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Old 24th December 2018, 02:00 AM   #1
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A child's first nuclear reactor - Sheldon would have loved this!

I think others here will love this. I wish I could have had this for Christmas, I'd still like it. The link is to a BBC article with ads from the past. There are some 'interesting' ads that say something about how far gender roles have improved. But the BEST one is your own cloud chamber and experimental nuclear lab. Just scroll down.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-42195763

Is anyone here old enough to remember this? Did anyone have one?
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Old 24th December 2018, 05:03 AM   #2
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I wish I'd had one of those. Some of those ads for tobacco, though.....
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Old 24th December 2018, 06:02 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Diablo View Post
I wish I'd had one of those. Some of those ads for tobacco, though.....
Given we now know how long the tobacco companies knew about the dangers it is even more sickening.

And look how crafty they are in regards to the coughing, they knew smoking suppresses coughing and someone stopping smoking will quickly regain coughing sensitivity.

Revolting people.
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Old 24th December 2018, 06:09 AM   #4
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And now they're flogging the stuff in Africa and other poor countries.
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Old 24th December 2018, 09:35 AM   #5
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I am embarrassed to admit it but I was a geek as far back as I can remember and I did had an "atomic energy lab" kit.

It was this one:
https://www.orau.org/ptp/collection/...ergylabkit.htm

Looking at the Gilbert kit in the OP I now feel cheated: the Gilbert one was much more sophisticated.

I doubt either was very dangerous: the levels of the radioactive isotopes were very low. I can imagine scenarios that would not be great ideas, like scraping off and inhaling the thin layer of radium from the spinthariscope, but even at 12 years old I knew not to do that.

Gilbert made the very best chemistry and other science sets. And I preferred their electric trains to the Lionel ones.

Last edited by Giordano; 24th December 2018 at 09:37 AM.
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Old 24th December 2018, 11:19 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Giordano View Post
I am embarrassed to admit it but I was a geek as far back as I can remember and I did had an "atomic energy lab" kit.

It was this one:
https://www.orau.org/ptp/collection/...ergylabkit.htm

Looking at the Gilbert kit in the OP I now feel cheated: the Gilbert one was much more sophisticated.

I doubt either was very dangerous: the levels of the radioactive isotopes were very low. I can imagine scenarios that would not be great ideas, like scraping off and inhaling the thin layer of radium from the spinthariscope, but even at 12 years old I knew not to do that.

Gilbert made the very best chemistry and other science sets. And I preferred their electric trains to the Lionel ones.
I bought a vintage rock collection at a yard sale, the kind with all the rocks glued to their display spot. One of the rocks was uranium ore (pitchblende). It's still around here somewhere.

Another box I got had an asbestos sample. I took that one back and made the seller take it back which he reluctantly did.

I never knew there were atomic energy labs for kids. Interesting.
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Old 25th December 2018, 02:29 PM   #7
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How about the ad for the microsheen? Would that be allowed today? I am talking what the woman is wearing (and not wearing)?
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Old 25th December 2018, 03:18 PM   #8
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When I was a kid, some time in the 1958-61 range, I had a similar atomic lab set, though not that one. I don't remember the outfit, but there was a kind of subscription science kit that included some other things, including an analog computer (which actually sort of worked) and a three-rotor digital computer, similar in design to the "Geniac," but so poorly made that it did not work well at all. This kit included a little bit of supposedly radioactive ore and a make-your-own geiger counter whose single-pin geiger tube never seemed to work. I don't know what became of it. The rest of the stuff went away over the years, but I recall some years later trying to get the fake Geniac (called, as I recall, a Brainiac) to work, and giving it up.

Too bad, as I see now that if I had held on to it it would be worth a lot.
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Old 25th December 2018, 03:25 PM   #9
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I never had an atomic set, but did have a Gilbert chemistry set that had me produce gaseous chlorine. Who the heck thought that was a good idea?

And then, of course, there was this guy.
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Old 25th December 2018, 08:11 PM   #10
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We built a cloud chamber in high school physics, and I had a watch with radium on the hands. It was enough that it glowed dimly in the dark, but when I tested it in the cloud chamber at school, nothing showed up. I remember clearly that the teacher had three little boxes, one that emitted alpha, one that emitted beta, and the third emitted gamma. I wanted those boxes!



Ah, those were the days.
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Old 25th December 2018, 11:06 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by DallasDad View Post
We built a cloud chamber in high school physics, and I had a watch with radium on the hands. It was enough that it glowed dimly in the dark, but when I tested it in the cloud chamber at school, nothing showed up. I remember clearly that the teacher had three little boxes, one that emitted alpha, one that emitted beta, and the third emitted gamma. I wanted those boxes!



