It is not uncommon for asbestos to be found in public spaces. Public arenas, schools, and other commercial buildings were built with construction materials containing asbestos, so it is no surprise that the substance was recently found in the BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport during renovations.
The renovations are happening as passengers continue to fly in and out of the airport. While Jonathan Dean, a spokesperson for the airport, said that the discovery of asbestos has not presented a danger to fliers or workers, we feel it is important to point out that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has stated that no level of exposure to any type of asbestos fiber is safe.
"When the material is discovered, it must be mitigated by professional contractors," Dean said. "There are specific standards and guidelines that these professionals work to meet." He is right.
Construction is scheduled to be completed in 2017, but there is no telling if and how much more asbestos might be found during the project. With 22.2 million passengers flying through the airport in 2014, we hope that this year's renovations do not affect many individuals in the long run.
Asbestos-related diseases can take years or decades to develop within the human body, and it would be a shame if individuals were exposed after a family vacation or work trip, only to be diagnosed with mesothelioma or asbestosis years down the line.