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Self-consolidated concert significant economic , constructability and engineering advantage

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Citation:
Maines, R. (2005). Asbestos and fire: Technological trade-offs and the body at risk. New Jersey: Rutgers University Press.
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Rachel Maines is a visiting scientist in the Cornell University School of Electrical and Computer Engineering who specializes in the history of technology, especially building codes and engineering standards. Her book explores the history of asbestos as an innovative building technology, from the beginning of its widespread use during and after the Second World War, to its virtual disappearance as a viable construction material. Deriving her evidence from most of the known data about asbestos as a fire retardant, Maines argues that asbestos, like any other technology, offered significant benefits as well as risks, and that despite its current reputation as a known carcinogen, and the ruinous litigation that has resulted from its use over the last 30 years (at a cost of $70 billion so far), the use of asbestos was also responsible for saving tens of thousands of lives during its heyday in the mid-20thcentury.
Maines does a thorough and in-depth survey of historical and technical material, including extensive historical accounts (such as A.M. Sammarco’s book, The great Boston fire of 1872); fire and safety codes (such as the 5th edition of National Board of Fire Underwriters’ National building code); medical data (for example, the National Institute for Occupational Health and Safety’s Work-related lung disease surveillance report); news reports and magazine articles (such as M. Sontheimer’s article “Our national gamble: Firetrap schools” in Parents’ Magazine of January 1952); and materials test data (such as the American Society for Testing Materials’ E84 Method of test of surface building characteristics of building materials).
Portions of this book help to prove that the innovative technologies that we may adopt today (like solar panels, wind turbines, etc.) will not be completely risk-free, but that the risk of litigation, based on our experience with hazardous materials such as asbestos, has done much to make manufacturers and businesses wary of potential or hidden risks
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