Ah, those were the days.
Never put my watch near a cloud chamber, but the rest is true. And my wrist where I wore my watch was radioactive.
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Old 26th December 2018, 10:32 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Skeptic Ginger View Post
I bought a vintage rock collection at a yard sale, the kind with all the rocks glued to their display spot. One of the rocks was uranium ore (pitchblende). It's still around here somewhere.

Another box I got had an asbestos sample. I took that one back and made the seller take it back which he reluctantly did.
What on earth for?

Is natural asbestos volatile?
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Old 26th December 2018, 10:46 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Skeptical Greg View Post
What on earth for?

Is natural asbestos volatile?
WTF? Are you serious? Asbestos dust is a very dangerous substance. If it is blue asbestos then it is even worse. It is one of the things all adults should know.

For more information see this link https://asbestosawareness.com.au/dan...-asbestos-nsw/
If you want to know more then there are plenty of other sources you can find on the subject.
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Old 27th December 2018, 09:12 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by rjh01 View Post
WTF? Are you serious? Asbestos dust is a very dangerous substance. If it is blue asbestos then it is even worse. It is one of the things all adults should know.

For more information see this link https://asbestosawareness.com.au/dan...-asbestos-nsw/
If you want to know more then there are plenty of other sources you can find on the subject.
Asbestos is definitely a hazard, but as all hazards, has to be considered in perspective to deal with safely.

1. The most significant risk of asbestos is lung exposure, meaning one has to inhale fine dust and small fibers. The mineralogy kit samples I've seen do not shed very much of that type of material. They tend to have long macroscopic fibers and bundles. I doubt any significant about of the sample, if not mishandled (shaken, scrapped, hammered on, etc), could be inhaled even if one was to put one's nose to it and snort like cocaine. If I was for some reason juggling a sample in my hands I would probably just wash after I was done.

2. Although there is no theoretical lower limit that makes asbestos exposure absolutely "safe" the epidemiology suggests that only high levels of exposure to intense asbestos dust has lead to substantial incidence of disease. One sees significant asbestosis, lung disease, and mesothelioma primarily in people who worked literally in clouds of the stuff: its mining, manufacturing, milling, asbestos fiber blowing in shipyards, car brake repair, demolition of buildings with asbestos insulation, painters who sanded lots of asbestos "spackle," etc. And even then the majority of these people did not develop asbestos-caused disease. Fine dust, lots of it, and multiple exposures are what create a significant risk (significant risk by my definition is what would increase one's chance of asbestos disease to over one's risk of dying because of a slip in the shower).

3. Like it or not, there has been and is asbestos all around us from when it was widely used: older ceiling and floor tiles, spackle, insulation, etc. Just taking a subway or living near a street exposed us to fibers released from asbestos brake linings. Gradually these materials are being replaced by asbestos- free ones but we've all been exposed to modest levels one way or another; a mineral sample of largely immobile asbestos is unlikely to represent a significant-enough increase in risk to freak out.

All I am saying is that although I would not seek out extra asbestos exposure, it is in the middle of risky stuff, not anywhere near the top. Some of the danger has been over-emphasized by litigators seeking clients, and by the victims who have suffered from exposure and feel very angry (justafiably); neither however are putting forward unemotional scientific facts.

BTW: products such as asbestos tiles that are relatively intact and not shedding fibers are probably best left alone until they need to be replaced (at which time they should be removed by people knowing what they are doing). Often unnecessary asbestos "abatement" by non-experts can cause more dangerous fiber release than just leaving the product in place.
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Old 28th December 2018, 05:55 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Diablo View Post
And now they're flogging the stuff in Africa and other poor countries.
They are now flogging e-cigs, and even getting into marijuana.
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Old 28th December 2018, 12:30 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by rjh01 View Post
WTF? Are you serious? Asbestos dust is a very dangerous substance. If it is blue asbestos then it is even worse. It is one of the things all adults should know.

For more information see this link https://asbestosawareness.com.au/dan...-asbestos-nsw/
If you want to know more then there are plenty of other sources you can find on the subject.

Get serious and tell me about a small, natural sample of asbestos, sitting on a shelf and giving off dust in an amount that is even remotely likely of being ingested.
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Old 28th December 2018, 01:43 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Skeptical Greg View Post
Get serious and tell me about a small, natural sample of asbestos, sitting on a shelf and giving off dust in an amount that is even remotely likely of being ingested.
Easy. Take it off the shelf and play with it. Dust will come off and be breathed in. Or put it in your pocket to show someone. It is not important who does this, either the person who bought the sample or their children. It only takes one small fibre to get stuck in a person's lung for them, 20 years later, to get sick and die a horrible death. Not something I want to risk even having a small chance to happen.
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Old 28th December 2018, 02:35 PM   #18
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Make sure there are no scissors in the house also!

