Friday, January 06, 2006

Quote of the day

From E.J. Dionne in today's Washington Post, brought to my attention by a friend:

"What the Republicans need is 50 Jack Abramoffs," his friend Grover Norquist told National Journal in 1995. "Then this becomes a different town."

I would add a comment on this, but it's just too easy. Creative suggestions welcomed.

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If your credit card uses different rates for purchases, transfers, and cash advances, realize that the card issuer may pay the lower interest rate balance first. Consequently, if you carry a balance, your high-rate cash advance may not be "paid" until all lower-rate balances are paid in full.
Fixed-Rate credit cards are not fixed forever. Rates can be changed at any time, as long as the card issuer provides 15 days advance notice of the change in terms. Fees may also increase. These "Change in Terms" notices are usually included with your monthly statement.
Your interest rate may dramatically increase if you make late payments. For example, some issuers will raise your interest rate to the maximum after one or two late payments. Consequently, your 12% credit card could quickly turn into a 25% credit card.
Your credit card issuer may also raise your interest rate after conducting a routine credit report review. If your overall credit history has deteriorated, the issuer may raise your interest rate, even though you've never made a late payment on the card in question.
The 25 day grace period only applies when you pay-off your entire balance due each month. If you only pay the minimum payment, interest is immediately accrued from the moment you charge something to your credit card. Some companies are also shortening the grace period to 20 days, and some cards have no grace periods.
Ignore offers to reduce or skip payments. These options are frequently offered over the holidays. When you skip a payment, the loan continues to accrue interest; therefore, these offers simply increase the overall interest and finance charges that the creditor collects. On a similar note, beware of offers of no payment/no interest for a period of time. Furniture stores, jewelry stores, and electronics stores frequently offer these programs. For example, no payment/no interest for 12 months!! This can be a good offer, but once again, read the fine print. Make sure you know the details of the program. Generally, you need to pay off the entire balance before the end of the "free" period to receive the benefit. Otherwise, you will probably have to pay interest on the entire balance from the date of your purchase

Anonymous said...

A payday loan is a short-term loan that you promise to pay back from your next pay cheque. A payday loan is sometimes also called a payday advance.

Normally, you have to pay back a payday loan on or before your next payday (usually in two weeks or less). The amount you can borrow is usually limited to 30 percent of the net amount of your pay cheque. The net amount of your pay cheque is your total pay, after any deductions such as income taxes. For example, if your pay cheque is $1,000 net every two weeks, your payday loan could be for a maximum of $300 ($1,000 x 30%).

Before giving you a payday loan, lenders will ask for proof that you have a regular income, a permanent address and an active bank account. Some payday lenders also require that you be over the age of 18.

To make sure you pay back the loan, all payday lenders will ask you to provide a postdated cheque or to authorize a direct withdrawal from your bank account for the amount of the loan, plus all the different fees and interest charges that will be added to the original amount of the loan. The combination of multiple fees and interest charges are what make payday loans so expensive (Click here for an explanation of the various fees associated with these types of loans.

The lender should also ask you to sign a loan agreement. If the lender does not offer to give you a copy of the loan agreement, ask for one. Read this document carefully before signing it, and keep a copy for your records

How and when do I pay back the loan?
A payday loan agreement usually says that you must pay the total amount you owe for the loan on or before the date stated in your loan agreement. This includes the amount you borrowed, plus interest and any additional fees and charges.

Some lenders will cash your postdated cheque or process your direct withdrawal on the day the loan is due. However, some lenders may require that you pay the loan in cash, on or before the due date.

If you have not paid the loan in cash by the due date, some lenders may cash your cheque or process the direct withdrawal you signed on the day after your loan's due date, and charge you another fee. Ask the lender what the most inexpensive way is for you to repay your loan.

How does a payday loan affect my credit report?
Credit-reporting agencies collect information on whether or not you make your payments on time. This information, also called your "credit history", is part of your credit report and is used to calculate your credit score.

Making payments on time can help improve your credit score by demonstrating that you are able to manage your debt. Even if you have poor credit, you can rebuild it by using a credit card or other type of credit and paying back the money you owe on time.

This is not the case with payday loans. Since payday lenders are not currently members of the main credit-reporting agencies, getting a payday loan and paying it off on time will not improve your credit score. However, if you do not pay your loan back on time and it is sent to a collection agency, this will likely be reported to a credit-reporting agency and could have a negative impact on your credit report.

How much will a payday loan cost?
A payday loan is much more expensive than most other types of loans offered by financial institutions such as banks or credit unions. Before you apply for a payday loan, find out about all the fees and charges you will have to pay — including the fees you will be charged if you cannot repay the loan on time. The fees may not be easy to see right away, so read the agreement carefully before signing it. If you do not receive an explanation of all of the fees, charges and interest that will apply to the loan, or if you are not satisfied with the explanation you receive, do not sign the loan agreement.

How does the cost of a payday loan compare with other credit products?
Payday loans are much more expensive than other types of loans, including credit cards. But how much are you really paying? How does the cost of a payday loan compare with taking a cash advance on a credit card, using overdraft protection on your bank account or borrowing on a line of credit?

Let's compare the cost of using different types of loans. We'll assume that you borrow $300, for 14 days. Note the considerable difference in the cost of each type of loan.

Things to consider before you apply for a payday loan
Even if you think you may be turned down, ask your bank or credit union for overdraft protection on your bank account, or a line of credit. These are relatively inexpensive ways of obtaining access to extra funds, for short-term use.


If you are turned down for any of these credit options, ask why. If the reason is that you have a poor credit history, contact the three credit-reporting agencies to get a copy of your credit report. Read the reports carefully to make sure that all of the information in it is correct. If you find any errors, contact the credit-reporting agency to find out how you can have the information corrected. The three major credit-reporting agencies in Canada are Equifax Canada, TransUnion Canada and Northern Credit Bureaus. All three of these agencies will give you a copy of your credit report for free if you request that it be sent to you by regular mail.


Ask yourself if you really need to take out a loan, or whether you can get by until your next pay cheque. If you need the money immediately, try to make other arrangements. For example, you may be able to cash in vacation days. Or you might consider getting a short-term loan from a family member or a friend.


If you find that you need to apply for a payday loan because you have no alternative, only borrow an amount that you are 100 percent sure you can repay on the due date of the loan.


Don't borrow more than you need.

Things to consider if you take out a payday loan
Don't be afraid to ask a lot of questions. Read carefully — and take home with you — a copy of the loan agreement that you are being asked to sign. Don't feel pressured to sign the loan agreement right away if you have questions and want more time to read through the agreement on your own. If the lender does not want to give you a copy of the agreement, look for another lender.


Be sure to ask about all the fees, charges and interest that apply when you first get the loan, and what other charges you will owe if you can't pay the loan back on time.


If you are taking out a payday loan at another location to pay back the first payday loan, or you are extending or "rolling over" the loan that you had with the same lender, you could find yourself in serious financial difficulty. The fees, charges and interest will add up quickly on these types of loans, which can put you into serious debt.
How can I figure out the cost of each type of loan?
To estimate the total cost of a loan, including the annual cost of the loan expressed as a percentage of the amount borrowed, follow the steps below.

