Asbestos Causes Cancer
"The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, in diet and in the cause and prevention of disease."
At the present time, over 4 million tons of asbestos are mined each year.
In the United States, approximately 60,000 people die each year as a result of cancer and other diseases caused by asbestos.
What is the death toll worldwide?
Asbestos is used in cement, asphalt, pipes, wallboard, textiles, insulation, brake linings, fire proofing, filters for the beer & wine industry, hand-held hair dryers, and thousands of other products.
All forms of asbestos cause asbestosis and cancer: chrysotile, amosite, crocidolite, and tremolite (talcum powder). - Epstein page 60.
Safe replacements for talcum powder include baking soda and corn starch.
Vermiculite may be contaminated with asbestos.
Occupational exposure to asbestos dust occurs during processing, and also in the following industries: construction, ship building, insulation, textiles.
In 1918 US and Canadian life insurance companies stopped selling life insurance to asbestos workers.
By 1932, the British had fully documented the occupational hazard of asbestos dust inhalation. - Epstein, page 61.
Scientists were denied access to employee health records by U.S. companies. Only by accessing records kept by the employee unions were scientists eventually able to measure the full extent of the health risk to asbestos workers.
Until 1980 the Reserve Mining Company dumped into Lake Superior 67,000 tons per day of waste rich in asbestos fibers. This has contaminated the entire Great Lakes water system. - Epstein, pages 61, 66.
Glass fibers from fiberglass insulation may produce a type of disease and cancer similar to that produced by asbestos. - Epstein, page 67. Alkalize For Health suggests properly installed sprayed-in-place polyurethane foam insulation as a superior alternative to fiberglass insulation. See also air-crete 1, 2, 3.
There is a growing number of lawsuits against federal agencies for having failed to notify workers in the past of the known hazards of asbestos exposure. - Epstein, page 67.
The massive human toll taken by asbestos is probably the single most important incentive to the development of coherent national policies recognizing preventive medicine as a major future component in the delivery of health care. - Epstein, page 68.
These air treatment devices change the quality of the air in a way that may be highly beneficial to the lungs.
Vicks VapoRub camphor, eucalyptus, menthol
Fisherman's Friend -
The body of nearly every American contains asbestos. Tiny asbestos fibers floating in the air come from vehicle break pads, building insulation, building fireproofing, aprons, ceiling & floor tiles, stove linings, etc. In the United States at least 25 million tons of asbestos have been incorporated into buildings, vehicles, and thousands of other products.
Most people have asbestos in their lungs. Asbestos also finds its way into the digestive tract. 30% of the nation's water supplies contain asbestos fibers. Diseases caused by asbestos include: lung cancer, cancer of the pharynx, cancer of the esophagus, pleural mesothelioma (cancer in the pleural lining of the lungs), peritoneal mesothelioma (cancer in the peritoneal lining of the abdomen), stomach cancer, colon cancer, cancer of the rectum, and asbestosis.
Asbestos is virtually indestructible. Every piece of asbestos that was ever mined and put to use is in the environment somewhere. "The World Trade Center was one of the last buildings filled with asbestos," says environmental consultant Wayne Tusa. "The entire downtown of Manhattan may be contaminated for some time." (Business Week, September 24, 2001) The US government has misled the population of lower Manhattan regarding the extent of contamination.
Asbestos is a fibrous mineral. Each fiber can break into smaller fibers until the individual fibers are so small that a million of them side by side would measure only an inch. They can be so small that you need an electron microscope to see them. They are so light weight that they float in the air and take a long time to settle, then forming a fine white film of dust over everything. Billions of microscopic fibers can fill air we breathe and get into our food and water without us being aware of their presence.
Once in the body they stay there. Millions and even billions of tiny indestructible mineral fibers constantly irritating the tissue where they are lodged. The area around the fibers becomes inflamed, a situation called asbestosis. And then after about 20 years, cancer appears. This is known as "the twenty-year rule." (Inflammation is associated with cancer. See a list of things that will reduce inflammation.)
Asbestosis was first identified as a disease in 1900 by a physician in London. By 1931 the British government had responded by compensating asbestos workers under the workmen's compensation act and providing safety rules to minimize exposure to asbestos dust. To avoid the cost of workmen's compensation, American companies then began a decades-long disinformation campaign involving suppression of information and conducting fraudulent research. Industry-funded research in Canada and the United States showed that asbestos was harmless, and based on this research the U.S. Public Health Service solidly backed the industry position. This denied millions of workers proper compensation for their disease, prevented safety measures from being implemented, and allowed millions of tons of asbestos products to be sold in North America until the mid 1970's when the industry's behavior was exposed in a court battle.
The result of widespread use of asbestos in the United States for the 45 year period from the early 1930's to the mid 1970's has been millions of deaths and over a trillion dollars in personal and property damage. Faced with tens of thousands of lawsuits, insurance companies paid more than $500 million on behalf of the asbestos companies, and the companies have paid more than $2 billion. However, personal and property damage caused by asbestos totals more than a trillion dollars, and the bulk of this cost will be paid by others. More than 733,000 buildings (including 30,000 schools) in the United States contain asbestos.
