Wet and Aggressive Corella challenges Magpie

Wet and Aggressive Corella challenges Magpie

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

#LungLeavingDay 2015

Some of you will remember that a little while ago I said that my youngest brother was likely to lose his house because, long before his wife bought it, it had been insulated with friable asbestos.  I don't know about you, but the phrase 'there is always someone worse off' was frequently heard in my house when I was growing up.  It is so often true.  And definitely in this case  A little while ago I had an email from someone who proved it to me.

The person who contacted me was Heather Von St. James. Nine years ago she was diagnosed with mesothelioma and given just 15 months to live. She was a new mother, and determined to survive.  Her life saving treatment included the removal of her left lung and LungLeaving Day was born. February 2nd (which is today in her hemisphere) is the anniversary of that day. 

Each year, she and her family gather around a fire in the backyard, write their biggest fears on a plate and smash them into the fire.   This link will take you to an interactive page they have created to share that special day.

As you scroll down that page you will see Heather's story, and some of her fears.  I am awed at people's resilience and Heather epitomises both that resilience and determination.  She is also using her experience to reach out to others.  Which of us doesn't have fears and or regrets we would like to smash into a million pieces?  A million tiny pieces, each too small to regenerate... 

My families asbestos experience means I am  more than happy to spread the word about the dangers of asbestos.  My brother and his wife have received confirmation and their house WILL be demolished.  We now know that no exposure to friable asbestos is safe.  Our local government has bitten the bullet and all the homes which were insulated by Mr Fluffy will be demolished and razed.  It is a precautionary measure and  residents are not being offered any choice.  A frightening and expensive upheaval for the affected individuals and the community, but necessary.   So very necessary.  Sadly for some of the residents of those homes it will be too late.  Mesothelioma (also known as asbestos cancer) is slow growing, and the exposure they have had in what they assumed was the safety of their own homes means they will develop asbestos cancer.  However the demolition of the affected homes is, like Heather's surgery,  necessary to try and contain/control/cure the damage.

Asbestos has been used in the home for a very very long time.  The cost of that usage is starting to emerge.
 Asbestos in the Home
Image courtesy of the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance.
My information about the mesothelioma is patchy, but for those of you who want to know more there is plenty of useful information to be found here.  For Australian readers this is a useful link - and I was appalled to learn that we have one of the highest rates of mesothelioma in the world.

I hope that Heather continues to not only survive but thrive - and I love, and plan to adopt,  her initiative of identifying and formally smashing her fears.

124 comments:

  1. Heather's idea is a great one, which I think I will adopt as well... I wish her all the best.
    Mesothelioma; a truly manmade disease. As someone who worked for many years monitoring asbestos abatement projects for air quality, safe practices, etc... I get my lungs checked regularly.

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    1. Jacquelineand...: How right you are. It is a manmade disease. And a cruel one.

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  2. This is horrifying. So sorry to learn about this - how scary. I'll keep Heather in my thoughts. Thank you for bringing our attention to this, EC.

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    1. Rawknrobyn: There is a lot which is scary in our world - and also a lot which is inspiring. And positive. And triumphant.

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  3. I will go and check out her page, EC, as soon as I thank you for bringing all this out in the open. It also makes me wonder how much I was exposed to, living on Air Force bases as a young child.

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    1. DJan: You were probably exposed to a lot. However, it seems to attack on a random basis. Two people can have equal exposure, and one will be untouched. We have so much to learn.

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  4. This is very moving - so is the interactive page.
    I hope Heather continues to stay well and enjoy life.
    Learning more about asbestos was an eye opener, thankyou

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    1. Dawna: Heather's interactive page is a stunner isn't it? Very, very moving.

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  5. The first time I ever heard of asbestos was in high school. They shut down an entire wing of the school to remove asbestos. People explained it was really dangerous.

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    1. Stephanie Faris: My father liked asbestos, and used it for quite a lot of things to do with his jewellery making hobby. He was lucky. Time will tell whether the rest of us are.

