Friday, June 15, 2007


We had the popcorn ceiling in the new house tested for asbestos, and the report came back with 1-5% of Chrysotile. Interestingly, the opinions on the Internet differ substantially, whether this is a carcinogenic variant of asbestos or not.

"Chrysotile, a mineral used for asbestos, is not a human carcinogen and no etiology link has been found for chrysotile exposure[1]. Every human and animal study showing asbestos etiology is associated with amphibole fiber asbestos, and there is evidence showing pure chrysotile etiology. However, some chrysolite ore deposits do contain amphibole fiber asbestos such as tremolite, crocidolite and actinolite. Amphibole asbestos minerals have hard, needle-like fibers that penetrate into the lung tissue by piercing the walls of the alveoli. Since the body cannot dissolve or dispose of the amphibole fibers they cause a scarring of the lungs, called asbestosis, or cause a cancer of the lining (pleura) of the lung, called mesothelioma. Chrysotile fibers, on the other hand, are dissolved or otherwise expelled by the body."

That's encouraging.

However, another site says:

"Intensive inhalation of long and thin asbestos fibers over a considerable time period can induce pulmonary deseases such as asbestosis and lung cancers, as well as pleural diseases such as plaques, fibrosis, and mesothelioma. Such health hazards have drastically reduced the use of chrysotile, which is strictly regulated by law in western countries. See also Respiratory system disorders." (

Here is a comment from the harmless faction of the spectrum:

"Chrysotile is the dominant form of asbestos by far, and in the home it is generally harmless although asbestos workers must beware of lung disease due to chronic overexposure to the fine airborne fibers of powdered asbestos."

I.e. unless you are a worker exposed to Chrysotile, you are ok.

Finally, I found the URL of the Mesothelioma & Asbestos Awareness Center. This article illustrates some of the background, politics, lobbying and industrial influence behind the scenes. Excellent article.

Removing ceilings with asbestos is seriously expensive.

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