Step 1:

Determine how much interest you will pay. First, find out the annual interest rate that applies to the loan (if there is one). Figure out the daily interest rate by dividing the annual interest rate of the loan by 365 days. Then, multiply that rate by the length of time you are taking the loan. Finally, multiply the result by the amount you will borrow, in dollars:


Amount of interest

= Annual interest rate

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
365 days × Length of the loan
(number of days) × Amount of the loan

Step 2:

Determine the total cost of the loan by adding any fees that may apply to the interest you will have to pay. Find out what fees apply to the loan and add them to the cost of the interest, found in Step 1:


Total cost of the loan = Amount of interest + Total fees


Step 3:

Estimate the annual cost of the loan, expressed as a percentage of the amount borrowed. First, divide the total cost of the loan, found in Step 2, by the amount of the loan. Then, divide this rate by the length of time you are taking the loan (in days) and multiply it by 365 (the number of days in the year):


Annual cost of the loan (%)

= Cost of the loan

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Amount of the loan ÷ Length of the loan
(number of days) × 365 days

Let's find out the cost of a $300 payday loan, taken for 14 days.

We'll assume that the lender charges you a one-time set-up fee of $10 and a service fee of $40, which includes interest on the loan.


Step 1:

Determine how much interest you will pay. In this case, there is no interest fee. The interest is therefore $0.


Step 2:

Figure out the cost of the loan by adding together any fees that apply and the interest you will have to pay. In this case, you would add the $10 set-up fee and the $40 service fee together:

$10 + $40 = $50


Step 3:

Estimate the total annual cost of the loan, expressed as a percentage of the amount borrowed:


Annual cost of the loan (%)

= Cost of the loan

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Amount of the loan ÷ Length of the loan
(number of days) × 365 days
= $50
———— ÷ 14 days × 365 days
$300
= 4.35 or approximately 435%

The total cost of the payday loan would be $50 with an annual cost of 435 percent of the amount borrowed.






Information asymmetries are common in credit market models, but the usual assumption,

at least in commercial lending, is that borrowers are the better informed party and that

lenders have to screen and monitor to assess whether

firms are creditworthy. The opposite
asymmetry, as we assume here, does not seem implausible in the context of consumer lending.

"Fringe" borrowers are less educated than mainstream borrowers (Caskey 2003), and many

are

first-time borrowers (or are rebounding from a failed first foray into credit). Lenders
know from experience with large numbers of borrowers, whereas the borrower may only have

their own experience to guide them. Credit can also be confusing; after marriage, mortgages

are probably the most complicated contract most people ever enter. Given the subtleties

involved with credit, and the supposed lack of sophistication of sub-prime borrowers, our

assumption that lenders know better seems plausible.

While lenders might deceive households about several variables that in

fluence household
loan demand, we focus on income. We suppose that lenders exaggerate household's future

income in order boost loan demand. Our borrowers are gullible, in the sense that they can

be fooled about their future income, but they borrow rationally given their beliefs. Fooling

borrowers is costly to lenders, where the costs could represent conscience, technological costs

(of learning the pitch), or risk of prosecution. The upside to exaggerating borrowers' income

prospects is obvious—they borrow more. As long as the extra borrowing does not increase

default risk too much, and as long as deceiving borrowers is easy enough, income deception

and predatory—welfare reducing—lending may occur.

After de

fining predatory lending, we test whether payday lending fi ts our definition. Payday
lenders make small, short-term loans to mostly lower-middle income households. The

business is booming, but critics condemn payday lending, especially the high fees and frequent

loan rollovers, as predatory. Many states prohibit payday loans outright, or

indirectly,
via

usury limits.
To test whether payday lending quali

fies as predatory, we compared debt and delinquency
rates for households in states that allow payday lending to those in states that do not. We

focus especially on di

fferences across states households that, according to our model, seem
more vulnerable to predation: households with more income uncertainly or less education.

We use smoking as a third, more ambiguous, proxy for households with high, or perhaps

hyperbolic, discount rates. In general, high discounters will pay higher future costs for a

given, immediate, gain in welfare. Smokers' seem to

fit that description. What makes the
smoking proxy ambiguous is that smokers may have hyperbolic, not just high, discount rates.

Hyperbolic discount rates decline over time in a way that leads to procrastination and selfcontrol

problems (Laibson 1997). The hyperbolic discounter postpones quitting smoking,

or repaying credit. Without knowing whether smokers discount rates are merely high, or

hyperbolic, we will not be able to say whether any extra debt for smokers in payday states

is welfare reducing.

2
Given those proxies, we use a di

fference-in-difference approach to test whether payday
lending

fits our definition of predatory. First we look for diff erences in household debt
and delinquency across payday states and non-payday states, then we test whether those

di

fference are higher for potential prey. To ensure that any such differences are not merely
state e

ffects, we difference a third time across time by comparing whether those di fferences
changed after the advent of payday lending circa 1995. That triple di

fference identifies any
di

fference in debt and delinquency for potential prey in payday states after payday lending
was introduced.

Our

findings seem mostly inconsistent with the hypothesis that payday lenders prey on,
i.e., lower the welfare of, households with uncertain income or households with less education.

Those types of households who happen to live in states that allow unlimited payday loans

are less likely to report being turned down for credit, but are

not more likely, by and large,
to report higher debt levels, contrary to the overborrowing prediction of our model. Nor are

such households more likely to have missed a debt payment in the previous year. On the

contrary, households with uncertain income who live in states with unlimited payday loans

are

less likely to have missed a debt payment over the previous year. The latter result is
consistent with claims by defenders of payday lending that some households borrow from

2

Consistent with a high discount rate, Munasinghe and Sicherman (2000) discover that smokers have
fl

atter wage profiles and they are willing to trade more future earnings for a given increase in current earnings.
Gruber and Mulainathan (2002)

find that high cigarette taxes make smokers "happier," consistent with
hypberbolic discount rates (because taxes help smokers commit to quitting). DellaVigna and Malmendier

(2004) show how credit card lenders can manipulate hyperbolic discounters by front-loading bene

fits and
back-loading costs.

payday lenders to avoid missing payments on other debt. On the whole, our results seem

consistent with the hypothesis that payday lending represents a legitimate increase in the

supply of credit, not a contrived increase in credit demand.

We

find some interesting differences for smokers, but those diff erences are harder to
interpret in relation to the predatory hypothesis without knowing

apriori whether smokers
are hyperbolic, or merely high, discounters.

We also

find, using a small set of data from different sources, that payday loan rates
and fees decline signi

ficantly as the number of payday lenders and pawnshops increase.
Reformers often advocate usury limits to lower payday loan fees but our evidence suggests

that competition among payday lenders (and pawnshops) works to lower payday loan prices.

Our paper has several cousins in the academic literature. Ausubel (1991) argues that

credit card lenders exploit their superior information about household credit demand in their

marketing and pricing of credit cards. The predators in our model pro

fit from their information
advantage as well. Our concept of income delusion or deception also has a behavioral

fl

avor, as well, hence our use of smoking as a proxy for self-control problems. Brunnermeier
and Parker (2004), for example, imagine that households

choose what to expect about future
income (or other outcomes). High hopes give households' current "felicity," even if it

distorts borrowing and other income-dependent decisions. Our households have high hopes

for income, and they make bad borrowing decisions, but we do not count the current felicity

from high hopes as an o

ffset to the welfare loss from overborrowing.
Our costly falsi

fication (of household income prospects) and costly verification (by counselors)
resemble Townsend's (1979) costly state veri

fication and Lacker andWeinbergs' (1989)
costly state falsi

fication. The main difference here is that the falsifying and verifying comes
before income is realized, not after.

