More on Booker’s bogus claims about asbestos
Alongside his more grandiose claims about the “magic mineral” (which I highlight in detail in “Don’t Get Fooled Again”), Sunday Telegraph columnist Christopher Booker has repeatedly alleged – echoing John Bridle – that white asbestos (chrysotile) cement is safe because the toxic fibres cannot physically be released from the cement in a “respirable” form.
This claim was examined in detail in a lab investigation by the Health and Safety Executive, in November 2007. The HSL found that:
As would be expected in a sample of asbestos cement most of the chrysotile fibres were encapsulated in the cement matrix, often as quite large fibre bundles which are clearly visible to the eye.
When the cement is broken or crushed the chrysotile fibres are released from the cement. The fibres released were examined by analytical transmission electron microscopy (TEM) to determine whether they had been altered and were no longer identifiable as chrysotile asbestos….
The analysis carried out showed that the asbestos cement contained fibres of chrysotile asbestos and released chrysotile asbestos fibres to air when sufficiently disturbed…
Claims being made in Internet articles and in some sections of the newspaper industry are not supported by this investigation.
Epidemiology has shown that chrysotile is a human carcinogen. Animal experiments have shown no evidence that the chrysotile asbestos extracted from the weathered surface of A/C products is less carcinogenic than UICC standard chrysotile asbestos…