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  #1  
Old 06-22-2007, 02:31 AM
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Asbestos and the WTC

Asbestos and the WTC-asbestos.jpg

A friend sent me this picture tonight. I should disclose that I'm certified to identify, quantify and remove asbestos. When I have the oppurtunity I choose to leave it and manage it in place. It really is a wonderful substance with huge potential benefit to mankind and some down sides; like anything really. Not just my personal opinion but New England Journal of Medicine agrees with me:

Quote:
Originally Posted by NEJM
NEJM also reported:

Recent epidemiological studies of persons with low exposure to asbestos either occupationally or environmentally provide little support for the concept that there is an increased risk of lung cancer when asbestos concentrations are at levels several hundred or thousand times lower than those found in workplace situations in the past.

The NEJM study went on to cite five studies (none of which, incidentally, appear elsewhere in this article) of persons exposed to asbestos which "show no statistically significant excess cases of lung cancer when concentrations of fibers are low."

The study concludes: "In the absence of epidemiological data or estimations of risk that indicate that the health risks of environmental exposure to asbestos are large enough to justify high expenditure of public funds, one must question the unprecedented expenses on the order of $100 billion to $150 billion that could result from asbestos abatement."
So I'm not real clear on exactly what happened at the WTC regarding the asbestos. Two ways I think it might have went. 1. WTC was built right at the wrong time and the asbestos lagging on the steel only went so high. Planes impacted higher than the asbestos was installed. 2. Port Authority was forced to remove the lagging after fighting in court not too. Perhaps a combination of the two, I don't know. (Does anyone else)

My main questions: Would asbestos have helped slow the collapse and thus saved more lives? Was it removed to satisfy some, at the time, current scare-fest put on by the media, politicians and trial lawyers?

I can't help think of carbon credits...
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Old 06-22-2007, 08:18 AM
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While I do agree that from a technological point of view at THAT time, asbestos may have, and probably was the right choice -- I have to point out that my grandfather died from mesophelioma -- and today I feel there are better choices. Those choices may cost more money (and they do) but the provide the same protection. In the end it all comes down to the dollar.
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Old 06-22-2007, 08:54 AM
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I never heard about any deliberate efforts to limit or remove asbestos fireproofing from the WTC. Is this another conspiracy theory?

As I understand it -

Unlike traditional 'old-school' skyscraper construction, such as the Empire State Building, the Twin-Towers of the WTC were built from a novel and lightweight design. The Twin-Towers used an outer steel skin, tied to a central steel core by lightweight steel trusses.
The interior structural steel was protected by spray-on fireproofing (probably asbestos) and drywall. As built, the Twin-Towers were more than adequately strong for almost any occurence, except for the after-effects of an airliner collision. The catastrophic effects at the site of of the airliner impacts shattered the drywall, and blew away much of the spray-on fireproofing, exposing the steel to the resulting fire.
Eventually, failure at the connections of the superheated trusses, broke the ties between the outer skin and the inner core, allowing the outer skin to buckle under the weight of the upper floors, resulting in the Twin-Towers collapse.

Near the end of WW II, the Empire State Building survived the impact of a twin-engine B25 bomber on the 78th floor.
I sometimes wonder if the Twin-Towers had been built with the massive construction and steel framework of the old-time skyscrapers, would they still be standing?

Happy Motoring, Mark
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Last edited by Mark DiSilvestro; 06-22-2007 at 09:11 AM.
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Old 06-22-2007, 03:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark DiSilvestro View Post
I never heard about any deliberate efforts to limit or remove asbestos fireproofing from the WTC. Is this another conspiracy theory?

As I understand it -

Unlike traditional 'old-school' skyscraper construction, such as the Empire State Building, the Twin-Towers of the WTC were built from a novel and lightweight design. The Twin-Towers used an outer steel skin, tied to a central steel core by lightweight steel trusses.
The interior structural steel was protected by spray-on fireproofing (probably asbestos) and drywall. As built, the Twin-Towers were more than adequately strong for almost any occurence, except for the after-effects of an airliner collision. The catastrophic effects at the site of of the airliner impacts shattered the drywall, and blew away much of the spray-on fireproofing, exposing the steel to the resulting fire.
Eventually, failure at the connections of the superheated trusses, broke the ties between the outer skin and the inner core, allowing the outer skin to buckle under the weight of the upper floors, resulting in the Twin-Towers collapse.

Near the end of WW II, the Empire State Building survived the impact of a twin-engine B25 bomber on the 78th floor.
I sometimes wonder if the Twin-Towers had been built with the massive construction and steel framework of the old-time skyscrapers, would they still be standing?

Happy Motoring, Mark
I don't know what the amount of asbestos was or how it was applied in the WTC. I'm curious to know more. I suspect that the shock of the plane hitting would probably knock lagging loose, depending on the type and how applied. I've seen some stuff that's sprayed on that would fall off if someone sneezed and on the other side of the spectrum I've seen stuff that wouldn't come off if you wailed on it with a hammer.

I do know that low exposure to fibers does not adversely effect a person's risk of lung cancers. This is not to say that there weren't some outrageous exposures in various industries, such as mining asbestos, that were harmful; especially to those that smoked (and who didn't back then?). I also know that there's not really a good substitute for many applications that works as well, as efficiently and as cheaply as did asbestos.

As far as conspiracy theories... No I'm not advocating or trying to start another one. The picture just made me start thinking about stupid overreactions fueled by unsubstantiated fear and the consequences they have. There are so many; Alar, breast implants, DDT, Eugenics, asbestos, AGW, killer mold, etc... I'll leave the conspiracy theories up to ugly porcine former morning show hosts and, evidently, 35% of the Democratic party.