More importantly, we hope our

findings inform the current, very real-world debate,
around predatory lending. The stakes in that debate are high: millions of lower income

households borrow regularly from thousands of payday loan o

ffices around the country. If
payday lenders raise household welfare by relaxing credit constraints, anti-predatory legislation

may lower it.

Payday lenders make small, short-term loans to households. The typical loan is about $300

for two weeks. The typical fee is $15 per $100 borrowed. Lenders require two recent pay

stubs (as proof of employment), and a recent bank account statement. Borrowers secure

the loan with a post-dated personal check for the loan amount plus fees. When the loan

matures, lenders deposit the check.

Payday lending evolved from check cashing much like bank lending evolved from deposit

taking. For a fee, check cashiers turn personal paychecks into cash. After cashing several

paychecks for the same customer, lending against

f uture paychecks was a natural next step.
High

finance charges is the main criticism against payday lenders. The typical fee of $15
per $100 per two weeks implies an annual interest rate of 15

x365/14, or 390 percent. Payday
lenders are also criticize for overlending, in the sense that borrowers often re

finance their
loans repeatedly, and for "targeting" women making the transition from welfare-to-work

(Fox and Mierzewski 2001) and soldiers (Graves and Peterson 2004).

Despite their critics, payday lending has boomed. The number of payday advance o

ffices
grew from 0 in 1990 to 14

, 000 in 2003 (Stegman and Harris 2003). The industry originated
$8 to $14 billion in loans in 2000, implying 26-47 million individual loans. Rapid entry

suggests the industry is pro

fitable.
Payday lenders present sti

ff competition for pawnshops, even though the internet, namely
E-bay, signi

ficantly foreclosure costs for pawnshops (Caskey 2003). The number of pawn
shops in the U.S. grew about six percent per year between 1986 and 1996, but growth

essentially stalled from 1997 to 2003. Prices of shares in EZCorp, the largest, publicly

traded pawn shop holder, were essentially

flat or declining between 1994 and 2004, while
Ace Cash Express share prices, a retail

financial firm selling check cashing and payday loans,
rose substantially over that period (Figure 4). EZCorp CEO, Joseph Rotunday, blamed

payday lenders for pawnshops' dismal performance:

The company had been progressing very nicely until the late 1990s.... (when)

a new product called payroll advance/payday loans came along and provided our

customer base an alternative choice. Many of them elected the payday loan over

the traditional pawn loan. (Quoted by Caskey (2003) p.14).

Payday lending is heavily regulated (Table 1). As of 2001, eighteen states e

ffectively
prohibited payday loans

via usury limits, and most other states prices, loan size, and loan
frequency per customer (Fox and Mierzwinski 2001). Note that the payday loan limit ranges

from 0 (where payday loans are illegal) to 1250. Nine states allow unlimited payday loans.

Payday lenders have circumvented usury limits by a

ffiliating with national or state
chartered banks, but the Comptroller of the Currency—the overseer of nationally chartered

banks–recently banned such a

ffiliations. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation still
permits payday lenders to a

ffiliate with state banks, but recently restricted those partnerships
(Graves and Peterson 2005).

Regulatory risk—the threat of costly or disabling legislation in the future—looms large for

Payday lenders. The Utah legislature is reconsidering its permissive laws governing payday

lending. North Carolina recently drove payday lenders from the state by expressly outlawing

the practice.

Heavy regulation increases the cost of payday lending. High regulatory risk increases limits

entry into the industry and increases the expected return required by industry investors.

Driving up costs and driving away investors may be exactly what regulators intended if they

view payday lending as predatory.
We de

fine predatory lending as a welfare reducing provision of credit. Households can be
made worse o

ff by borrowing if lenders can deceive households into borrowing more than is
optimal. Excess borrowing reduces household welfare, and may increase default risk.

We illustrate our concept of predatory lending in a standard model of household borrowing.

Before we get to predatory lending, we review basic principles about welfare

improving
lending, the type that lets households maintain their consumption despite

fluctuations in
their income.

The model has two periods: today (period zero) and payday (period one. Household income

goes up and down periodically, but not randomly (for now): income equals zero today

and

y on payday. If households consume Ct in period t, their utility is U (Ct) .Household welfare
is the sum of utility over both periods:

U (C0)+ δU (C1), where δ equals the household's
time rate of discount. Households with high

δ value current consumption highly relative to
future consumption. In other words, high discounters are impatient.

A digression here on discount rates serves later discussion. In classical economics

δ is
constant. If

δ changes over time, so does household behavior, even if nothing else changes.
If

δ(t) is hyperbolic, households will postpone unpleasant tasks until current consumption
does not seem so precious relative to future consumption (Laibson 1997). With hyperbolic

discounting, that day never arrives, so hyperbolic discounters have behavioral problems: they

procrastinate. They may never repay debt, much less begin saving. Hyperbolic discounters

who start smoking may never quit.

Returning to the model, if the marginal utility of consumption (

U 0) is diminishing, households
will demand credit to reduce

fluctuations in their standard of living. Households
without credit, however, must fend for themselves (autarky). Welfare under autarky equals



U

(0)+δU (y). The fluctuations in consumption for households without credit make autarky
a possible worst case, and hence, a good benchmark for comparing cases

with credit.
If households borrow

B at interest rate r, welfare equals U (B) + δU (y − (1 + r)B).
Borrowing increases utility in period zero, when the proceeds are consumed, but lowers utility

in period one, when households pay for their borrowing. Rational, informed households trade

o

ff the good and bad side of borrowing; they borrow until the marginal utility of consuming
another unit today just equals the marginal, discounted

disutility of repaying the extra debt
on payday:



U

0(B) = δ(1 + r)U 0(y − (1 + r)B). (1)
Equation (1) determines household loan demand as a function of their income, their

discount rate, and the market interest rate:

B(y, δ, r). For standard utility functions,
household loan demand is increasing in income and decreasing in the discount factor and

interest rate:

By > 0; B δ < 0; Br < 0. Household welfare with optimal borrowing equals


U

(B(y, r, d))+δU (y − (1+r)B( y, r, δ)). As long as households follow (1), their welfare with
positive borrowing must be higher than without (autarky).

The welfare gain from borrowing depends on the cost of credit production. Suppose the

cost of lending $

B to a particular household equals (1 + ρ)B + f, where ρ represents the
opportunity cost per unit loaned and

f is the fixed cost per loan. Think of f as the cost
of record-keeping and credit check required for each loan, however large or small the loan

may be. If the going price for loans is (1+

r) per unit borrowed, the lenders' profits equal
(

r − ρ)B − f.


With perfect competition among lenders, the loan interest rate is competed down until

it just covers the costs of the loan:

r = ρ + f /B. Equilibrium r and B are determined
where that credit supply curve equals demand (1).

Equilibrium in the payday credit market is illustrated in Figure (3). If

fixed costs per loan
are prohibitively high, the market may not exist. Perhaps the payday lending technology

lowered the

fixed cost per loan enough to make the business viable.3 Before the advent of
payday lending, households who applied to banks for a very small, short-term loan may have

been denied.

