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raku -> ceramic fiber

updated fri 31 may 96 on mon 13 may 96

On 5/11 Peter Pinnell wrote:

There have been extensive inhalation studies done with ceramic fiber and lab
animals, and the results do not look good. Depending on the lab animal,
RCF(refractory ceramic fiber) is either not quite as bad, or much worse than
asbestos in causing cancers and fibrosis of the lungs.

Rats did not react as badly to RCF, but gerbels had FIFTEEN TIMES the
mesotheliomas (cancer of the lining of the lungs) from RCF as from asbestos.
Even in cases in which cancer did not develop, there was a great deal of
scarring of the lung tissue.

No one knows why people develop cancer. Many people are exposed to
carcinogenic materials and never develop problems. Others have developed
cancers after fairly minor exposures. Before I would buy a large quantity of
a probable carcinogen and store it in my home, I would want to think about
what risks I may be taking, both for myself, and for my family. Do you or
anyone in your family have a history of lung problems? Do you smoke? Are
you already exposed to other dangerous materials, i.e. excessive dust?

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Wow, Peter, did you hit home!!! My father has just been diagnosed with lung
cancer (smoked camels 60 of his 74 years on this planet) and he has
asbestosis from his Navy days. Although I have never smoked a cigarette in my
life, I do have allergic asthma. Bottom line - I don't want to take chances
with my lungs.

Before I totally write off buying / making a raku kiln with ceramic fiber, I
would like a little more information - if it is available. Do I need to worry
only about storage and moving a kiln made with ceramic fiber, ie fibers
falling off? So, if I stored the kiln in an open space (such as an open
garage), wore a mask when I moved it, and was careful about the clothes that
I wear when moving it, would I be OK? OR, do I also need to worry about
fibers during the firing of the kiln? Answers to these questions, if they
exist right now, may narrow my raku options real fast!