04:00 am (UTC)
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What I need to know is if I do not go into the buildings but stay outside, will I be safe then?

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