Fixed costs per loan imply that smaller loans will cost more per dollar borrowed than

larger loans. That means households with low credit demand will pay higher rates than

households with high loan demand. Loan demand is increasing in income, so high income

households who demand larger quantities of credit will enjoy a "quantity" discount, while

lower income households will pay a "small lot" premium, or penalty. That price "discrimination"

is not invidious, however; the higher cost of smaller loans re

flects the fixed costs of
lending. The high price of payday loans may partly re

flect the combination of fixed costs
and small loan amounts (Flannery and Samolyk 2005).

A usury limit lowers household welfare. Suppose the maximum legal interest rate is

r.


At that maximum rate, the minimum loan that lenders' cost is

f /(r− ρ) = B. Low income
households with loan demand less than

B face a beggar's choice: borrow B at r or do not
borrow at all. Such households would be willing to pay more to to avoid going without

credit, so raising the usury limit would raise welfare for those households.

Competition is another key determinant of how much households gains from borrowing.



3

Alternatively, or additionaly, the demand for small, short term loans may have increased in the mid
1990s. The welfare reform then almost certainly increased demand for such credit as households who once

"worked" at home for the government were forced to go to work in the market.

Even with no competition — monopoly—households cannot be worse o

ff than under autarky.
The monopolist raises interest rates until the marginal revenue from higher rates equals the

marginal cost from lower loan demand:



B

(y, r) = −(r − ρ)Br(y, r) . (2)
At that monopoly interest rate,

rm, household loan demand equals B(y, rm).Household welfare
under monopoly equals

U (Br(y, r m))+δU (y −(1+ rm)Br(y, r m)). Welfare is lower under
monopoly because credit costs more and their standard of living

fluctuates more (because
costly credit reduces their demand for credit) If households borrow from the monopolist,

however, they must better o

ff than without credit.
In sum, welfare for rational households is highest if credit is available at competitive

prices. If households choose to borrow, they must be at least as well o

ff as they were
without credit. Limiting loan rates cannot raise household welfare and may reduce it.

Monopoly lenders lower household welfare, but even with a monopolist, households cannot

be worse o

ff than without credit.
The high cost of payday lending may partly re

flect fixed costs per loan. Before payday
lending, those

fixed costs may have been prohibitive; very small, short-term loans may not
have been worthwhile for banks. The payday lending technology may have lowered those



fi

xed costs, thus increasing the supply of credit to low income households demanding small
loans. That version of the genesis of payday lending suggests the innovation was welfare

improving, not predatory.





In the textbook model household welfare cannot be lower than under autarky because households

are fully informed and rational. Here we show households how can be made worse o

ff


than without credit if predatory lenders can delude households about their (households')

future income.

Suppose that by spending

C(τ ), lenders can convince a prospective borrower that her
income on payday will be

y +τ. The cost C can be interpreted variously as the cost of a guilty

Anonymous said...

it has become very easy to borrow loans these days. Advancements in technology particularly with the Internet have made it convenient for loan seekers to track the loan of their choice. With just a few clicks on a lender's website you can access the desired loan online. The ease with which loans are available online nowadays is the main reason behind the growing number of debt-related problems.

The vast number of loans taken on different occasions may have benefited you many times and may have even been a lifesaver in an urgent situation. However, you may not have known that these loans can pose a threat to you. Now you have to remember which lender to pay, how much and when. Failing to pay any of the installments on the loan may affect your credit score adversely. In such circumstances, debts become a burden. You may get into a life-long debt trap if you don't know how to handle these debts. A debt management program in such conditions can work as an effective debt management tool helping you in reducing the debt burden.

Here are a few debt management tips that can help you in managing your debts and getting your life back on the right track:

Create A Budget
An organized and well-planned budget can help you in keeping control over your monthly expenses. Write down each and every financial transaction you do each month; this will help you stay on track. It will give you a real idea of your finances and thus you can make the decision accordingly. A budget will give you an overview about how many funds you do have and how you are going to disburse the expenses with the available money. Setting up the budget is not enough: what is important is to stick to it.

Consolidate High Interest Loans
Consolidate your debts that carry a high rate of interest with a debt consolidation loan. A debt consolidation loan can work as an effective debt management tool. It will help you in getting rid of the debt burden by reducing the monthly outgoings. With a debt consolidation loan, you will get freedom from all the hassles involved in dealing with several creditors, you will be accountable to only one loan, one lender and one lower monthly installment.

Avoid taking on new credit
If you are already in a debt trap, avoid taking up a new loan. Borrowing a new loan may be of great help to you, but it will be in the short term. It may increase the debt burden and will add to your troubles rather then solving them.

Debt Management Counseling
You can also seek for advice from debt management counselors. The majority of the lenders in the US engage debt management counselors who have years of experience and can provide you with an easy road map to get rid of the debt trap by paying off the existing debts.

Learn To Save
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A payday loan or paycheck advance is a small, short-term loan that is intended to cover a borrower's expenses until his or her next payday. Typical loans are between $100 and $1500, on a two-week term and have interest rates in the range of 390 percent to 900 percent (annualized). The loans are also sometimes referred to as cash advances, though that term can also refer to cash provided against a prearranged line of credit such as a credit card.

Though payday lending is primarily regulated at the state level, the United States Congress passed a law in October 2006 that caps lending to military personnel at 36% APR. The Defense Department called payday lending practices "predatory," and military officers cited concerns that payday lending exacerbated soldiers' financial challenges, jeopardized security clearances, and even interfered with deployment schedules to Iraq.

Some federal banking regulators and legislators seek to restrict or prohibit the loans not just for military personnel, but for all borrowers [citation needed, because the high costs are viewed as an unnecessary financial drain on the lower and lower-middle class populations who are the primary borrowers.

Lenders say these loans are often the only option available to consumers with bad credit or who cannot get a bank loan, credit card, or other lower-interest alternatives. Critics counter most borrowers find themselves in a worse position when the loan is due than they were when they took the loan, with many getting trapped in a cycle of debt.

The industry's fast-paced growth indicates a highly profitable business model. Statistics compiled by the Center for Responsible Lending show that the majority of the industry's profit comes from repeat borrowers who are unable to repay loans on the due date and instead repeatedly renew their loans, paying fees each time

Borrowers visit a payday lending store and secure a small cash loan, usually in the range of $100 to $500 with payment in full due at the borrower's next paycheck (usually a two week term). Finance charges on payday loans are typically in the range of $15 to $30 per $100 borrowed for the two-week period, which translates to rates ranging from 390 percent to 780 percent when expressed as an annual percentage rate (APR). The borrower writes a post-dated check to the lender in the full amount of the loan plus fees. On the maturity date, the borrower is expected to return to the store to repay the loan in person. If the borrower doesn't repay the loan in person, the lender may process the check traditionally or through electronic withdrawal from the borrower's checking account.

If the account is short on funds to cover the check, the borrower may now face a bounced check fee from their bank in addition to the costs of the loan, and the loan may incur additional fees and/or an increased interest rate as a result of the failure to pay. For customers who cannot pay back the loan when due, members of the national trade association are required to offer an extended payment plan at no additional cost. In states like Washington, extended payment plans are required by state law.

Payday lenders require the borrower to bring one or more recent pay stubs to prove that they have a steady source of income. They are also required to provide recent bank statements. Individual companies and franchises have their own underwriting criteria.