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  6. Thank you everyone for your kind words, and thank you for sharing my story! :) Feel free to shoot me an email if you have any other questions!

    Lifesabanquet1 (at) gmail (dot) com

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    1. Heather: Thank you for sharing your story. So much.

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  7. Oh, this was hard to read.This is what killed my dad in an agonizing way. Two things I learned during those months: an asbestos fiber is much smaller than strand of human air and it only takes one to lie dormant for years before it makes cancer. AND: Despite knowing the killing factor, company after company sell or install it in 3rd world countries that have no watch dogs. Companies in lawsuits? They disband, change their name, and go back to selling the killer product knowingly! Bad luck, poor choices, chance encounters I undestand. I do not understand the greed of man...of men who sit as elders in churches, coach little league football, sit on community charity boards that can go into their own company board rooms and do evil in the world. Ah, if you think this is a rant, I'd better stop becuase I am only warming up!

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    1. Bookie: Rant away. It is more than justified. The Mr Fluffy debacle in my town means that several hundred people's homes will be torn down. And thousands of people have been put at risk. For profit. Sick, sad and bad.

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  8. Heather really beat the odds. I'd celebrate that day as well.
    Scary how many places still have asbestos.
    I hope your brother has found a new place to live.

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    1. Alex J. Cavanaugh: It is wonderful that Heather is still here to spread the word isn't it?
      My brother hasn't yet found somewhere new. He only recently got confirmation that their home will come down - and no time frame. Soon I hope.

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  9. It is everywhere in the older houses, I agree with Bookie the greed of some people is behind a lot of things that are know to be dangerous but not stopped because they can still make money out of it.
    Merle............

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    1. Merlesworld: When we had our bathroom renovated recently asbestos had to be removed from the walls. I am glad that it is gone.

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  10. I simply echo all above. What a brave woman--and family.

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    1. Joanne Noragon: She is. Very brave, though she really didn't have much choice about it.

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  11. I'm eyeing off all my crockery now. What a great idea...smashing some certainly would give some satisfaction...but I can't afford to replace it all! However it would be a way of decluttering, too!!

    Reading Bookie's is so upsetting. I felt angry along side her for what she and her family had to go through - what so many others, too many, have had to go through and will go through.

    The asbestos problem is very frightening...it's tentacles spread wide and far....unknown to the innocent victims.

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    1. An afterthought...when we were kids...asbestos mats were so popular to put over the gas rings on gas stoves as a way to control the heat. You could buy them cheaply at grocery stores and hardware outlets. Everyone who cooked on gas stoves used them.

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    2. Lee: We had those asbestos mats as well. Lots of them. I love the idea of smashing fears. Or burning them. Or burying them.
      You are right about those tentacles too. Sadly.

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  12. I know asbestos can be so bad, from where I grew up at. I feel for yall

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    1. Kim @ Stuff could...: The word is getting out. Slowly. It is still being used though.

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  13. My current house was built in 1988, but after looking at your list, I am wondering about the faux-ash in the gas fireplace... I have often wondered what material that was which glows but don't burn. I feel sorry for your brother and his family losing their home.

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    1. Sage: Have you any way of checking? My brother is among the lucky ones. They haven't been able to detect asbestos in the body of their home, so demolishing the house is a precaution - before the horse has bolted. Other people in Mr Fluffy homes have had asbestos fibres found in their linen cupboards and living areas...

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  14. It sounds bad, I hope that you haven't got any?

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    1. Bob Bushell: We had some in the bathroom. Now gone. And it was sheet asbestos rather than the friable toxin.

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    2. Phew, that's a bad thing, but you did get rid of it.

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  15. I am so sorry for your brother and his family. I wondered what the outcome would be after your previous post. Will there be any compensation to build elsewhere? It seems very unfair if there is no help at all.

