View Full Version : Asbestos revealed in many Japanese stations

Aug 24, 2005, 09:08
Cancer-causing asbestos exposed at 3 railway stations (http://mdn.mainichi-msn.co.jp/national/news/20050823p2a00m0na018000c.html)

Insulating materials containing cancer-causing asbestos have been exposed at three railway stations in Japan, it was learned Tuesday.

Moreover, the Sapporo Municipal Government's Transportation Bureau is examining the ceilings at 13 stations on its Tozai and Namboku subway lines after it emerged that they may contain asbestos.

At Hakone-Yumoto Station on the Hakone Tozan Railway in Kanagawa Prefecture, insulating material containing asbestos on the ceiling of the concourse has been exposed since the station was renovated in 1974.

Railway workers covered the 720-square-meter ceiling with a sheet to prevent asbestos from being scattered.

Asbestos has also been found exposed on the 90-square-meter ceiling of the Jingumae Station building in Atsuta-ku, Nagoya, and on the beam of its bridge. The ceiling and the beam were sprayed with asbestos when the station building was constructed in 1978. The company will cover the asbestos in early September.

In another case, asbestos was found on the roof of the Machida Station building on the Odakyu Railway Line in Tokyo's Machida, the railway operator said. After finding that asbestos could fall through spaces in the ceiling, workers covered the spaces with sheets. The company is set to remove the asbestos from the roof.

This is quite appalling. I often use the Tozai line in Tokyo (the lobngest of the 13 lines), which means I am at risk of being contaminated by asbetos after 4 years of livingin Tokyo. It's even more worrisome that the Namboku-line should be affected, as it is the newest of the Tokyo Metro, built after asbestos was made illegal in Japan ! That means that all lines might in fact have stations with asbestos in them. They probably kept silent to avoid a mass panic of daily subway users.

This news comes just as the Japan Times exposes that Low level of asbestos exposure proved fatal (http://www.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/getarticle.pl5?nn20050823a1.htm)

Aug 25, 2005, 08:26
Follow-up :

Asahi Shimbun : Asbestos used at 3,700 train stations (http://www.asahi.com/english/Herald-asahi/TKY200508240162.html)

At least 3,700 train and subway stations used asbestos for construction purposes-including 31 where sprayed materials that contain or likely contain the toxic substance were left uncovered, an Asahi Shimbun survey found.

About 60 percent of the railway operators surveyed used construction materials containing asbestos at their stations and related facilities, the survey showed.

The number could increase.
The 31 stations where the public may have been exposed to uncovered asbestos are managed by eight operators.

The carcinogen was sprayed on ceilings and other spots in areas where commuters pass through-but left uncovered.
At JR West, 1,147, or 94 percent, of its stations have materials containing asbestos. The figure was 234 stations, or 42 percent, for JR Kyushu.

Other train and subway operators that used materials containing asbestos in their stations include: JR Shikoku, at 217, or 84 percent, of its stations; Tobu Railway Co., at 199, or 96 percent; Nagoya Railroad at 131, or 47 percent; Seibu Railway Co. at 91, or 99 percent; Tokyu at 86, or 89 percent; and the Osaka Municipal Transportation Bureau at 80 stations, or 79 percent

Very worrisome indeed. If people can be contaminated by asbestos as easily as has been said, this could be one of the biggest human-induced mass contamination in history, as hardly any Japanese have never taken the train or subway (always more than one station of course). As asbestos has an incubation period of 20 to 30 years, we might not know until many years to come if people have contracted any disease due to the asbestos.

Uncle Frank
Aug 25, 2005, 10:28
It seems to me that asbestoes exposure is similer to cigarette smokeing; some people die from it while others are not affected? In the heavy duty automotive business of old, all brake products and clutch linings were asbestoes. For years I unpacked brake block and clutch faceings. Many times I would be white with asbestoes dust from head to toe. Several times a year I would have to open all the boxes and do inventory counts. After 15 years of heavy exposure, knock on wood, I've had no ill effects? My doctor does have my chest X-rayed at least once a year , always expecting trouble. Not a very scientific study, maybe I'm just lucky?