Online payday loans are marketed through e-mail, online search, paid ads, and referrals. Typically, a consumer fills out an online application form or faxes a completed application that requests personal information, bank account numbers, Social Security number and employer information. Borrowers fax copies of a check, a recent bank statement, and signed paperwork. The loan is direct deposited into the consumer's checking account and loan payment or the finance charge is electronically withdrawn on the borrower's next payday.



For example, a borrower seeking a payday loan may write a post-dated personal check for $460 to borrow $400 for up to 14 days. The payday lender agrees to hold the check until the borrower's next payday. At that time, the borrower has the option to redeem the check by paying $460 in cash, or renew the loan ( a.k.a. "flip the loan") by paying off the $460 and then immediately taking an additional loan of $400, in effect extending the loan for another two weeks. In many states, "flipping" or "rolling over" the loan is not allowed. In states where there is an extended payment plan, the borrower could choose to opt into a payment plan. If the borrower does not refinance the loan, the lender may deposit the check. In this example, the cost of the initial loan is a $60 finance charge, or 390% percent APR.

When the Consumer Federation of America conducted a survey of 100 internet payday loan sites, it found loans from $200 to $2,500 were available, with $500 the most frequently offered. Finance charges ranged from $10 per $100 up to $30 per $100 borrowed. The most frequent rate was $25 per $100, or 650% annual interest rate (APR) if the loan is repaid in two weeks.



Regulation of lending institutions is handled primarily by individual states, and this growing industry exists atop an active and shifting legal landscape. Lenders lobby to enable payday lending practices, while opponents of the industry lobby to prohibit the high cost loans in the name of consumer protection.

Payday lending is legal and regulated in 37 states. In Georgia and 12 other states, it is either illegal or not feasible, given state law.When not explicitly banned, laws that prohibit payday lending are usually in the form of usury limits: hard interest rate caps calculated strictly by APR.

In the United States, most states have usury laws which forbid interest rates in excess of a certain APR. Payday lenders have succeeded in getting around usury laws in some states by forming relationships with banks chartered in a different state with no usury ceiling (such as South Dakota or Delaware). This practice has been referred to as "Rate exportation", the "agency model" and the "rent-a-bank" model. Under the legal doctrine of rate exportation, established by Marquette Nat. Bank v. First of Omaha Corp. 439 U. 299 (1978), the loan is governed by the laws of the state the bank is chartered in. This is the same doctrine that allows credit card issuers based in South Dakota and Delaware — states that abolished their usury laws — to offer credit cards nationwide.As federal banking regulators became aware of this practice, they began prohibiting these partnerships between commercial banks and payday lenders. The FDIC still allows its member banks to participate in payday lending, but it did issue guidelines in March 2005 that are meant to discourage long term debt cycles by transitioning to a longer term loan after 6 payday loan renewals.

For usury laws to be effective, they need to include all loan fees as part of the interest. Otherwise, lenders can charge any amount they want as fees and still claim a low interest rate.

Some states have laws limiting the number of loans a borrower can take at a single time. Some states also cap the number of loans per borrower per year, or require that after a fixed number of loan-renewals, the lender must offer a lower interest loan with a longer term, so that the borrower can eventually get out of the debt cycle. Borrowers often circumvent these laws by taking loans from more than one lender.



On March 1, 2006, the North Carolina Department of Justice announced the state had negotiated agreements with all the payday lenders operating in the state. The state contended that the practice of funding payday loans through banks chartered in other states illegally circumvents North Carolina law. Under the terms of the agreements, the lenders will stop making new loans, will collect only principal on existing loans and will pay $700,000 to non-profit organizations for relief.



Georgia law prohibited payday lending for more than 100 years, but the state was not successful in shutting the industry down until the 2004 legislation made payday lending a felony, allowed for racketeering charges and permitted potentially costly class-action lawsuits.

New Mexico will cap fees, restrict total loans by a consumer and prohibit immediate loan rollovers, in which a consumer takes out a new loan to pay off a previous loan, under a new law that takes effect November 1, 2007. A borrower who is unable to repay a loan will automatically be offered a 130-day payment plan, with no fees or interest. Once a loan is repaid, under the new law, the borrower must wait 10 days before obtaining another payday loan. The law will allow the term of a loan to run from 14 to 35 days, with the fees capped at $15.50 for each $100 borrowed. There also will be a 50-cent administrative fee to cover costs of lenders verifying whether a borrower qualifies for the loan, such as determining whether the consumer is still paying off a previous loan. A borrower's cumulative payday loans could not exceed 25 percent of the individual's gross monthly income.



According to the Canadian Criminal Code, any rate of interest charged above 60% per annum is considered criminal. On August 14, 2006 the Supreme oBritishColumbiassued its decision in a class action lawsuit against A OK Payday Loans. A OK charged its customers 21% interest, as well as a "processing" fee of C$9.50 for every $50.00 borrowed. In addition a "deferral" fee of $25.00 for every $100.00 was charged if a customer wanted to delay payment. The judge ruled that the processing and deferral fees were interest, and that A OK was charging its customers a criminal rate of interest. The payout as a result of this decision is expected to be several million dollars The British Columbia Court of Appeal unanimously affirmed this decision. Federal legislation passed in the spring of 2007 transferred regulatory authority on payday loans to the provinces.



Payday lending is a controversial practice and faces both legal battles and public perception challenges in nearly every state.



Critics blame payday lenders for exploiting people's financial hardship for profit. Lenders target the young and the poor, particularly those near military bases and in low-income communities. Borrowers may not understand that the high interest rates are likely to trap them in a "debt-cycle," where they have to repeatedly renew the loan and pay associated fees every two weeks until they can finally save enough to pay off the principal and get out of debt. Critics point out that payday lending unfairly disadvantages the poor, compared to the middle class who pay at most 25% or so on their credit cards.

However, supporters argue that some individuals that require the use of payday loans have already exhausted or ruined any other alternatives. They may not be able to obtain a credit card, or rely on secondary sources (such as loans from friends and family members)



By law, a payday lender can use only the same industry standard collection practices used to collect other debts.

In many cases, the borrower has written a post-dated check to the lender; if the borrower defaults, then this check will bounce. Some payday lenders have therefore threatened delinquent borrowers with criminal prosecution, for check fraud. This practice is illegal in many jurisdictions and has resulted in regulatory action.



Defenders of the higher interest rates say processing costs for payday loans do not differ much from other loans, including home mortgages. They argue that conventional interest rates for lower dollar amounts and shorter terms would not be profitable. For example, a $100 one-week loan, at a 20% APR (compounded weekly) would generate only 38 cents of interest, which would fail to match loan processing costs.

Critics say payday lenders' processing costs are significantly lower than costs for mortgages and other traditional loans. Payday lenders usually look at recent pay-stubs, whereas larger-loan lenders do full credit checks and making a determination about the borrower's ability to pay back the loan.



A study by the FDIC Center for Financial Research found "operating costs lie in the range of advance fees" collected and that, after subtracting fixed operating costs and "unusually high rate of default losses," payday loans "may not necessarily yield extraordinary profits." Based on the annual reports of publicly traded payday loan companies, loan losses can average 15% or more of loan revenue. Underwriters of payday loans must also deal with people presenting fraudulent checks as security or making stop payments.