    Thank you for bringing Heather's story to us.
    Her amazing strength and courage to endure for her loved ones is heartbreaking and yet heartwarming in her determination to do whatever it takes in the face of this dreadful disease that has touched so, so many.

    I think most of us have had contact in one form or another with asbestos in the days when it was deemed a wonder material.
    Now, we all have niggling thoughts in the back of our minds.

    I agree, we need to smash our fears. Send those shards packing.

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    1. Vicki: The government is repossessing the homes and will pay for them. Whether the money is enough to buy another home is the challenge. One in eighty homes here are affected so the demand for homes is going to be huge - and prices will rise.
      Heather's determination is that dreadfully overused and in this case entirely accurate word 'awesome'.

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  16. Thank you for this story, and for the link to Heather's page, which is indeed inspiring, not to say 'awesome'. I hope she continues to do well; I smashed a fear plate while I was there.
    I remember your earlier comment about your brother and his family - I do so hope that they get enough compensation to be able to afford a good, safe house, and that they continue to stay well.

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    1. Alexia: I too smashed a fear plate on Heather's interactive page. And could have smashed rather a lot more.
      We hope the compensation will allow them to buy a replacement home. Time will tell.

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  17. What an amazing story of courage. I'm sorry for your brother and his family. Hopefully they will have some compensation. Thank you for sharing and have a lovely week.

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    1. Christine Rains: Heather is inspirational isn't she? And thank you for your good wishes. A good week to you too.

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  18. I hope there's a program in place to help your brother get a new home. I'm cheering Heather and her family.

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    1. Carol Kilgore: We are all cheering Heather and her family. The finer details are still being worked out, but there will be at least some support for people in the Mr Fluffy homes.

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  19. All I can do is to echo ALL the comments above!!

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  20. I think the odds are in your brother and his wife's favour. I don't know of any child in the country who did not have asbestos exposure as a kid. I certainly did. We used to delight in breaking up sheets of old stuff and breaking up pipe insulation that had become brittle with age. Even in my adult years, I repaired a broken sheet on a garage, cutting the new piece to fit. I though it was cement sheet, but I now believe it was asbestos. Now I have worried myself. Did I mention about the herbicides used on the farm and getting covered in the mist?

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    1. Andrew: I hope you are right. You are certainly right about the sheet asbestos. We were all exposed to it. Often. The friable asbestos that Mr Fluffy homes used is a different (and nastier) version. Just the same, it seems to be random who is affected, how and when. Which is itself scary.
      Herbicide mists? Here too.
      Some days I am surprised any of us survive.

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  21. What an inspiring post. So true that 'there is always someone worse off.' Heather is an inspiration. Wishing her continued good health.

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    1. Mason Canyon: Lots and lots of heath and happiness.

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  22. How very inspiring! And so sad about the human cost of using asbestos.

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    1. ladyfi: It is inspiring - and I think we all need to see inspirational stories. I know I do.

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  23. so glad to hear of Heather's survival, wondering why homes with abestos can't have the asbestos abated rather than them being razed? wow, I had no idea asbestos was used in so many locations in homes,

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    1. Linda Starr: Some years ago the Mr Fluffy houses were 'cleared'. Except that the friable fibres have infiltrated wall cavities, and fallen through cracks into the rooms below. They are not clear, and no-one can suggest a method to ensure that no fibres remain. Given that no exposure level is considered safe, demolition is the only option.

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  24. asbestos is one of the things that fills me with dread. Sheet asbestos is all through our 1963 house and should be safe but who ever knows.....

    so sorry about your brother's home but glad they appear to be safe
    xo

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    1. kylie: None of it is good. Sheet asbestos is, I think, the best of a bad lot, and unless disturbed is ok. Up to a point. The friable stuff Mr Fluffy used? Never, ever good. And the homes will be demolished, but I wonder about the neighbours. And the tradesmen...

