From RationalWiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Icon denialism.svg

This Denialism related article has not received a brainstar for quality. Please consider expanding the article appropriately. See RationalWiki:Article rating for more information.



I'm not sure this belongs in the "Denialism" category. --NerdyWizardyou believed that why? 14:45, 10 March 2014 (UTC)

As long as we can put in some references for the "Some claim that asbestos is actually not harmful at all, and has had its reputation unjustly tarnished. Others further embellish this thought with the claim that asbestos is harmless because it's natural." we should be good on the denialism classification. Nullahnung (talk) 15:00, 10 March 2014 (UTC)
Well, I haven't been able to find that site claiming it's harmless because it's natural, but our articles on Ian Plimer and Christopher Booker mention asbestos.--Кřěĵ (ṫåɬк) 18:14, 10 March 2014 (UTC)

Organic dust toxicity[edit]

The statement "Asbestos is actually different than other types of hazardous material in that its toxicity is caused neither by chemistry, nor by radiation. Unlike most other harmful substances, asbestos does its damage via direct mechanical action." is just plain false. See Sprocket J Cogswell insists on keeping it for some unclear reason. — Unsigned, by: Bongolian / talk / contribs 16:50, 10 July 2014‎ (UTC)

Read that WP article, and show me where it mentions asbestos (which is inorganic) or mesothelioma. The article does say that organic dust toxic syndrome is "generally self-limiting." The usual way mesothelioma is self-limiting is upon the death of the patient. Clear enough? Sprocket J Cogswell (talk) 17:14, 10 July 2014 (UTC)
This issue has come up before. The solution was to change the wording into a more general one which does allow for other substances like bioaerosols which are toxic not chemically or via radiation, but mechanically, to exist. I still think the wording is broad enough to not commit that fallacy. It would help if you elaborated on what your problem actually is. Otherwise I think it has probably been resolved sufficiently. Nullahnung (talk) 18:12, 10 July 2014 (UTC)
To clarify a bit further, the inflammatory response to organic dust may be presumed to be the immune system recognizing and responding to a chemical signature of the foreign substance. This is not the case with asbestos, which may be compared to a multitude of tiny daggers stabbing tissue and damaging it, or "direct physical interactions with the cells of the mesothelium" as WP styles it. Sprocket J Cogswell (talk) 18:45, 10 July 2014 (UTC)
If I am understanding the situation right, then I would have to disagree with you that we can presume the inflammatory response to be due to autoimmune causes. I quote from WP: "the mechanism of organic dust toxic syndrome is thought to be toxic rather than autoimmune in origin. The airways are exposed to high concentrations of organic dust created by some form of disturbance or mechanical process". Nullahnung (talk) 18:58, 10 July 2014 (UTC)
When did I ever say anything about autoimmune causes? The immune system responding to toxic foreign matter is not an autoimmune reaction, but rather the immune system doing its job. An autoimmune reaction is when the immune system attacks the natural components of the body it is supposed to be protecting. In the WP article, "some form of disturbance or mechanical process" refers to what stirred up some dust in the environment outside the body. Asbestos particles produce their nasty effects by mechanical means inside the body. Sprocket J Cogswell (talk) 00:27, 11 July 2014 (UTC)
My reading comprehension failed me on that one, I think you're right. Nullahnung (talk) 00:42, 11 July 2014 (UTC)
No worries. Willingness to re-evaluate is a respectable sign of an open mind, in my book. Sprocket J Cogswell (talk) 00:54, 11 July 2014 (UTC)
Various implanted foreign bodies are regarded as "possible human carcinogens" by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (see This is based on definitive causation of cancer in animals by implantation of inert foreign bodies in many studies. The basic mechanism here is chronic irritation. Bongolian (talk) 21:47, 11 July 2014 (UTC)
I first have to repeat that the wording from our article that you quoted above is broad enough to allow for other harmful substances that cause harm via "direct mechanical action" to exist. Secondly, for some reason, we wrote "Asbestos is actually different than other types" instead of a more common "Asbestos is actually different from other types", which is... still correct, but unsightly in my opinion... Nullahnung (talk) 19:09, 12 July 2014 (UTC)
Furthermore, IARC reports that the mechanism of asbestos carcinogenicity is "Frustrated phagocytosis" (, i.e., the inability of a phagocyte to engulf it's target. Schinwald & Donaldson report ( that this mechanism also applies to nanotubes and nanowires that meet the same length threshold for pleural retention of 5 µm as asbestos. I think the current wording is confusing or misleading at best. Bongolian (talk 05:09, 14 July 2014 (UTC)
Your IARC link leads to: "The Page You Have Requested Does Not Exist". The other report states frustrated phagocytosis as an important mechanism. Our wording I do not consider confusing or misleading, as frustrated phagocytosis, which is one of the mechanisms it appears, is not by chemistry or by radiation, it is by direct mechanical action.
That said, if you want to go into more detail on the mechanisms in our article, then go ahead. Nullahnung (talk) 10:38, 14 July 2014 (UTC)
The correct IARC link is I'll add to the article. — Unsigned, by: Bongolian / talk / contribs (signed by bot) 07:26, 17 July 2014 (UTC)


The "denialism" section claims that some Romans thought asbestos was dangerous, while the first couple of footnotes of the article claim that these stories are not to asbestos, but other materials like cinnabar. Which is it?--Кřěĵ (ṫåɬк) 10:18, 8 March 2016 (UTC)

Contradiction in article?[edit]

It says asbestos "was also known to the Romans as a 'disease of slaves' for its danger to miners", but at the same time, references 1-3 say the Romans were not aware of the dangers of asbestos. Which is it?--Кřěĵ (ṫåɬк) 12:35, 7 December 2016 (UTC)

Yes, you're right. Lancet is obviously the more reliable source on this. I will remove the erroneous Roman part. Bongolian (talk) 07:55, 9 December 2016 (UTC)
Oops, I accidentally created a redundant talk page section. That was unintentional.--Кřěĵ (ṫåɬк) 07:57, 9 December 2016 (UTC)

London Shop[edit]

When did the asbestos shop in London - on the road between Baker Street and Euston - close? (talk) 13:34, 17 March 2017 (UTC)