Critics concede that some borrowers may default on the loans, but point to the industry's pace of growth as an indication of its profitability. Consumer advocates condemn the practice as a whole, regardless of its profitability, because it "takes advantage of consumers who are already hard-pressed to pay their debts".

Proponents claim that cash advance loans provide a service that is not available from other sources. Many credit unions have attempted to offer similar products, but have been unable to do so without government subsidies or grants, a fact that many lenders and reports have highlighted. Furthermore, most of these programs offered by credit unions have ended due to the high default rates of lenders.

A staff report released by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York concluded that payday loans should not be categorized as "predatory" since they may improve household welfare. "Defining and Detecting Predatory Lending" reports "if payday lenders raise household welfare by relaxing credit constraints, anti-predatory legislation may lower it." The author of the report, Donald P. Morgan, defined predatory lending as "a welfare reducing provision of credit." Results of the report indicated that payday loans may actually do the opposite by improving the welfare of the consumer.



Many believe that payday loans are the only option for consumers with bad credit, but other options do exist and most financial counselors would direct people to explore the alternatives. Other options are available to most payday loan customers.These include credit union loans with lower interest and more stringent terms credit payment plans, paycheck cash advances from employers, bank overdraft protection, cash advances from credit cards, emergency community assistance plans, small consumer loans and direct loans from family or friends.

Payday lenders do not compare their interest rates to those of mainstream lenders. Instead, they compare their fees to the overdraft, late payment and penalty fees that will be incurred if the customer is unable to secure any credit whatsoever.

The lenders therefore list a different set of alternatives (costs expressed here as APRs for two-week terms):

$100 payday advance with $15 fee = 391% APR;
$100 bounced check with $48 NSF/merchant fees = 1,251% APR;
$100 credit card balance with $26 late fee = 678% APR;
$100 utility bill with $50 late/reconnect fees = 1,304% APR.


A minority of mainstream banks offer advances for customers whose paychecks or other funds are deposited electronically into their accounts. The terms are similar to those of a payday loan; a customer receives a predetermined cash credit available for immediate withdrawal. The amount is deducted, along with a fee, usually about 10 percent of the amount borrowed, when the next direct deposit is posted to the customer's account. After the programs attracted regulatory attention Wells Fargo called its fee "voluntary" and offered to waive it for any reason. It later scaled back the program in several states.

Income tax preparation firms often partner with lenders to offer "refund anticipation loans" to filers. These loans are not technically payday loans (because they are repayable upon receipt of the borrower's income tax refund, not at his next payday), but they have similar credit and cost characteristics. A car title loan is similar to a payday loan, but it is secured by the borrower's car. These loans are available only to borrowers who hold clear title ( i.e., no other loans) to a vehicle. The maximum amount of the loan is some fraction of the resale value of the car. These loans may be available on slightly better terms than an unsecured payday loan, since they are less risky to the lender. If the borrower defaults, then the lender can still recover costs by repossessing and reselling the car

Anonymous said...

Before working on restoring your credit, you will need to get a copy of your credit report to see if it is accurate and up to date. Many times, after a bankruptcy, creditors leave derogatory information that should not be there. You first need to make sure that all accounts discharged in your bankruptcy properly reflect "included in bankruptcy," rather than showing all the late, collection and charge-off activity. Read Credit Repair for information on how to properly challenge inaccurate, outdated, erroneous and misleading information so that the credit bureaus remove it and properly update your credit report.

Once you have brought your credit report accurate and up to date, it's time to start working on rebuilding your credit. The following are ideas on how you can start restoring your credit after you have filed for a bankruptcy. If you have questions about debt, credit restoration, credit repair, bankruptcy alternatives and how bankruptcy could affect your credit, contact a bankruptcy attorney today



Whether or not you are currently in bankruptcy, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) requires that debt collectors treat you fairly by prohibiting certain methods of debt collection. Personal, family and household debts are all covered under the FDCPA. This includes auto loans, medical care bills and charge accounts. However, business loans are not covered by this law. Paying bills on time is generally the best way to avoid creditor harassment. However, sometimes people fall into financial circumstances that prevent them from being able to honor the debt and they fall behind on the payments

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San Jose(meaning St. Joseph in Spanish) or San José is the third-largest city in California, and the tenth-largest in the United States. It is the county seat of Santa Clara County. San Jose is located in the Santa Clara Valley, which has been dubbed the "Silicon Valley," at the southern end of the San Francisco Bay Area. Once a small farming city, San Jose became a magnet for suburban newcomers in new housing developments between the 1960s and the 1990s, and is now the largest city in Northern California. The official United States Census Bureau population estimate for July 1, 2006 is 929,936.The California Department of Finance estimates, San Jose's population on January 1, 2007 was 973,672.
Originally known as El Pueblo de San José de Guadalupe, San Jose was founded on November 29, 1777 as the first town in the Spanish colony of Nueva California, which later became Alta California. The city served as a farming community to support Spanish military installations at San Francisco and Monterey. When California gained statehood in 1850, San Jose served as its first capital. After more than 150 years as an agricultural center, increased demand for housing from soldiers and other veterans returning from World War II, as well as aggressive expansion during the 1950s and 1960s, led San Jose to become what would later be known as the Capital of Silicon Valley. Growth in the 1970s attracted more businesses to the city. In the late 1980s, after four decades of heavy development and population growth, San Jose surpassed San Francisco in population to become the third most populous city in California. By the 1990s, San Jose's location within the booming local technology industry earned the city the nickname Capital of Silicon Valley.

Anonymous said...