Sharp sticks.. Pencils.. The list goes on and on..
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Old 28th December 2018, 07:00 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by Skeptical Greg View Post
What on earth for?

Is natural asbestos volatile?
Are you kidding? It was hazardous material and I didn't want the expense of proper disposal.

As for volatile, wrong adjective. It's not a 'gas' that is dangerous, it's particulates one can inhale. And yes, it didn't look like the particulates were in a safe container.
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Old 28th December 2018, 07:17 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by Skeptical Greg View Post


Make sure there are no scissors in the house also!

Sharp sticks.. Pencils.. The list goes on and on..
Some people here need a bit of educating.

Asbestos
Quote:
Raw Materials
There are six types of asbestos: actinolite, amosite, anthophyllite, crocidolite, tremolite, and chrysolite. The first five types are known as amphiboles. They are characterized by having very strong and stiff fibers, which makes them a serious health hazard. Amphibolic asbestos fibers can penetrate body tissue, especially in the lungs, and eventually cause tumors to develop. The sixth type of asbestos, chrysotile, is known as a serpentine. Its fibers are much softer and more flexible than amphibolic asbestos, and they do less damage to body tissue. All six types of asbestos are composed of long chains of silicon and oxygen atoms, locked together with various metals, such as magnesium and iron, to form the whisker-like crystalline fibers that characterize this mineral.
It looked like the fibrous half of this rock.
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Old 28th December 2018, 08:12 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by Skeptic Ginger View Post
Are you kidding? It was hazardous material and I didn't want the expense of proper disposal.

As for volatile, wrong adjective. It's not a 'gas' that is dangerous, it's particulates one can inhale. And yes, it didn't look like the particulates were in a safe container.
Originally Posted by Skeptic Ginger View Post
Some people here need a bit of educating.

Asbestos

It looked like the fibrous half of this rock.
You are attempting to educate people who already know the above. See my posts above for evidence of this.

As for other substances that are around the house I know how to handle them safely. The only way for a person like me to safely handle asbestos is to leave it alone and hope no dust is produced from it.
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Old 28th December 2018, 08:18 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by rjh01 View Post
You are attempting to educate people who already know the above. See my posts above for evidence of this.

[snipped part I'm not sure of your point]
I'm sorry, several posts in this thread displayed quite the ignorance from not knowing the raw form itself was dangerous, to using the term "volatile" which refers to gas evaporation, to not knowing that in the US at least, you have to hire a professional asbestos crew to dispose of it.

Skeptical Greg implied it was over-reacting. Yeah, none of those hazardous materials are really hazardous. All that lung cancer, meh. Wimps.

How many of you even knew what raw asbestos looked like before you Googled it?
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Old 28th December 2018, 08:20 PM   #23
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I grew up in a house that had asbestos siding. It was destroyed by hail two or three times, and had to be replaced with more asbestos siding.
For the past 21 years I lived at least part-time in a house with asbestos in the roofing, flooring, and someplace else I forget. Three years full-time. I'm waiting for the remediation people to come in so it can be torn down.
And then there was the water where I lived before. Loaded with the stuff, until the EPA made them filter it. Not because of the asbestos, but just for turbidity.
I'm not all that worried about any of those, compared to Trump weakening the protections on pretty much everything else that might kill me.
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Old 28th December 2018, 09:08 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by Skeptic Ginger View Post
I'm sorry, several posts in this thread displayed quite the ignorance from not knowing the raw form itself was dangerous, to using the term "volatile" which refers to gas evaporation, to not knowing that in the US at least, you have to hire a professional asbestos crew to dispose of it.

Skeptical Greg implied it was over-reacting. Yeah, none of those hazardous materials are really hazardous. All that lung cancer, meh. Wimps.

How many of you even knew what raw asbestos looked like before you Googled it?
People should not be ignorant about asbestos. If you live in a house built before 1990 (or maybe even later) there probably is asbestos (and maybe even lead paint) in the house. People need to know what to do about it. Ignorance is fatal not only to yourself, but to your family as well.

Other than that I agree with you. The bit you snipped was in response to Skeptical Greg's post about the dangers of scissors and other sharp objects. Their post is just stupid.
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Old 28th December 2018, 09:33 PM   #25
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Quote:
Their post is just stupid.
Right.. Just like assuming a small piece of asbestos in a rock collection is inherently dangerous.
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Old 28th December 2018, 09:43 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by Skeptic Ginger View Post
Are you kidding? It was hazardous material and I didn't want the expense of proper disposal.

.........
How much asbestos are we talking about?

You implied it was a small sample?

