Asbestos in Machine Room Ceilings

Share This:

Because of its heat and fire resistant properties, asbestos has been a preferred element for machine room ceilings up until the 70’s. But because of lack of awareness and precautionary measures related to asbestos, a lot of people suffered and lives were vastly affected.

A Deadly Asbestos Story

There was once a worker who was assigned to do maintenance for the machine and boiler rooms of the Sapporo Royal Hotel. He joined the company back in 1963 and his tasks included handling of asbestos containing materials. From the machine room ceiling and all around the boiler rooms, asbestos was always present. The man and his co-workers cut, tied or installed plate and string type packing asbestos. They were also required to get into the space above the machine room ceiling to inspect and/or repair ductworks. Since the space between the roof and the machine room ceiling was quite small, the workers can’t help but make physical contact with asbestos, which was sprayed on the underside of the roof. The asbestos sprayed on the walls and the machine room ceiling was in a deteriorated state that asbestos fibers would become airborne with just the slightest contact. There was no air ventilation in place at the machine and boiler rooms. The worker’s health started to weaken in April 2001. Two months later, he was diagnosed with malignant pleural mesothelioma cause by asbestos exposure. He died in April 2002.

What is Asbestos?

Asbestos was once known as the “magic mineral”. Today, because of its deadly effects such as the case mentioned above, it can be deadly. While it is a mineral with admirably high thermal and chemical resistance, resiliency and strength, it can also cause serious respiratory diseases if not properly handled. A lot of workers have suffered due to asbestos containing materials in machine room ceilings. For decades, this naturally-occurring, fibrous mineral has been a primary element in industrial applications.

How is Asbestos Used?

North America started mining and commercially using asbestos in the late 1800’s. It was considered to be an essential material in many industries. It was an insulation, roofing, fireproofing and sound-absorbing element for machine room ceilings. Aside from these, asbestos was also used for fortifying plastics and cement products. It was also a vital product for the shipping and automotive industries. Asbestos was an ingredient in insulating boilers, hot water pipes and steam pipes for the shipping industry. The automotive industry, on the other hand, used asbestos for vehicle brakeshoes and clutch pads.