Have the companies learned anything from the experience? No one really wants to put them out of business, because then who will pay the claims? However, this might have been best. In order to remain in business the American asbestos companies have moved most of their operations to countries such as Mexico, Taiwan, South Korea, Brazil and India where there are no workmen's compensation program or safety rules. Plus, the industry is concentrating on selling asbestos to developing countries. The (industry controlled) World Trade Organization (WTO) continues to promote international trade in asbestos. More than a dozen countries around the world have banned all uses for asbestos. These countries that try to defend themselves are liable to legal challenge under WTO rules. In other words, the United States has exported its asbestos problem to other countries and is acting through the WTO to prevent countries aware of the problem from defending themselves. (The WTO is an illegal institution, that has its origins in covert and undemocratic backroom manipulations).
An estimated 10% - 15% of annual cancer death in the United States is directly caused by asbestos. Is there any way to remove asbestos fibers from the body? No one knows and little research is being done. Asbestos is a time bomb that goes off each time an old building falls into disrepair or is demolished. In our opinion, the asbestos industry is a criminal organization that is knowingly spreading disease around the world and deserves to be put out of business globally. The profit generated by the asbestos business is tiny compared to the health damage and property damage that this business causes.
* The bronchial tubes, sinuses and nose are lined with mucus membrane. There are about 70 square meters of mucus membrane in the airways. Vitamin A is needed for healthy mucus membrane. The flow of sticky mucus from this membrane catches impurities in the air we breathe. Irritation and cellular injury causes increased mucus creation. The mucus is continuously moved out of the lungs, sinuses and nose into the trachea and digestive tract, propelled by tiny filaments called cilia that move in a coordinated fashion called the "ciliary beat rate", and also by coughing. It would be interesting to examine for asbestos fibers the material coughed out of the lungs when a person has a "cold". Chronic sinusitis is the most common chronic disease in the United States. (Diseases ending with "itis" are inflammatory.) Dietary supplementation with MSM (methylsulfonylmethane) reduces inflammation. See here for more suggestions to reduce inflammation.
* The lungs also contain "alveolar macrophages" which are white blood cells that eat microorganisms and particulates that reach the alveolar space. These macrophages are removed from the lungs along with the mucus. Iodine from the diet is concentrated in many places in the body including the lungs. In the lungs it helps kill viruses, bacteria, and fungi. Vitamin C can kill Tuberculosis bacteria. Bacteriophages are viruses that eat bacteria. Healthy mucus contains an abundance of bacteriophages.
* When the natural cleansing system of the lungs is overwhelmed, foreign material can enter into and damage the lung tissue. The result is inflammation of the tissues and excess mucus formation. If the cilia are unable to remove the excess mucus, then the mucus can become a breeding ground for bacteria and other organisms trapped in it. To deal with lung infections some suggestions include: 1) while sleeping use a cool mist humidifier with a pint of 3% hydrogen peroxide added to a gallon of water, 2) use the Magnetic Pulse Generator developed by Dr. Bob Beck. The Magnetic Pulse Generator generates an electromagnetic pulse that penetrates the body up to 9 inches. You can read about this device on our electro-medicine page, 3) Jonathan V. Wright, M.D. recommends taking 3 to 6 drops of potassium iodide daily in a glass of water. The iodide ends up in all bodily secretions where it kills bacteria and helps the secretions flow more easily, 4) put a few drops of essential oils on a dust mask and breathe through the mask, and 5) Vitamin D stimulates the body's production of antimicrobial peptides which have been shown to attack bacteria, fungi and viruses, including the influenza virus, and which play a key role in keeping the lungs free from infection. See Bottled Sunshine: The Value of Vitamin D.
* Besides water, mucus is composed primarily of glycoproteins. Glyconutrients are discussed extensively elsewhere in this website. Of the eight essential monosaccharides (simple sugars) that the body uses to make glycoproteins, two are well supplied by the modern diet and six are in short supply. Mucus contains five of these simple sugars, suggesting that if some of the essential sugars are deficient in supply, then the body's supply of mucus may be impaired either in quantity or quality. The five simple sugars in mucus are fucose, galactose, N-acetylglucosamine, N-acetylgalactosamine, and N-acetylneuraminic acid. Of these five simple sugars, only galactose is readily available in the modern diet. The carbohydrate and protein structure of mucus is surprisingly complex and precise.
* Toxic chemicals in the lungs, such as from tobacco smoke, can create free radicals that damage the cells of the lungs. Earthing and antioxidant foods can help neutralize these free radicals. Lycopene, the red pigment in tomatoes and watermelon, may help prevent emphysema (Am J Physiol Lung Cell Mol Physiol 06;290(2):L396-404). Lycopene may also help with asthma. Vitamin A is the main antioxidant in the skin, which includes the membranes of the sinuses, bronchial tubes, esophagus, and intestines. Glutathione (GSH) has been found to be useful for many lung problems such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), cystic fibrosis, and lung injury. Glutathione is the body's master anti-oxidant. Vitamin C is the most important antioxidant outside cells. Antioxidants work as a team. Eating more vitamin C takes some of the the workload off glutathione, resulting in glutathione levels increasing as well. Dietary supplementation with acetyl-L-carnitine, N-acetyl-L-cysteine (NAC), and/or whey protein are also found to raise glutathione levels. Alcohol abuse and drugs such as acetaminophen and bleomycin deplete glutathione and the result is lung damage. More ways to increase glutathione.