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  25. More importantly, is the government providing housing for these displaced people? Surely they are not left to fend for themselves??
    I was told by a neighbour there is asbestos under the unit blocks here, but as long as it isn't disturbed we are safe. As far as I am concerned there is no 'safe' when it comes to asbestos, but I don't know that I can believe her when she says it is there. She often tells me odd bits of information, some of which don't even make sense.

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    1. River: There are some people who have been told to get out NOW. I believe the government is helping them. And they will need a lot of help. Not only will their houses be destroyed, but they cannot take any of the soft furnishings, or the books, or... The rest of the affected people will have their houses repossessed and will be paid for it. Where they go after that is up to them. Not good. And there are, as there always are, political ramifications and back biting.
      Your neighbour might be right about the asbestos under the units - but I hope not.

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  26. That is so scary.

    Good for Heather! I would be a whiny bitch, I just know it.

    I still can't believe there is a company called Mr. Fluffy. That just sounds so...dirty.

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    1. Riot Kitty: I think the idea of the name was to make it sound harmless. Which leads me to think that he knew some of the dangers...
      And yes, I suspect I would whine up a storm if I was in Heather's shoes.

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  27. ITS CALLED BEING SPRAYED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! DAILY WITH SATANS DEATHLY SNOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! CHECKING OUR BACKS TO SEE IF THE LUNG DISEASE HAS REACHED EVERY1!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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    1. usicdidribee titkea: Sadly in these cases it is humans who are standing in for Satan.

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  28. I completely agree with Usicdidribee's well-made point.

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    1. Michael D'Agostino: The waiting game is always awful, and in this instance terrifying.

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  29. What a wonderful anniversary for your friend! It takes so much courage to face fear day after day, with no end in sight. A complete drain on the soul for most people. I am so sorry for your brother and others who are losing their houses - along with the uncertainly of what might happen to them, health-wise, in the future. We so often grab onto the newest product without knowing the ramifications of using it. That contractor is the worst of the worst, though, using it after it was proven to be unsafe. I hope your brother bounces back from this with more strength than he had before.

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    1. River Fairchild: Fear is a destroyer isn't it? Hard to fight, but my life is always better when I do. I do admire Heather's courage, persistance and determination though. And love her empathic nature.

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  30. Mr Fluffy..sounds so innocent. Reminds me of the scene in Ghostbusters where the demon takes a Mr. Marshmallow form. I looked at the 'embiggened' diagram where asbestos can be found. In vermiculite?!? We had this stuff all over the place, packing material, soil improver...I looked into this further. Pure vermiculite is OK but from some mines, it is contaminated especially from a particular place in Montana. The stuff is carefully monitored now but it wasn't when I was growing up. And I remember being in the basement of my old school with pipes with flaking asbestos right overhead. Hard to escape this.

    What a pain and worry for your brother and his wife!

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    1. Sue In Italia/In the Land of Cancer: I am quite sure that Mr Fluffy chose his name deliberately. I hope that he didn't realise just how dangerous it was...
      Asbestos is everywhere. As I understand it, in the sheet form it is not dangerous. Or not until the sheets get damaged...

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  31. Wow - what an amazing woman your friend is. Good on her and her family, their anniversary tradition is great and you're right, very helpful for others as well. It never goes astray to see not only others who may have things worse, but also who are more resilient. Good for all of us.
    Asbestos is scary. I hate seeing the warning labels all over our school buildings. I'm off to check out those links - thank you.

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    1. Jackie K: I do love Heather's tradition. And courage.

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  32. How awful for your brother and his family. Heather's story is inspirational. My father-in-law was diagnosed with asbestosis many years ago from working in the boiler room on ships for a good part of his career in the navy. At 93 he is still going glad to say. Thank you for this very important information.

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    1. DeniseinVA: Long may your father in law continue to prosper...

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  33. What great information, and what a woman that Heather is!

    Asbestos is a great concern for houses in the U.S. as well. :-(

    Pearl

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    1. Pearl: What a woman indeed. Inspirational.

