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Asbestos dust serious matter

(February 10, 2000, Gazette)

Dear Editor,
I am disturbed at your use of the light-hearted phrase “Dust Up” (
Gazette, Jan. 27, 2000) as a title for an article describing the discovery of asbestos dust in the Reid Theatre.

According to the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions OnLine (July 27, 1999): “Trade unions all over the world have been gravely concerned about the very serious dangers of exposure to asbestos and many have concluded that a ban is the only sure way to prevent deaths.”

More than 10 years ago, the Council on Scientific Affairs of the American Medical Association (not a particularly alarmist group) predicted that by the end of the century we would start to see a “third wave” of asbestos- related diseases among building custodians, maintenance workers, fire fighters, construction, demolition, and renovation workers – the first wave being the miners and millers of the 1930s and ’40s, and the second wave being the pipe fitters, shipyard and insulation workers of the ’40s, ’50s and ’60s.

Given the apparent seriousness of the incident reported, your use of such a title seems inappropriate.

Dr. Ralph T. Pastore
Chair, MUNFA Occupational Health and Safety Committee