She took the Q-tip out of my cock and stroked my frustrated cock, she was naked and her hair was wet, she looked so hot. Soon I was close to coming and said, wow baby for a minute there I though you were really going to castrate me. She continued masturbating me and looked into my eyes. I am going to castrate you, that is the only way that I will be able to keep you in line. I want this little cock of yours to always have his head down. My cock twitched at this and she pinched the base to keep me from coming. Once I calmed down she let go of my cock. I begged please honey I will do what ever you want but please leave my balls alone. She had a scalpel in her hand, I know you will do what ever I want especially if you want to live here. To my horror she sliced down both sides of my sac and set the scalpel down. I was about to beg again but she forced the gag back into my mouth. She reached into the left side of my bag with two fingers and found my ball and pulled it out of my sac. In my position with my legs above my head when she let it go it was laying on my bent stomach next to my dripping cock. I watched as she reached in and pulled my last ball from my bag. It was strangely erotic to see my sac lay flat and empty with both my nuts laying next to my erection. Then she untied my legs from the headboard and removed the leg spreader. She was careful to make sure my naked balls didn't get stuck under my ass. Then she took both balls in her hand and held them firmly while she uncuffed my wrists. I immediately tried to remove her hand from my balls but she just applied a little pressure and I just laid there ready to accept her command. She told me to get up and held my balls as I did so. My cock was ready to explode, I was living out a fantasy and my cock had a mind of its own. She reached between my legs and switched hands on my balls. She lifted them up and I could feel the cords to my balls going up the crack of my ass as she lead me into the bathroom. She had me straddle the toilet facing the wall. Then she let my left ball go and it swung between my legs. Then she handed my some surgical thread and told me to tie off the cords to my left ball. I had read enough about castration that I knew what I was doing. I tied off one side and paused, it just could assist in my own castration. She squeezed my naked nut and told me to continue. I finished tying off the cords and she rubbed my back, that's a good boy. Then she grabbed my left ball and let my right one swing free, now the other honey. I tied off the cords and was sweating knowing that now they were ready for removal. She still had a hold of my left tied ball and reached around and started to masturbate me. As she pumped my cock my right ball was bouncing up and down like a yo yo on its cords. She pinched off my quick orgasm and giggle. You will have to wait just a little longer to let you seed go honey. Now I want you to take the scissors off the back of the toilet and place the cords to your right ball in between the blades. I hadn't even noticed the scissors. I picked them up and just held them she didn't squeeze my ball like I thought she would, she rubbed my back, come on baby you can do it. You will be so proud if you are the one who destroys your manhood. If you can't do it I will, but I think you can, you are going to be castrated one way or the other. I looked over my shoulder at her and she stood up still holding my other ball and kissed me on the cheek. I turned my head and looked down and placed the scissors into position below the ties to sever my ball from my body. She reached around and was rubbing my pre come into the head of my cock. Then she whispered do it now and with out thinking I squeezed the handle on the scissors and snipped off my ball and watched it splash into the toilet bowl and float to the bottom. I couldn't believe it I actually cut off my own ball. My cock was about to explode again and I pinched off my own orgasm this time I wanted to wait until the final cut before I came. I felt a pin prick in my ass and looked back to see my wife pulling a needle out of my cheek. She smiled just a little something to help you relax. What ever it was it was making my back and neck feel warm. She switched hands on my ball again so she was standing in front of me holding my last ball out to be cut off. Now I'm going to let you ball go so we can watch it fall into the toilet when it is cut off, if you try to move away or run I'll grab it and tear it off is that understood. I nodded yes and she let it swing free, she looked at me you know what to do honey. I nodded and placed the scissors into position again and with my free hand started masturbating she moved my hand way and told me to cut it first then have your last come. My heart was racing my cock was hard, I looked at my wife, cut it off now put your little cock to sleep for the rest of your life. I looked down and snipped it off and watched it join its brother at the bottom of the toilet. Both sets of cords had snapped back inside my empty sac now that the weight had been removed. My wife was rubbing my back and said go ahead honey beat your little cock off before it is to late. I took hold of my cock and watched my empty bag flop around and I beat my meat. Then as I was approaching what was sure to be the best orgasm of my life I felt the heat from the shot she had given me warm up my legs and was traveling up and soon hit my pubic area and stomach then my face. I felt flush and looked at my wife. She was smiling, that was a heavy dose of female hormones I gave you, I wanted to make sure that your cock would never raise his head again. You better hurry and come while you still can. I must of looked funny masturbating so fast, she was giggling. I was close to coming again when suddenly my cock started to go flaccid. I wanted to come so bad I kept at it but my cock kind of felt numb and I couldn't get it to fire off. After about 3 minutes I had gone completely limp, my last orgasm denied me forever. I sat on the edge of the tub looking depressed as my wife sewed up my empty sac. She had me make her breakfast naked and I continually looked down at my sleeping cock and empty droopy sac
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Debt1Consolidation said...

Asbestos
What Is
Asbestos
?
Asbestos is a group of naturally occurring fibrous minerals. These minerals, found in soil and rocks in many parts of the world, are made of magnesium, silicon, and other elements. Some asbestos fibers are curly (or "serpentine"). The most common asbestos in industrial use, known as chrysotile, or white asbestos, has curly fibers. Other
Asbestos
fibers are straight and needle-like (or "amphibole"). These include amosite, crocidolite, tremolite, actinolite, and anthophyllite.
Asbestos
fibers are resistant to heat and many chemicals. As a result,
Asbestos
has been used as an insulating material since ancient times. Since the industrial revolution, asbestos was used to insulate factories, schools, homes, and ships, to make automobile brake and clutch parts, roofing shingles, ceiling and floor tiles, cement, and textiles, and hundreds of other products. During the first half of the 1900s, growing evidence demonstrated that asbestos is a health hazard causing scarring of the lungs. In the early 1900s, exposure to
Asbestos
dust in the workplace was not controlled. Beginning in England in the 1930s, steps were taken to protect workers in the
Asbestos
industry by installing ventilation and exhaust systems. However, in the huge shipbuilding effort during World War II, large numbers of workers were exposed to high levels of
Asbestos
As
Asbestos
related cancers became better recognized in the second half of the twentieth century, additional measures were taken to reduce exposure, and exposure standards were established. In addition to more careful handling, there has been a dramatic decrease in the import and use of
Asbestos
since the mid-1960s, and alternative insulating materials have been developed. As a result,
Asbestos
exposure has dropped dramatically in the United States. However, exposure continues in some other countries. And in this country, there is still a potential for exposure from
Asbestos
that remains in place in older buildings, water pipes, and other settings.
How Are People Exposed to
Asbestos

People are exposed to
Asbestos
mainly through inhaling fibers in the air they breathe. This may occur when mining and processing
Asbestos
producing asbestos-containing products, or installing asbestos insulation. It may also occur when older asbestos-containing materials begin to break down. In any of these situations, asbestos fibers tend to create a dust composed of tiny particles that can float in the air. In addition,
Asbestos
can enter the body through ingestion. This may occur when people consume contaminated food or liquids (such as water that flows through
Asbestos
cement pipes). It may also occur when people cough up
Asbestos
they have inhaled, then swallow their saliva.
Many people are exposed to very low levels of naturally occurring
Asbestos
in outdoor air as a result of erosion of asbestos-bearing rocks. The potential for such exposure is higher in areas where rocks have higher asbestos content. After the collapse of the World Trade Center in 2001, there was concern about the presence of
Asbestos
in the dust. Recommendations were made for testing and cleaning of residences in Lower Manhattan to minimize any health risks from such exposures.
However, the people with the heaviest exposure were those who worked in
Asbestos
industries, such as shipbuilding and insulating. Many of these people recall working in thick clouds of
Asbestos
dust, day after day.
Family members of asbestos workers are also potentially exposed to higher levels of
Asbestos
because the fibers are carried home on the workers’ clothing, and can then be inhaled by others in the household. Removing asbestos from homes and other buildings can cause some exposure, although modern
Asbestos
abatement workers are trained to use appropriate protective equipment to minimize exposure.
Exposure to
Asbestos
containing building material is also a concern, particularly in older buildings. If building materials like insulation and ceiling and floor tiles begin to decompose over time,
Asbestos
fibers can be found in indoor air and may pose a threat to human health (EPA). There is no risk to human health if the asbestos is bonded into intact finished products, such as walls and tiles. As long as the material is not damaged or disturbed, for example by drilling or remodeling, there is no way for the fibers to be released into the air and inhaled. Maintenance workers who sweep up and dispose of the
Asbestos
dust or handle damaged asbestos-containing building materials are often exposed to higher levels than other occupants of these buildings.

