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jaes 08-08-2008 08:25 PM

asbestos & paint--let's talk.
I am in my mid 60s. When I was in my 20s and 30s I would, ocassionally (a grand total of 2 or 3 months), work with furnance ductwork that had a asbestos coating. I would remove the ductwork, --the asbestos would flake off---I also removed other asbestos building material---it was dusty, at times, (I did not wear a mask). --30 years later I have no asbestos related health problem (none). Currently, I have several older rental houses that have some furnance ductwork with asbestos--- this is not unusal for house over 80 years old. . ---When some tradesmen happen to see the ductwork---I get reactions from ---panic to --"it's ok, just do not disturb the ductwork---keep it encapsulated--for example, keep it covered with a good coat of paint." HERE'S THE QUESTION: Is there a plastic-like paint or coating that I could paint-over the now painted asbestos ductwork? --Seems to me that there must be a coating (like paint) but thicker, more protective, ---that one could "paint over" the asbestos ductwork to better encapsulate the asbestos. Any suggestions would be great. Please, let's not get into panic suggestions like bulldozing the houses while wearing space suits. ----Thanks, in advance. ---Jaes.:)

Nestor_Kelebay 08-08-2008 09:03 PM

About the only thing I can think of that will be thick and "encapsulating" would be an alkyd block filler. Basically, this is a paint that's meant to be applied as a primer to concrete blocks to fill and bridge all the roughness of a concrete block's surface and provide a smoother surface for painting.

The only thing is that I don't know how one disassembles asbestos ductwork, and if you paint over this stuff, are you going to make it harder to disassemble, and therefore more prone to releasing dust as you resort to "busting it up" with a hammer to disassemble it?

The rest is a personal rant that's probably not worth reading...

Asbestos is a 3 sided coin. Before they changed their web pages on asbestos, the OSHA stated that the asbestos fiber count in the parks around San Fransisco had been measured at 50 times the amount that would require the employer to provide protective clothing to employees had those parks been considered "places of employment". Also, the citizens of Duluth, Minnesota swallow 7,000 asbestos fibers on average in every glass of tap water they drink. Asbestos is one of the most abundant materials in the Earth's crust, and there's simply no way of avoiding exposure to it when you go outside. But, certain places in North America have more asbestos in the local geology than others. All of California has asbestos bearing rock. The rock and gravel pits around San Fransisco are used to build gravel roads in the parks near San Fransisco, and when cars drive over those roads, their tires cause the stones to grind against one another, eroding the stones and releasing asbestos fibers into the air as dust. The State of Virginia also has a lot of asbestos in the local rocks, especially in the Piedmont area. The rock all around the Great Lakes has asbestos in it, and erosion of that rock by wind and rain causes the asbestos fibers to be washed into the Great Lakes, one of which is the source of Duluth's potable water.

Yet, people in Duluth and Virginia and San Fransisco live to ripe old ages too. I think the bottom line is that we just don't know why asbestos will cause lung diseases in some people and leave others alone. But, the fact that we evolved on a planet with a lot of asbestos in it's crust would suggest that many of us have some natural resistance to asbestos fibers.

Put asbestos in the same bag as lead. From 1945 to 1985, millions of stay-at-home moms raised their families in homes across North America. Some of those homes were older with threaded iron water supply piping and others were newer with lead soldered copper water supply piping. And, it wasn't until some California high school students decided to test for lead in their school's drinking fountain that they found lead in the water delivered by copper supply piping. So, for about 40 years, millions of stay-at-home moms and their kids were taking part in the greatest clinical trial ever inadvertantly conducted. And after 40 years, no one had ever noticed any difference in the general health of moms and babies living in older homes with threaded iron pipes, and those living in newer homes with lead soldered copper pipes. It seems to me that the conclusion to be drawn from this is that lead soldered joints in copper pipes has no apparant effect on our health. But, they banned using lead solder on copper supply piping because of the concern that lead could stunt brain development in newborns. Maybe there were noticable differences in the health of the two groups, but no one was investigating that parameter's effect on health. Who knows.

That is, lead and asbestos are just two more things we don't really understand. People that think we understand all the details about how and why lead and asbestos affect some people but not others watch too much TV. I know a guy who smoked from the time he was 18 to the time he died at 93, and he died of pneumonia, not lung cancer. Go figure.

Big Bob 08-08-2008 10:13 PM

Lots of things you could use to coat this... best might be a Benjamin Foster mastic designed for this application if they still make it.

Paint as advised above or kool seal or other elastomeric might have enough expand contract properties (elasticity) to get it done without cracking over over a heating and cooling season.

3000 years ago ugly slaves and criminals were sent to the asbestos mines in Greece. Average sentence was 3 years or death which ever came first.
I'm not sure when it became a secret that it might not be the best thing for your health.

I've sold many box cars full of it in the early '70's, cut it, moved it, chewed it, made a pipe out of it... As Gov. Arnold S asked in most every movie he made
"so yov vaunt to liv,, vorever?"

many horror stories... man works around it..wife cleans his dirty work clothes..she gets asbestosis. etc.. Haz Mat handling is big biz and "fear factor" doesn't hurt.

It needs to be treated with respect.. not fear.

"it's the short fibers that are bad". This wonderful sticky, heat resistant mineral, was added to plaster to increase working time, fire proof suits & curtains at movie theaters, put in brake pads for our cars, used in many insulating & other building products.

jaes 08-09-2008 06:13 PM

I will check "alkyd block" & "Foster mastic"---any others?
Thanks Nestor_Kelbay & Big Bob for the specfic product sugestions and the sensible discussion about asbestos. ---In my town, we have pressure groups that can most easily lobby elective officials to past ordinances for the "safety" of citizens (how can you argue against safety?). --A while back, a group wanted the city fathers to past an ordinance that ALL new houses be built with tornado shelters. After much testimony from builders, the ordiance proposal failed. ---I fear, if the subject of asbestoes in older homes came up, the discussion would be less rational than the discussion by Nestor and Big Bob. ---In short, Nestor & Big Bob, I appreciate your discussion and suggestions. ---Any other product suggestions? ---Jaes.:)

sirwired 08-10-2008 10:49 AM

All I have to say is that you should be consulting your municipality's Health Dept. on this, not us. If you do this improperly, it could make it difficult or impossible to sell the property in the future, as some places have mandatory Asbestos disclosures as part of the selling process. (Similar to the common ones for lead paint.) Only the health dept. can tell you what is legal or illegal in your area.


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