When is Asbestos Dangerous?

Quote:
In fact, asbestos containing material is not generally considered to be harmful unless it is releasing dust or fibers into the air where they can be inhaled or ingested.
What conditions existed that made it likely your sample would be releasing dust or fibers into the air?
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Old 28th December 2018, 09:59 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by Skeptical Greg View Post
How much asbestos are we talking about?

You implied it was a small sample?
The rock was a little smaller than my closed fist, loose fibrous surface.

There was enough there to accidentally inhale and it only takes a fiber getting into one's lung. It stays there until you die whether it causes cancer or not, it is never absorbed and cleared. It cannot be removed surgically.

And the second issue, it is against the law in the US to dispose of it, even a small amount, without a licensed contractor.
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Old 29th December 2018, 10:48 AM   #28
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Curious about disposal regulations, I dug a little deeper.
It appears to vary from state to state.

While checking Georgia law, I found this:

Quote:
The law further clarifies the danger posed by the ACM by classifying it as friable and non-friable. Friable asbestos is the most dangerous and this is asbestos in its most natural form. This asbestos is fibrous and the fibers are visible to the human eye. Each fiber is made up of countless smaller fibers that are smaller than the width of a human hair. As friable asbestos is not sealed, the slightest human or other external contact will cause the material to be disturbed and when this happens, the small fibers will become an airborne hazard.
Clearly, your concern is not without merit. With that in mind, I apologize for suggesting you were over-reacting.

I'm a boomer who grew up in the 50's and 60's; a world of tobacco, lead paint, lots of asbestos and playing in the dirt with sharp sticks.

I guess I take it for granted that I have survived this long without any health concerns, and tend to project my feelings on others.
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Old 29th December 2018, 01:30 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by Skeptical Greg View Post
Curious about disposal regulations, I dug a little deeper.
It appears to vary from state to state.

While checking Georgia law, I found this:



Clearly, your concern is not without merit. With that in mind, I apologize for suggesting you were over-reacting.

I'm a boomer who grew up in the 50's and 60's; a world of tobacco, lead paint, lots of asbestos and playing in the dirt with sharp sticks.

I guess I take it for granted that I have survived this long without any health concerns, and tend to project my feelings on others.
Glad to be part of putting the E back into the ISF. Your post highlights two different attitudes towards personal danger. Today the choice is to take virtually no risks. But until recently risks to personal safety were almost ignored such as what you suggest.
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Old 29th December 2018, 01:55 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by rjh01 View Post
... Today the choice is to take virtually no risks. ...
Well, I could argue that, easily. Big corporations fight a lot of regulations that would make this a safer world, then there's global warming risks half the US population ignores, and that's without getting into the risks we take everyday getting in a car.... I could go on.
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Old 29th December 2018, 05:21 PM   #31
rjh01
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Originally Posted by Skeptic Ginger View Post
Well, I could argue that, easily. Big corporations fight a lot of regulations that would make this a safer world, then there's global warming risks half the US population ignores, and that's without getting into the risks we take everyday getting in a car.... I could go on.
I would not argue with you on that point. The short term profit motive in many companies is still very strong. Even if it is to the long term determent of long term profit and safety.

But take the car example. Until a few decades ago seat belts did not exist in many cars. Now they are standard and are used.
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Old 29th December 2018, 05:25 PM   #32
Skeptic Ginger
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Originally Posted by rjh01 View Post
I would not argue with you on that point. The short term profit motive in many companies is still very strong. Even if it is to the long term determent of long term profit and safety.

But take the car example. Until a few decades ago seat belts did not exist in many cars. Now they are standard and are used.
I was only arguing with your inaccurate hyperbole.

I'd say we fear different things, but surely not 'virtually everything'.
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Old 10th January 2019, 12:52 AM   #33
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Originally Posted by Skeptical Greg View Post
Curious about disposal regulations, I dug a little deeper.
It appears to vary from state to state.

While checking Georgia law, I found this:



Clearly, your concern is not without merit. With that in mind, I apologize for suggesting you were over-reacting.

I'm a boomer who grew up in the 50's and 60's; a world of tobacco, lead paint, lots of asbestos and playing in the dirt with sharp sticks.

I guess I take it for granted that I have survived this long without any health concerns, and tend to project my feelings on others.
OK, which one of you lot was it?
All diplomatic missions in Australia were warned to be on the lookout for suspicious packages before envelopes appearing to contain asbestos were found at consulates in Melbourne, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) says.

Oh, some Aussie from Shepparton. . .
Asbestos contained in suspicious packages sent to consulates and embassies, police allege.
Police alleged Mr Avan sent 38 parcels containing asbestos to consulates and embassies in the three cities on January 7.
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