Is Asbestos a Threat?

Rebecca LaVally’s “Living Safely with Asbestos” article (May 10) has contributed to home owners confusion over whether asbestos is really a health threat to their families.

Asbestos is one of few substances proven to cause cancer. The late Dr. Irving J. Selikoff, who was director of the Mount Sinai School of Medicine’s Environmental Sciences Laboratory in New York City, conservatively estimates that between 200,000 and 300,000 people will die of asbestos-related lung cancer during the next 20 to 30 years. These statistics are based on both high and low level, and long- and short-term exposures.

These exposures are directly linked to airborne asbestos that has been disturbed or is in poor condition. Disturbing asbestos can be as simple as using a broom to dust away cob webs from a cottage-cheese ceiling in a living room, or installing a computer or electrical lines over a dropped ceiling that has asbestos debris on it or mechanically polishing a floor made of asbestos vinyl tile.

To say the type of asbestos found in homes is not a health threat is simply not true.


For more information, contact Asbestos Victims of America, P.O. Box 559, Suite L, Capitola, Calif. 95010, (408) 476-3646 or Asbestos Victims Special Fund Trust, 1500 Walnut St., Mezzanine Floor, Philadelphia, Pa. 19102, (800) 447-7590.

BRENDA HENRICH, Rancho Dominguez. The writer is an executive with the Danum Corp. of Rancho Dominguez, which makes hazardous waste vacuum trucks.