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  34. People of my generation grew up with asbestos in our homes. We also played with Mercury balls. Thankfully, science has found how dangerous these are, unfortunately, too late for many.

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    1. Starting Over, Accepting Changes - Maybe: If mercury balls had been around when I was growing up I would certainly have played with them.
      And rather a lot of us are paying for our wholesale adoption of asbestos.

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  35. Mesothelioma is a concern near here from iron mining operations. Libby, Montana's citizens had a major health disaster from W.R. Grace Company's vermiculite operations which contaminated the entire area. I am so glad you still have Heather.

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    1. Jono: Mesothelioma is another of the dreadful diseases which are becoming more prevalent. I am sorry that it is a concern in your area as well.

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  36. Sad that your brother and others must demolish their homes. But hopefully, this can save the lives of many. Nice that heather has used her situation to encourage others to face their fears.

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    1. Myrna R.: It is wonderful that Heather is using her experience to reach out, and to make other lives better.
      I am glad that our Government bit the bullet and decided that the Mr Fluffy homes were an unacceptable risk.

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  37. I'm sorry your brother was in a house with that horror also inside. I hope he has somewhere to go? Here in some places we have radon in the earth that travels up and into houses, creating a health hazard and you don't even know. Weatherizing one's home can make it even worse by trapping radon. It too causes lung cancer.

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    1. Strayer: My brother doesn't yet have anywhere to go, but he has family here - another brother and me - so won't be homeless. He is one of the lucky ones.
      I am going to have to find out about radon.

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    2. Strayer: Captain Google tells me just how scary radon is. Thank you. Natural is not always benign.

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  38. Thank you so much for posting about this and many prayers for her!

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    1. Sonya Ann: Thank you. I think that Heather has found a place in many more hearts today. Which is lovely.

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  39. In the 1950s, asbestos was used in so many homes and schools. in the 1990s, schools had to remove wall boards in the old buildings built in the 50s. Carefully.
    Scary--not knowing what lies beneath the paint.

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    1. Susan Kane: Here too. And many of the older homes are still full of it. I hope that most of the loose-fill friable asbestos has been indentified though.

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  40. A fabulous post EC, I see this as very educational and a community service. I too have a friend who is suffering from exposure to asbestos. And yes Australia has a dreadful high rate of this terrible disease with the ripples affect on families and the wider community.
    I'm glad I was a little late in visiting this post as some of the comments were very interesting. Thanks for posting about this EC.

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    1. Rose ~ from Oz: Thank Heather, for the inspiration and for her drive.

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  41. We used asbestos here in the states for a long time. It's so awful that you try to do the right things to feel safe only to find out it's dangerous. Like some of the processed foods we're eating. Great post. Thanks for sharing it.

    Gwen Gardner from http://UntetheredRealms.blogspot.com

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    1. Gwen Gardner: Thank you. We are learning. Slowly.

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  42. I am surprised that Asbestos was allowed to be used in the first place.
    As a designer of vehicles we had standing instructions long back that NAM (Non Asbestos Material) only should be used while designing parts.

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    1. Haddock: Sadly, Mr Fluffy's product was supported and encouraged as the newest money saver. And people signed up in droves.

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  43. What an inspiring and moving story from Heather, I'm so glad she's still here and living life to the full. And here's hoping you brother and his family get a new, safe home, as soon as possible. Such worries. Hugs x

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    1. All Consuming: Heather's story is wonderful isn't it? My brother and his wife have been inconvenienced, but (fingers crossed) no more. A lucky escape.
      Hugs gratefully received and returned.

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  44. Terrible stuff, asbestos. And besides being in homes and other buildings, the conditions under which it is processed in third world countries is criminal. First world countries - including, sadly, my own country - are shipping it to them to process (see this article: http://www.asbestos.com/mesothelioma/canada/) There are a lot of guilty parties in this industry. Wishing Heather and your brother and so many others good health in the future.