Asbestos
may be detected in the water supply as well as in the air. It may be released into the water through several sources, such as erosion or natural deposits, corrosion from
Asbestos
cement pipes, and the break down of roofing materials containing asbestos that are then transported into sewers.
Although use of
Asbestos
s has declined in many developed countries, its use continues to present a hazard in other parts of the world. More than 70% of the world’s asbestos production is used in Eastern Europe, Latin America, and Asia.
Does
Asbestos
Cause Cancer?
Lung Cancer
Inhalation of asbestos fibers has been proven to cause lung cancer. The connection between
Asbestos
exposure and lung cancer was noted as early as 1925, and confirmed by many epidemiologic studies of
Asbestos
exposed workers over the next 70 years. All four main types of commercially used
Asbestos
, chrysotile, amosite, anthophyllite, and mixtures containing crocidolite, are associated with an increased risk of lung cancer. An increase in lung cancer has also been observed after exposure to minerals containing tremolite and actinolite, and to tremolitic material mixed with anthophyllite and small amounts of chrysotile (IARC-Supp 17).
Approximately 1 in 7 people who suffer from asbestosis, a lung disease caused by prolonged high exposure, eventually develops lung cancer. The higher the exposure to
Asbestos
the higher the risk of lung cancer. Smoking acts together with
Asbestos
to greatly increase the risk of lung cancer.; asbestos workers who smoke face a much higher risk than
Asbestos
workers who do not smoke. Evidence suggests that
Asbestos
exposed workers who quit smoking can reduce their risk of developing lung cancer by as much as 50% within 5 years of quitting (NCI).
Mesothelioma
Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that affects the thin membranes lining the abdomen and chest. Mesothelioma is closely linked with
Asbestos
most cases of mesothelioma result from direct occupational a
Asbestos
exposure.
However, mesotheliomas have been observed not only among workers who are occupationally exposed to crocidolite, amosite, and chrysotile, but also among their family members and people living in the neighborhoods surrounding asbestos factories and mines (IARC). It is estimated that one third of the mesothelioma cases in the United States may be due to non-occupational exposure such as these (IARC). Although scientists know that the risk of developing mesothelioma increases with the amount of
Asbestos
exposure, there is no way to measure exactly the minimum amount of
Asbestos
exposure that can lead to mesothelioma. However, mesothelioma is very rare in the general population of the United States.
Unlike lung cancer, mesothelioma risk is not increased among smokers.
Other Types of Cancer
There is evidence that
Asbestos
also causes other types of cancer, although the evidence is not as strong as for lung cancer and mesothelioma. Cancer of the larynx is one such cancer, although it has been difficult to separate the contributory role of
Asbestos
from the strong effect of smoking. Many studies have also found an increase in stomach and colon cancer among workers in the
Asbestos
industry, although this association is still debated.
What Do Epidemiologic Studies Show?
As explained above, much of the evidence about
Asbestos
associated cancers comes from epidemiologic studies.
What Do Animal Studies Show?
Tests on several different species, using several different methods of exposure, have confirmed that
Asbestos
causes cancer in animals. Inhalation exposure of asbestos has been tested in rats, intrapleural administration (injection into the chest cavity) in rats and hamsters; intraperitoneal (injection into the abdominal cavity) injection in mice, rats, and hamsters; and ingestion in rats and hamsters (IARC). All commercial forms of asbestos have produced tumors in animals. The size and shape of the asbestos fibers influence the incidence of tumors; smaller fibers – less than 0.5 micrometers (um) in diameter (1 micrometer, or "micron", is 1 millionth of a meter) – seem more hazardous, perhaps because they are more likely to reach the deepest parts of the lungs (IARC).
A series of lifetime feeding studies have been done to determine if oral exposure to
Asbestos
increases the risk of cancer. These studies reported that short-range (98% of fibers are shorter than 10 um)
Asbestos
fibers did not significantly increase the tumor incidence in rats; however, the incidence of benign tumors of the large intestines in male rats increased when the animals were exposed to intermediate-range (65% of fibers are longer than 10 um)
Asbestos
fibers (EPA).
What Do the Expert Agencies Say?
Based on animal and human evidence like the examples above, expert agencies have evaluated the cancer causing nature of asbestos.
The National Toxicology Program evaluates exposures that may be carcinogenic (cause cancer). Exposures that are thought to be carcinogenic are included in the Reports on Carcinogens, published every 2 years. Each exposure is assigned to 1 of 2 categories: "known to be human carcinogens," and "reasonably anticipated to be human carcinogens." The first category includes substances for which human studies (epidemiology studies and/or experimental studies) provide "sufficient evidence" of carcinogenicity in humans. The second category includes substances for which there is limited evidence of carcinogenicity in humans and/or sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity in experimental animals.
Using this scheme, the National Toxicology Program classifies
Asbestos
as a known human carcinogen.
The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC also evaluates exposures that may be carcinogenic. IARC classifies exposures into one of four categories:
Group 1 exposures are those "known to be carcinogenic to humans," usually based on "sufficient" human evidence, but sometimes based on "sufficient" evidence in experimental animals and "strong" human evidence.
Group 2 exposures are divided into two categories. Group 2A ("probably carcinogenic to humans") has stronger evidence, and Group 2B ("possibly carcinogenic to humans") has weaker evidence.
Group 3 exposures are not considered classifiable, because available evidence is limited or inadequate.
Group 4 exposures are "probably not carcinogenic to humans," based on evidence suggesting lack of carcinogenicity in humans and in experimental animals.
IARC rated
Asbestos
a known human carcinogen (Group 1).
The Environmental Protection Agency, through its Integrated Risk Information System, uses a classification scheme very similar to that of IARC. It classifies exposures into 1 of 5 categories:
(A) Human carcinogen
(B) Probable human carcinogen
(C) Possible human carcinogen
(D) Not classifiable as to human carcinogenicity
(E) Evidence of noncarcinogenicity for humans
EPA classified
Asbestos
as a human carcinogen.
Does
Asbestos
Cause Any Other Health Problems?
The major health problem caused by
Asbestos
exposure, aside from cancer, is asbestosis. This is a scarring (or "fibrotic") disease of the lungs that develops when a person breathes high levels of
Asbestos
over time. The principal symptoms of asbestosis are shortness of breath and cough. Asbestosis is a serious disease that can result in disability or death. It is most commonly found among asbestos workers. Asbestos can also result in scar-like tissue in the membranes around the lung, called pleural thickening, skin lesions like warts, and immunological effects.
What Should I Do if I’ve Been Exposed to
Asbestos

If you have been exposed to asbestos, it is important to assess the amount of your exposure. If you were exposed only very briefly, or only at very low levels, your risk of a resulting disease is minimal. However, it you were exposed at high levels, you may be at increased risk of the diseases discussed above. You can protect your health in several ways:
If you are a smoker, it is essential that you stop smoking.
Get regular health checkups from a doctor experienced with
Asbestos
related diseases. People with heavy asbestos exposure often have periodic chest x-rays and lung function tests.
It may be advisable for you to receive vaccines against flu and pneumonia. Discuss this with your physician.
Get prompt medical attention for any respiratory illness.
How Can I Avoid Exposure to
Asbestos

You should also avoid any future exposure to
Asbestos
If there is a possibility of on-the-job exposure, like renovating old buildings for example, then you should use all protective equipment, work practices, and safety procedures designed for working around asbestos (NCI). If you live in an older home, there may be
Asbestos
containing insulation or other materials. A knowledgeable expert can check your home to determine if there is any asbestos and if it poses any risk of exposure. This may involve testing the air for asbestos levels. You may then decide to have the
Asbestos
removed from your home. You should hire a qualified contractor to perform this job to avoid contaminating your home further or causing any exposure to the workers. You should not attempt do remove asbestos-containing material yourself.

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