Thursday, November 27, 2014

NOVEMBER IS:


Like many Australians in the post-war years, I lived in a fibro house during my childhood ...
although ours had a nice garden, was painted pale pink, and was a bit bigger than this randomly chosen Google image...

Use of fibro (asbestos cement) as a building material is now banned in several countries, including Australia.
Unfortunately, a component of the original product was asbestos fibre, used to reinforce the thin cement sheets.
As we now know, asbestos is related to life-threatening diseases, including asbestosis, pleural mesothelioma (lung) and peritoneal mesothelioma (abdomen).

We played outdoors a lot, in the Queensland sunshine.
And we played making cubby houses - with leftover building materials, which included odd pieces of fibro.
There were six of us, so there was always a lot of energetic activity.

In the light of current medical knowledge, I have wondered if any of us will suffer as a result of the inhalation of asbestos fibres which must have occurred.
Only time will tell.  Asbestos fibres that are inhaled through the mouth and nose can become embedded in the lining of the lungs, causing inflammation of the pleura and thus mesothelioma or asbestosis.  


(This is me, with my fifth birthday cake.
Loved cake then; still do...)

A reader of this blog has informed me that November is Lung Cancer Awareness month, and has asked that I write a little about mesothelioma, which she has sadly contracted.

While asbestos exposure most often occurred in people who worked extensively with asbestos materials, asbestos-related mesotheliomas have been diagnosed in spouses or children of those exposed to asbestos.  Workers brought home fibres on their clothing, hair, or person.
Asbestos is still not banned in the United States.


Help your lungs:
Avoid air pollution and exposure to toxic substances, and do not smoke tobacco.


Get fresh air, and enjoy nature...
I found this pretty pink flower in a forest at the mountains, where we took my Dad for a picnic.



High up in a palm tree, in the Red Cardinal garden, we have found the nest of one of the marauding possums ... 
who have now totally demolished all parsley, pansies, petunias and geraniums.
The deck is bare...


We had a fierce storm today - no damage here, but parts of Brisbane were inundated by enormous hail.


The possum left the nest and went off to find a better hiding spot, possibly in the trunk of a tree.



Been sewing again, something involving polka dots.

Be good.  You know why.

XXXX







24 comments:

  1. My friend's husband died from working with asbestos - I suppose many things from our childhood are now related to different illnesses and diseases. My father used to puff away on his pipe, and both of H's parents smoked. I suppose that on the good side is the fact that we ate proper meals, weren't overweight, we skipped, played ball and ran around in the countryside with other children. I didn't even see a sweet until my aunt who lived in Canada sent us a box of jellybeans when I was about 7 years old.
    What a naughty possum!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. How different are times today, Rosemary. Yes, it seemed there was cigarette smoking everywhere, in ignorance of its effects. Like you, we also had proper meals, with fresh ingredients and no inferior additives. That is amazing about the sweets, though - we did have a few of those here, but I know we were very strictly rationed - only 1 per day maximum!
      Lucky the possum is cute, or I'd really hate them :)

      Delete
  2. Asbestos is in some older homes in the U.S., particularly in some kinds of spray on texture that was popular to use on ceilings somewhere in the 50s/60's. It is pretty ugly so who knows why it was popular. I don't think you can build with asbestos here anymore - at least in our city. Each city has its own building codes.

    Those possum's are doing a job on your garden aren't they? I didn't know they nested in trees.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for your comment Darla - perhaps the information I received re illegality of asbestos means it is not banned nationally. As you say, cities make their own building codes. Australia apparently used more fibro for housing than any other country - not a good thing!
      Aussie possums are great little tree dwellers..

      Delete
  3. Trish, asbestos is pretty much off limits in the US, and if it has to be removed for remodeling, it has to be done by specialists in handling it. One of the biggest culprits of the asbestos is in the drop ceiling tiles that were popular to preserve heat and cover old ceilings. Makes me wonder how many things we are using today that will be determined to cause problems in the future....like maybe technology! Have a blessed day.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am pleased to hear asbestos is being rejected in the US now, Linda. There are strict protocols about its removal from buildings here, too, with special clothing and equipment. That is a good point about the future ramifications of the technology we are all using today. Thank you for commenting and welcome to the blog.

      Delete
  4. Love the photo of that youngster. We had houses like that in the UK - for fairly obvious reasons there was a housing shortage after the Second World War and whole estates of 'temporary' homes sprang up.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't think I have seen fibro houses on my few visits to the UK, but apparently post-war saw housing booms in lots of countries, including Australia. Australia certainly embraced the asbestos cement with great enthusiasm.

