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asbestos bowled calabash

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vaperfavour

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i have a BBB calabas dating to 1919. the bowl is black. in the book THE CALABASH PIPE by Gary Schrier this might be one of those asbestos bowled calabashes. I had a new meerschaum bowl made for it and i have smoked it twice. the question is, should i continue smoking this? I am not positive the old bowl is asbestos, but i figured why take the chance? Does anyone know how i can be sure? If the original bowl is asbestos does that mean the pipe should NEVER be smoked? it would be a shame if this pipe is poisonous as it is very small and very nice. Any help on this would be appreciated. :farao: :?:
 

mark

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The Asbestos removal business (schools, government buildings) is a thriving industry in most areas of the country. They must have a simple and quick test to identify it. Just a thought.
 

Doc Manhattan

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There's probably a hardware or drugstore near you that carries a DIY asbestos kit, like this one. They're built to detect tiny amounts, so if you have a whole bowl made with the stuff it ought to show up off-the-charts.

And if it does contain asbestos, then no, it should never be smoked. They've been diagnosing asbestosis and mesothelioma decades before personal injury lawyers ran ads about it; drawing hot air through an asbestos bowl is probably the single riskiest way to expose yourself outside of mining the stuff.
 

Oddball

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Just a note on asbestos, while I cant tell you for a fact that your pipe is doing bad things to you I can tell you that asbestos acts purely in a mechanical fashion on your lung tissue. The size of the crystals is just right to lacerate the "air sacks" in your lungs. There is no chemical reaction taking place. I have handled the raw mineral form as part of my Geology major.
In addition, from talkin about the dangers of asbestos with some biology professors there is some thought to short fiber being more dangerous because it gets into the lungs easier while almost no danger from long fiber. This might not matter because you pipe is most likely the solid version of asbestos.
I’m sure not saying its totally safe or that you’re putting your lungs and life at risk but I would seriously do some research on this pipe before you give it up.
Just my $.02
Dan
EDIT: here is a web site worth lookin at http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/csem/asbestos/risk2.html
If you go down the page to Direct Domestic Exposures section there is this "On the other hand, asbestos contained in intact solid material poses a negligible risk of exposure. A 1992 study of indoor air in homes and schools with asbestos-containing materials found an average concentration of 0.0001 fibers/cc (Lee et al. 1992)."
Just some more info for yall.
 

vaperfavour

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Great info guys, thanks. I figure next time i am home i will buy one of the kits and test the bowl and the inside of the gourd. the bowl itself was never smoked, and when i received the pipe and the bowl was black i was concerned. i thought that if i had a new meer bowl turned for it it would be okay to smoke considering that if the original bowl was asbstos and yet never smoked the asbestos would be inert. i will keep my fingers crossed!!!!! The sad thing is that this pipe is the smallest calabash i have ever seen, almost miniature and the two times i smoked it one of those pipe moments came about where all was right with the world. I really think ther is something to the legend that calabashes burn latakia blends better than briar. i will post results in a couple of weeks. :pipe:
 

howellhandmade

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Hard to see why the gourd couldn't be cleaned -- could scrubbed, blown out with compressed air, even flushed with water if necessary.
 

vaperfavour

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Thank you howellhandmade, your giving me hope in turning this little beauty into a smoker!!
 

dr.sadik

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although i have never heard about asbestos pipe never the less by the weight of the pipe u should be able to measure in addition just to add i have seen few pioneer pipes with black color and by means probably they r stained and i wouldnt advise u to clean it the usual way (pouring whisky or rum in it) it might affect the color but i dnt think asbestos will hold on to the moisture and hot steamof smoke yeilded by the pipe if they were so then they would be easily swollen so i think its a go
cheers
ahmad
 

tiarakiyoshi

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Weighing in as a toxicology student. The previously suggested asbestos test is an excellent idea.

If the lining of the bowl tests positive for asbestos then you should be concerned. You would only have to worry about scraping off the fibers if you or someone else scratched the inside of the bowl. This could easily be minimized with care and a good cleaning/blowout. Consider adding a filtering apparatus. A good activated charcoal filter can catch particles within asbestos size ranges.

Would the government advise you to smoke out/breathe through this device?

No, the dangers of tobacco smoke notwithstanding.

Would I?

Yes, but infrequently just in case. If you wanted to be unwarrantedly careful you would be certain not to inhale and rinse out your mouth immediately afterward. But if you were that concerned about toxic substances I doubt you'd be smoking in the first place.
 
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