By Angel Nuñez
Asbestos causes cancer. Do not use it in anything in your home and prohibit it from your environment. This is as much as I will say on what has been said about asbestos. And the following is as much as I will offer on what I have researched about asbestos: “When inhaled, asbestos fibers lodge in the outer tissue linings of the lung and abdomen, a thin layer of cells known as the mesothelium. These lubricating membranes are integral to internal organ function. Over time, however, asbestos inflammation on the surface of these membranes can cause scar tissue plaques and an asbestos cancer known as mesothelioma. Many who worked with asbestos materials, particularly those who repaired, modified, or replaced older asbestos materials, may have been harmfully exposed to the material and are at risk to develop respiratory complications as a result of this exposure.
Well, you know, if you said this to the island folks years ago in San Pedro, they probably would have laughed at you. You see when industrialization arrived in San Pedro, the folks moved from thatch roofs to zinc roofing but the metal used on this kind of roofing corroded so quickly and the folks did not like it. For one thing the lifetime span of zinc roofing was short. Then the water collected from this roofing looked brown due to the rust and the folks refused to drink this rain water. So when the super news came about that asbestos roofing had a 50 to 80-year life span, those who could afford it turned to asbestos roofing.
Now that I think of it, the primary school of our village from the 1940’s to 1961 had an asbestos covered roof. This building also boasted of two giant wood vats that provided drinking rain water for the school children and to the entire village. Another large building that was asbestos covered was the Catholic Church and all of its extended buildings which comprised the rectory and kitchen, dining rooms and sleeping quarters for the religious who spent vacations in the village. This building also had a very large vat that provided quality drinking rain water for religious and for the village.
Roman Catholic Church with Asbestos Roof
Several private homes, including the village Credit Union Building also “boasted” asbestos roofing. I stress on the word “boasted” because it was something to boast of. It was stronger than thatch. It looked clean and thus provided clean drinking rain water. It did not rust. It was cool, as cool as the thatch, when compared to the metal zinc roofing. The folks who had asbestos roofing on their homes or buildings felt, in a sense, more privileged than the others. In other words “asbestos” in the home was a mark of having class or distinction or even on a higher status level. Nobody in the past had the slightest concern that asbestos has the potential of producing cancer. Folks in the past would have laughed at you if you told them this. And to tell the truth, never was there the rumor then nor now that asbestos was known to have done that damage to folks in the village or, more recently, our little town. Take note that this is not a scientific document. This is an observation made by Twenty Five years Ago.
25 Years Ago Books Can Be Purchased At:
-Ambergris Today Online Newspaper -Jose Luis Zapata Photography –Lala’s Store -Pampered Paws -San Pedro BTB Office -S.P. Town Library -Di Bush, A & R
Contact the Author at: [email protected]