Jewellers check for asbestosis

Hi…I am 53years old and have been making jewellery for 40 years…
In the early days we used Asbestos heat pads and often filed the pads
to smooth them out and also to make a heat proof powder and water
paste for heat protection. Never ever using masks or protection !!!

There was an article in Ganoksin a while back with a recommendation
by American medical experts as to the type of X-ray and frequency
jewellers should have to keep a check for asbestosis or Mesothelioma.

Apparently there is no symptoms for the first 40 years, and so there
are very few sufferers under 55years old I have done some research an
it seems there are high risks, and many times higher if you smoke as
well. Does anyone have useful or links on this subject.

Bernie Santen
Bentleigh Jewellers

Bern, There is no safe threshold of exposure to abestos. Mesothelioma
is a rare condition, a cancer of the mesothelium, most commonly of
the lungs.

It’s almost always linked to exposure to asbestos. There are a
couple of things you can do at this point. Don’t smoke. Go see a
consultant if you suffer from shortness of breath or if you wheeze
(at night, when lying), if you suffer from extreme and unexplainable
fatigue or if you cough up blood. Engage in an active life style -
make walks, bicycle or run if you can/feel like it. Eat plenty of
fruit, taking in antioxidants, because mutating cells produce an
excess of free radicals. Do not worry about it night and day, being
anxious is not good for you either. Enjoying life is extremely
healthy. Leach

Hi Bernie,

I’m absolutely NOT a medic, so take this for whatever it’s worth,
coming from some random internet bozo.

I had a friend who did a lot of work with the EPA on asbestos
remediation in the Charleston Navy Yard. From what she told me,
they’d found a massive correlation between Mesothelioma in the
steamfitters at the shipyard, and smoking. Apparently, if you were a
steamfitter, your odds were “X”. If you smoked and were a
steamfitter, your odds were 1000X. (and they all did, back then.) So
if you smoked back when you were filing the stuff, get thee to a
doctor. Now. They’ll have a much better clue than we would. Scratch
that, just go talk to a doctor. Really. Warren Zevon (the singer)
died of Mesothelioma a couple of years back. Near as he could tell,
his exposure was a couple of trips into his grandparent’s attic when
he was about six. The stuff is not to be underestimated.

For whatever that’s worth.
Brian Meek.

mesothelioma is only associated with the inhalation of small fibers
of asbestos (effective fibers are very small as in 0. 2 microns by
7. 0 microns long). Once diagnosed, mesothelioma usually kills
within one year. Smoking increases the likelyhood of mesothelioma
development by an amazing factorof 100 fold. A number of other
disease states are also possible, even likely. There are many kinds
of asbestos including crocidolite, tremolite, chrysotile and others.
Asbestos is found inaturally in serpentine, catseye quartz,
tiger-eye and a number of other minerals used as

It is also in vermiculite. One should avoid breathing air burdened
with particulates from such materials! It turns out that any
fiber-form materilal that is durable (not dissolved by living tissue
as is glass fiber) and in the appropriate size range is likely to
cause similar damage. In experiments I designed and led at the
University of Tennessee, for instance, silicon carbide whiskers were
as damaging as crocidoloite. Once inhaled, such materials are not
removed from the lung. They are with you til the end. In my opinion,
there is no safe exposure level. I practice and advise zero level
exposure. Please note, these materials can be handled safely. One
method is to keep them wet. As is the case for most toxic materials,
dont get it in you and you wont be hurt. Incidentally, I won a
patent for a simple and inexpensive chemical method for making
asbestos and SiC biologically inert. It is not being used. The
industr. ies to whom the method was pitched said that they were not
interested in making the materials less toxic I hope this information
is of use. It is frightening but ignorance is worse. Anyone wanting
to learn more can contact me directly and I will provide background
and appropriate references.

Gerald Vaughan

Wow Gerald,

That’s some in-depth explanation of asbestos, and related
substances. Thank you for your detailed

And really shocking that when you approached the relevant
industries, they were not interested in your invention of making the
stuff inert! How irresponsible. I wonder why they were dismissive of
your findings?

I never suspected that asbestos is present in all those gemstones
that you mentioned. I’m guessing it only can only be dangerous if
one cuts and polishes those stones, and not the ones that have
already been polished, correct? I use some of those stones to set in
sterling. I am sure they would not be dangereous to our health to do
this, right?

A friend of mine works in a foundary where they use Silocon Carbide
to harden up aluminium. And he smoked pretty heavily - thankfully
he’s given that up. But his lungs are in a pretty bad shape. I
wonder if working with SiC has anything to do with his condition?


I have a good friend that is in the asbestos abatement business and
he wanted me to join his abatement crew. I took the classes required
and passed with flying colors. However, after taking the class, I
soon discovered I wanted nothing to do with Asbestos or even
Fiberglass. Both are extremely toxic and tend to stay in your lungs
forever. This said, I recon it is all relative, I attended a primary
and secondary school that was infested with asbestos, lived in a rent
house for a few years that had asbestos siding in which I drilled a
hole through to run cable lines, and as a jeweler, even used asbestos
sheet as a soldering pad before it was outlawed, ripped flooring up
that was labeled as containing asbestos prior to the 1980’s. I was a
smoker for years and only stopped in the past year or so. I have read
about people getting asbestosis 15 to 25 years after exposure so, I
count my blessings everyday! I think there is hype along with the

My 2 cents