Berkeley Engineering And Research, Inc.
Plures Intelligens Modicum Machinatorem
Telephone: 510-549-3300 
Fax: 510-962-8230 

BEAR Project Receives Award

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BEAR wins Best Paper of the Year

BEAR paper on preventing gasoline can explosions wins Best Paper of the Year

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Alcohol Containers Explode Too!

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Asbestos

 
 

 
 

BEAR Engineers maintain an expertise on the prevalence and impact of asbestos and have repeatedly provided expert testimony in related cases.
The use of asbestos dropped precipitously in the 1980s. At this time, the threat of building fires declined significantly due to both the development and widespread use of fire sprinklers and the acknowledgment of asbestos’ detrimental health effects.

 
 

The six forms of commercial asbestos are characterized by two varieties: amphibole and serpentine. Amphibole varieties include

  • Amosite -- a valuable resource, mined only in South Africa
  • Crocidolite -- mined in South Africa, Australia and Bolivia
  • Anthophyllite -- a nearly depleted resource, mined in Finland

Two other rare types known as Tremolite and Actinolite also fall into this category. Serpentine asbestos is comprised of Chrysotile. This most common type of asbestos is generally fibrous. Several non-fibrous varieties also exist.

In the U.S., three types of asbestos have been in use. Chrysotile, usually referred to as white asbestos, is the most common, and represents 95 percent of all asbestos in use. Amosite, or brown asbestos, and, Crocidolite, or blue asbestos, each represent two percent.

Workers exposed to the very common white asbestos have shown little health effects. Blue asbestos, in contrast, has caused the most documented health effects; even non-occupational exposure has caused significant mortality.

 
 

Asbestos in History

The ancient Greeks recognized the practical properties asbestos offered. Asbestos was woven into the clothing worn by captive slaves from foreign lands. After realizing its flame-resistant properties, the Greeks coined the term "asbesto" to mean inextinguishable, in recognition of this seemingly magical characteristic. They also used asbestos woven napkins