* Dr. Arthur Coca reportedly cured many afflictions (including asthma) by using a pulse test to diagnose allergies to foods and other substances, and then having the patients adjust their diet and lifestyle appropriately - by simply avoiding the cause. Everyone might benefit from learning the pulse test. Basically, you measure your pulse (beats per minute) before you get out of bed and write it down, before you eat a meal consisting of one food and write it down, 30 minutes after eating and write it down, and 60 minutes after the meal and write it down. That is a completed test for one food. After the 60 minute test you can eat another single food meal and take your pulse at 30 minutes and 60 minutes writing it down each time. Repeat through the day. "The injurious foods are recognized by the abnormal speed-up of the pulse." Children can learn how to do this when they are old enough.
* Dietary supplementation with DMG (Dimethylglycine) improves oxygen utilization in hypoxic tissues, helping the body to compensate for reduced lung capacity. People with many different lung problems are found to respond favorably to DMG. Dietary supplementation with MSM (methylsulfonylmethane) has been found to help people with asthma and emphysema breathe more easily.
* In addition to providing the necessary nutrients so that the body can manufacture the appropriate mucus and protect itself from impurities, there may be other ways to assist the lungs to cleanse themselves. For example, dried mucus does not flow, whereas moist mucus flows. Simply breathing humid air and drinking lots of fluids may assist the cleansing of the lungs. Inhale deeply using the full capacity of the lungs, and then exhale fully. This will alternately stretch and relax the lung tissue, facilitating the flow of mucus. Regular exercise encourages the flow of fluids throughout the body. The force of gravity on mucus in the lungs can be neutralized by lying down, refrain from using a pillow, or even incline the body with the head down.
* Asbestosis leads to progressive scarring of the lungs resulting in respiratory disability and heart failure. Nutrients found to help prevent scarring include abundant enzymes, iodine, MSM, vitamin C, and vitamin E.
* The secretion of mucus is partially under the control of the autonomic nervous system, suggesting that imbalances (stress) in the nervous system can derange the secretion of mucus and that restoration of balance in the nervous system through the practice of Transcendental Meditation may be useful. We combine Transcendental Meditation with a comfortable breathing exercise called "pranayama", plus yoga asanas. The recommended routine is ten minutes of yoga asanas followed by 5 minutes of pranayama followed by 20 minutes of Transcendental Meditation (TM) followed by two minutes of rest. This is to be done twice a day, once in the morning and once in the late afternoon. This routine is very helpful for attaining and maintaining healthy lungs. You can learn yoga asanas, pranayama and TM at your local Transcendental Meditation center.
* The secretion of mucus is also partially under the control of reflexes that react to particulates and chemicals in the air you breathe. To clean the air in your home, an air filter equipped with a negative ion generator is helpful and inexpensive. Particles of dust are suspended in the air by virtue of a positive electrical charge (static electricity). The negative ion generator adds a negative electrical charge to the air which neutralizes the positive charge and the dust settles to the floor where it can be vacuumed. Use a vacuum with a hepa filter or a central vacuum with the canister outside or in the garage. You might also consider installing a Heat Recovery Ventilation System to provide a continuous supply of clean air to your home. When breathing dusty air use an N95 dust mask. The "95" indicates that the dust mask will remove 95% of the dust. This is the mask recommended for use during an infectious disease epidemic. When dealing with airborne infectious agents, you can supplement the mask by putting a few drops of essential oils (oregano, eucalyptus, thieves, etc.) on it.
* Not everyone exposed to asbestos gets cancer. We offer our 8 step program to prevent cancer as a practical means for each individual to help control the damage being done in the body by asbestos.
* The body can remove bacteria, viruses, splinters and other foreign material from the tissues. In the absence of evidence to the contrary, we assume that the body may be capable of purifying itself of asbestos fibers as well. Therefore, we recommend a regular program of physiological purification including such measures as prolific sweating, exercise, and giving your digestive system a rest from time to time, plus various means to strengthen the immune system.
* Everyone should take measures to PREVENT exposure to asbestos.
We hope this page on asbestos and cancer will alert people to the danger and provide understanding and a possible course of action to deal whatever situation faces you.
Epstein, Dr. Samuel S., John Jr. Conyers, David R. Obey, The Politics of Cancer Revisited, East Ridge Press, 1998. See Chapter Five, The Workplace: Case Studies.
Moss, Ph.D., Ralph W., The Cancer Industry - The Classic Expose on the Cancer Establishment, Paragon House, NY, 1991. See chapter 16 "Asbestos: The Harvest of Death".
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