Wednesday, July 28, 2010




: easily crumbled or pulverized

According to Merriam-Webster, the word FRIABLE is often used within the context of discussing asbestos. The FRIABLE nature of these commercially exploited silicate minerals* renders them perilous to our porous lungs. I remember learning about the dangers of asbestos in grammar school—I mentally grouped it with other such foreboding threats as scoliosis, bathtub electrocution (via blow-dryer), and head lice.

My immediate associations with asbestos are with ceilings, and rightfully so. A textured decorative finish known as Artex was produced with trace amounts of white asbestos until the 1980s, bringing the fashionable toxic substance into many American homes. While tearing out the (likely) sixty-or-seventy-year-old rotting sheet rock ceiling from the room above our garage, my eleven-year-old self spotted some discoloring and thought ASBESTOS!, quickly holding my breath and scurrying outside for some fresh air. I did not realize I was looking at mold, also not so great for my lungs, but this incident speaks to the important facts left out of elementary school scare tactics, i.e. asbestos, like head lice, is not always visible to the naked eye.

For more information about the time bomb that is asbestos, look here.

On a random note, I could see the word FRIABLE making it into a break-up conversation:

I feel like our relationship is going to be pulverized at any moment—we're just too...FRIABLE. It's not working out.

*I can thank Wikipedia for that one...

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