Asbestos and Fire: Technological Tradeoffs and the Body at by Rachel Maines

By Rachel Maines

For a lot of the economic period, asbestos used to be a extensively acclaimed benchmark fabric. in the course of its heyday, it was once synthetic into approximately 3 thousand diverse items, so much of which secure existence and estate from warmth, flame, acids, and electrical energy. It used to be utilized in nearly each from inn conserving to army expertise to chemical production, and was once crucial to development development from shacks to skyscrapers in each neighborhood around the usa. starting within the mid-1960s, even if, this as soon as renowned mineral started a quick fall from grace as turning out to be consciousness to the intense healthiness dangers linked to it all started to overshadow the protections and advantages it supplied.

In this thought-provoking and debatable ebook, Rachel Maines demanding situations the hot vilification of asbestos by way of delivering a ancient viewpoint on americans’ altering perceptions approximately possibility. She means that the very luck of asbestos and different fire-prevention applied sciences in containing lethal blazes has ended in a kind of historic amnesia in regards to the very dangers they have been purported to decrease.

Asbestos and hearth is not just the main completely researched and balanced examine the historical past of asbestos, it's also an enormous contribution to a bigger debate that considers how the hazards of technological suggestions will be evaluated. As know-how deals us ever-increasing possibilities to guard and forestall, Maines urges that studying to just accept and successfully deal with the unintentional effects of technological suggestions is a growing to be a part of our collective accountability.

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Sample text

Travelers’ accounts of asbestos in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries make it quite clear that William E. Sinclair is in error regarding the material’s having fallen into entire desuetude in Europe after .  Asbestos and the Scientists in Britain and America, 1700–1850 By Pitton de Tournefort’s time, asbestos was well enough known in Europe to have attracted the attention of the Royal Society in Britain.  A fragment of Chinese “linen” cloth was reportedly shown to the society in , and a series of articles and letters about the ASBESTOS BEFORE 1880 35 mineral appeared in the Philosophical Transactions between  and .

The principal difficulty with Ozonoff’s hypothesis is that it is ahistorical in the contexts of both regulatory history and the history of science and medicine.  Usually, although not invariably, it takes a fatal or near-fatal disaster on the scale of a cholera epidemic, the Iroquois Theatre fire, the Gauley Bridge Tunnel, Love Canal, Three Mile Island, or Chernobyl to focus public attention on the danger. In the case of asbestos, it was the publicity associated with the October  meeting of the New York Academy of Sciences, which for the first time brought the hazards of asbestos to a public larger than the community of occupational health professionals.

Occupational-disease researchers such as W. C.  The literature of the period between the first British observation of pathological symptoms in asbestos workers in  and the  New York Academy of Sciences report can be loosely categorized into four types: definite warnings of risk within the constraints of legitimate scientific skepticism, inconclusive studies that include calls for research into possible hazards, findings of no risk, and what I have called red herrings—scientific reports that mistook the cause of the observed symptoms or suggested solutions to the problem that ultimately proved ineffective.

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