      Delete
  5. Mesothelioma is a dreadful disease.....by the time you find out you've got it, it is far too late to do anything. It is scary knowing that there is this time bomb still waiting to go off for so many people who were exposed to it. The regulations for removal of asbestos, when it is discovered still to be existing are pretty tight here in the UK...but I know one of Mark's friends died just a couple of years ago, having been part of a campaign in the 1980s, to rid public housing in Manchester , of asbestos. It was particularly cruel that as a campaigner for this, he was exposed to it, and died a pretty horrible death.
    It is so frightening, that a material that must have been thought of as so useful when it was being used, has caused so many problems. Jx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Janice, what a sad story about Mark's friend. Asbestos is a problem in many places, it seems. Recently in Brisbane high readings of asbestos have been found in an area adjacent to a disused fibro factory from years ago. So frightening, knowing the time bomb is still with us. x

      Delete
  6. A very interesting post Patricia. It has remind me of a little holiday chalet that we had in our large garden as a child. My parents let it out to families during the summer. My sister and I played in it during the winter. I had never thought about it before but I really do believe it was made of asbestos. When my mum was very ill with lung cancer eight years ago the doctors asked her if she'd ever had contact with asbestos - we wondered why! I'm now still wondering. Have a great weekend. P x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh dear, I can see why you are wondering, Patricia, and I am sorry your Mum had lung cancer, such an awful disease. I think the houses were safe enough when new and well-maintained, but with age and disintegration they become dangerous. We actually played with sawn-off building waste, so were definitely exposed to it for a number of years. Hope the healthy air of the country saved us! Happy weekend, P. xx

      Delete
  7. Thank you for this informative post, Patricia. How cute you look on your fifth birthday. What a treasured picture.

    Have a nice weekend. It's supposed to rain here this weekend, which will be a nice change.

    love,
    ~Sheri

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Sheri, it is my birthday today, so I sneakily put that picture in! It is the only birthday photo I have from my entire childhood - isn't that strange? My parents did not take photos very often. We had a shocking storm on Thursday, but back to the dry weather again here. Hope you get some rain.

      Delete
  8. Patricia, even as a child you have a fondness for a pretty dress.

    Last year we have a cold winter. A possum broke into my mother's house and made a mess in a storage area, throwing everything off her shelves.

    We have asbestos in my Manhattan New York apartment building. I wish we could remove and ban it. When residents renovate their kitchens, it has to be done with great care by workers who know how to handle the work.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was certain I typed "had" (in paragrahs one and two) not "have." Hmm!

      Delete
    2. Ha, well spotted Debra. My Mum probably made that dress, quite possibly cut down from one of hers. She used to do that.
      Naughty possums over there too - clearly related to ours.
      So true about the asbestos. There is a bit of it in our house too, but so far so good. It must be handled very carefully during renovations, very strict rules about that here too.

      Delete
  9. I remember when asbestos was considered a wonderful building material because it was fire resistant, but back in those days smoking tobacco was considered glamorous.. At least we know the dangers now.
    I am glad one of your possums has moved on. By the way is your snake still in residence? You seem to be running a half way house for Aussie fauna!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. How times change, indeed! What will be the next discovery that is bad for us?
      We haven't seen the snake in a while, so fingers crossed it has moved on. We often feel we are in a zoo - and we are the caged ones, he he.

      Delete
  10. My uncle died of asbestosis.....nasty disease.
    You look adorable in that picture!
    Polka dots eh?
    Cheers!
    Linda :o)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So sorry about your uncle, an awful way to go.
      Funny little 5 year old, wasn't I...suspect I liked a polka dot then, too.
      cheers, Linda.

      Delete
  11. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  12. My father died from lung cancer, having smoked from the age of 13 to 70, so I'm very aware og what a dreadful disease it is. Corrugated asbestos (your fibro, I think) was a very popular material in industrial buildings and domestic outbuildings when I was a child, There were also asbestos mats on ironing boards and for use in school chemistry labs, so so I'm sure very many of us had contact with it at some point. I hope our healthy lifestyles have been some protection.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What a sad end to your father's life, Perpetua. Unfortunately nobody knew the effects of smoking back in the day. In Australia now one rarely encounters cigarette smoke in public areas now. I have never hear tof the asbestos on ironing boards, but I can see the logic of it at the time. Healthy lifestyles is our best way to protect ourselves, definitely.

      Delete