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    1. jenny_o: There are far too many guilty parties on this issue. Greed. They should know better. They do know better - and choose to ignore what they know. Hiss and spit.

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  45. Out of darkness there can be light... Thank you for sharing this.

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    1. daisyfae: It is pretty amazing isn't it?

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  46. I have always had a serious breathing problem when around dust, so I'm hyper aware about asbestos and the lung cancer it causes.

    So very sorry to hear about your brother - but like you said, it's very necessary. Hope his family and those affected are in a safe, new community sooner than later...

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    1. Mark Koopmans: The Mr Fluffy friable asbestos is in such teeny weeny pieces that people have been living with it in complete ignorance. Which is frightening.
      My brother and his wife are among the lucky ones but yes, I hope they find their new home soon.

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  47. Can you even imagine? It's scary too, not knowing. I'm glad they're getting rid of the houses, that was probably a very huge decision for them to make. I'm glad it wasn't just swept under the rug (ludicrous thought, but I've heard worse w/big issues).

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    1. mail4rosey: Sometimes so many things get swept under the rug that they are no longer possible to walk on...

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  48. Interesting post that shows human resilience. Thanks you very much.

    Greetings from London/

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    1. A Cuban in London: Resilience always blows me away. So many people deal with things which I suspect would have me under the bed refusing to come out.

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  49. It's good you are helping spread the word!

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    1. Lynn: I am more than happy to spread this word.

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  50. It's actually inspiring how heather handled this.
    Not all of us are aware. Thanks for sharing this story.

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  51. Heather is such an inspiration! I am in awe of her and her strong spirit. I love the idea of smashing our fears in a fire.

    So glad your brother and his wife are out of their house!
    ~Jess

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    1. DMS (Jess): Heather is indeed an inspiration, and I was glad to shatter a plate on her interactive page. My brother and his wife aren't out of their house yet, but soon. Very soon I hope.

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  52. Hi,
    Thank you so much for dropping comments on my blog. It is so inspiring to see and meet people around the world through blogging. As you have commented, I also feel so lucky to have been born in my own country. Thanks to my farsighted kings for making Bhutan a peaceful country to live in.
    I have added your blog into my list of international bloggers. At this time I am not able to read any of them because of the engagement with the last phase of my postgraduate studies here in Thailand. Will catch you later.
    Nice to know you. Hope I know you more.

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    1. dumcho wangdi: Welcome and thank you. I hope your studies go well, and look forward to seeing you later.

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  53. I wonder now whether my previous home in Canberra had asbestos in its roof. It was loose stuff, and when I took over ownership of the house, most of it had disappeared, and a friend help insert pink batts in the roof. What a scary thing it has been. It is good that the government is buying the affected houses.

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    1. persiflage: It has been scary. Hopefully yours wasn't one of the Mr Fluffy homes.

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  54. I feel so sorry for your brother and his family, and you and everyone who's worried for them. I hope a cure is found. You never know. Tomorrow we might wake up to hear. I hope.

    Heather is an amazing woman, and the media's focus is way off, they don't highlight women like her enough!

    As for fears. I'm the biggest coward in the world!!

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    1. Guyana-Gyal: You are right about the media focus. Bad news, doom and gloom seem to sell better. Sigh.

      Heather is amazing.

      I doubt that you are the biggest coward. More honest about your fears perhaps?

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  55. I'm glad to hear your friend Heather beat the odds. A friend of our was diagnosed with mesothelioma, and his prognosis was so bad, he started selling all of his amateur radio gear to have enough money to pay for his funeral. Even though the doctor didn't hold out much hope for the treatment, I talked him into going for it anyway. Six years later, he's still here. (And back on the radio!)

    Asbestos is scary stuff. We watch a lot of those home renovations shows on TV, and so many times, especially with older homes, one day the crews starts tearing down walls, and the next, there's a mitigation team wearing hazmat suits in place, because the house is riddled with asbestos.