Great article, BTW, on asbestos here
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  #5  
Old 06-22-2007, 04:22 PM
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The spray-on fireproofing might have been the stuff that could be 'sneezed' off. Or, with the way things often work in the modern world, perhaps the stuff wasn't properly applied. Or in this case, there simply wasn't a reliable way to protect the steel from the effects of a catastrophic airliner impact. In any event, according to one of the original architects interveiwed for a PBS Frontline documentary on the WTC, the buildings were simply not designed to survive the type of disaster that occured on 9-11.

Happy Motoring, Mark
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Old 06-22-2007, 10:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark DiSilvestro View Post
The spray-on fireproofing might have been the stuff that could be 'sneezed' off. Or, with the way things often work in the modern world, perhaps the stuff wasn't properly applied. Or in this case, there simply wasn't a reliable way to protect the steel from the effects of a catastrophic airliner impact. In any event, according to one of the original architects interveiwed for a PBS Frontline documentary on the WTC, the buildings were simply not designed to survive the type of disaster that occured on 9-11.

Happy Motoring, Mark
No doubt. They were coming down one way or another after receiving that kind of kinetic energy. After a little more reading it seems that asbestos fireproofing only went to around the 65 floor of each tower. I've seen some tenacious spray on stuff. I have no idea how things were done at WTC.
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Old 06-22-2007, 11:53 PM
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Oh boy. Asbestos. Where to begin.

btw, Gotta--its mesothelioma.

My dad worked in a Johns Manville (Jersey) asbestos shingle factory in the '50s during the summers in college. Never been sick a day in his life.

Wife represents successor of JM.

I represent ship workers than were exposed on mainly boiler room ops.

Lot of angles.
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  #8  
Old 06-24-2007, 01:40 AM
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Pretty tasteless advertisement.

Sort of like showing a dead raped woman in an ad for mace spray.....




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Old 06-24-2007, 02:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Austin85 View Post
Pretty tasteless advertisement.

Sort of like showing a dead raped woman in an ad for mace spray.....




..
It was an ad from the 1970's.
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Old 06-24-2007, 02:09 AM
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I suspect this ad was composed many years before 9-11, possibly during the '70s, and is actually touting the use of asbestos in the Twin-Towers. Possibly, the "fire alarm" mentioned refers to a fire drill or evacuation following a small fire not caused by a terroricst act.

Happy Motoring, Mark
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Old 06-24-2007, 10:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark DiSilvestro View Post
The spray-on fireproofing might have been the stuff that could be 'sneezed' off. Or, with the way things often work in the modern world, perhaps the stuff wasn't properly applied. Or in this case, there simply wasn't a reliable way to protect the steel from the effects of a catastrophic airliner impact. In any event, according to one of the original architects interveiwed for a PBS Frontline documentary on the WTC, the buildings were simply not designed to survive the type of disaster that occured on 9-11.

Happy Motoring, Mark
I think it is true that an impact of the type that occurred was not at all contemplated during the design. Who could imagine a sane person would fly an airliner into a building? NObody back then....but now....

I also heard, I believe, that the asbestos may have been applied too lightly by the insulation contractor and the parties responsible for quality control may have received something to not notice. I cannot remember the source of this idea but that is in my memory banks.

Reinforced concrete seems the best solution in my mind. The huge structure in Dubais is being constructed of it, IIRC.

I suspect height may be limited by RC due to the weight of the building material. In any case a limit of this nature may be a good thing.

I don't see how you can make a really tall building safe for people to live in using the current exiting methods specified by code....stairs. A person of some age or other limitation in mobility simply cannot be expected to navigate 200 floors of stairs (picking a number out of the sky). No pun intended....originally.

Tom W
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Old 06-24-2007, 06:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by t walgamuth View Post
I think it is true that an impact of the type that occurred was not at all contemplated during the design. Who could imagine a sane person would fly an airliner into a building? NObody back then....but now....

I also heard, I believe, that the asbestos may have been applied too lightly by the insulation contractor and the parties responsible for quality control may have received something to not notice. I cannot remember the source of this idea but that is in my memory banks.

Reinforced concrete seems the best solution in my mind. The huge structure in Dubais is being constructed of it, IIRC.

I suspect height may be limited by RC due to the weight of the building material. In any case a limit of this nature may be a good thing.

I don't see how you can make a really tall building safe for people to live in using the current exiting methods specified by code....stairs. A person of some age or other limitation in mobility simply cannot be expected to navigate 200 floors of stairs (picking a number out of the sky). No pun intended....originally.

Tom W
I'm not sure if the folks at the Empire State Building planned for an airplane strike but they got one in the form of a B-29, if I recall. It's not unrealistic from my POV to plan for that, it's not always terrorist related and there's quite a lot of air traffic around cities. Who knows what can happen.
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Old 06-24-2007, 06:47 PM
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Just for the record the Empire State Building was hit by a B25 bomber that got turned around in thick fog. The B25 is a toy compared to what hit the WTC's. The B25 isn't that large and doesn't contain nearly as much fuel, it was also probably flying at 150mph, or less...
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Old 06-24-2007, 11:06 PM
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the twenty nine oto is a huge plane.

tom w
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Old 06-25-2007, 12:01 AM
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True but a B29 did not hit the empire state building AFAIK.

B29>B25 BIG difference!
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