    I hope your brother and all the other people who have to leave their homes will be receiving enough compensation to get them into another one. It's bad enough they have to move, but it'd be a double whammy if they're out all that money through no fault of their own.

    Happy weekend!

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    1. Susan: I am really glad to hear that your friend has joined Heather in beating the mesothelioma demon.
      The people who are being forced out of the Mr Fluffy homes will get some compensation. The Government is buying back their homes. However, I don't know what happens to those who are forced to leave contaminated objects (soft furnishings etc) behind. And I don't know who pays moving costs. There will be expenses for the people affected, sometimes big ones...

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  56. I don’t know but what there’s not a lot of hysteria around asbestos. Here in Eugene, a man power washed his roof (moss is a problem here), not knowing it contained asbestos. Someone who did know ratted him out, and he was forced to dig up his yard to a distance of three feet (the work to be done by men in masks, of course). I wrote to the city and asked how they knew how much asbestos ended up on the ground, and how they knew that the ground needed to be dug up at all much less to a depth of three feet and at a cost of nearly 20-grand. Naturally, they ignored me. Everyone my age who worked as a carpenter was frequently exposed to asbestos and handled it in the most casual way. Car mechanics, ductworkers, and many others were also exposed, yet I’ve only known one person who became ill because of it. I don’t question that it represents some danger, but I do question the extreme measures with which it’s handled especially when numerous things that are even more dangerous are ignored. Basically, we go after what’s easy, and do nothing about that which is hard.

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    1. Snowbrush: Sheet asbestos is much less dangerous. The friable stuff used as insulation? There have been a number of deaths. Quite a number. And it is a risk the government is not prepared to take. Some years back it assisted in the 'removal' process and has since discovered that traces remain. Sometimes quite bit traces.

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    2. Could I also add that it takes a long time for the results of heavy or long exposure to asbestos to show up as health problems (at least 15 years for lung cancer, and 30 years for mesothelioma). Although I get what Snowbrush is saying about extreme measures in the case of the householder above - similar steps must be taken (in Canada at least) to clean up spilled oil from household tanks, and gas and oil from old service stations ... but since asbestos is a known human carcinogen, better safe than sorry. Too bad there is not some kind of aid for people to assist them in the cleanup, because the cost can be prohibitive.

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    3. jenny_o: Thank you. And some people will not get cancer despite repeated exposure, and others will. And any preventable death is too many.

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  57. Heather's story is inspiring, and I hope for her that she survives and thrives. Her interactive page is good - thank you for the link. I hope your bother and his wife find a much healthier place to live.

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    1. Carola Bartz: Her interactive page is excellent isn't it? I have smashed one plate of fears there - and will probably go back and shatter more.

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  58. Heather is wonderful, and her plate smashing idea is great. How inspiring she is. I certainly smashed a plate there. And I do hope your brother and family are resettled soon and remain in good health. What a curse that stuff has turned out to be...

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    1. Carol: Which of us doesn't have a fear or two to wake us sweating in the small hours... Smashing them is a brilliant idea.
      How I hope that she continues to thrive and inspire.

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  59. My hat off to Heather and her wonderful family. Lone may she survive to prove mind over matter can certainly work.
    A friend of my mother's, back in probably the 1950s, told the government in Western Australia that he considered that asbestos was dangerous. He was a doctor with the Health Department of W.A. and later an emirate professor in various universities. Apparently he visited Wittenoom and really looked at asbestos arriving at the conclusion it could be a health hazard. Unfortunately people with money (Lang Hancock) for one probably had more clout than a lowly young doctor and nothing was done about his advice. I know this to be true as he told mum the story many, many years ago.
    We have asbestos in our house but is has been painted and hopefully will not be a risk to us. We cannot afford to do anything about it anyway so fingers crossed. Two neigbours had their asbestos roofs removed and replaced with iron roofs but the lady next door still has a garage with asbestos wall panels and an asbestos roof so what can one do but hope?

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