…will this story be repeated?
In what was described as the “worst-case scenario,” asbestos materials in a building were disturbed by a demolition process, and workers could have been exposed to asbestos by the demolition.
The town is Greensboro, North Carolina, but as we have seen recently, it could have been Huntington Beach, California in older school buildings or courthouses, hotels or office buildings in any town in the nation.
The building, the War Memorial Auditorium, was being removed. The demolition process included the removal of some materials by “scrappers.” While they were removing “lot of things,” they apparently damage asbestos-containing insulation on copper pipes.
The Auditorium was build in 1959, making it very likely that it would have been built with a great many materials that would have contained asbestos. A city construction project manager warned of the danger of permitting “everyone” in the building prior to asbestos abatement, there was a risk of causing “a rather large issue.”
That “large issue” is asbestos-related diseases, like lung cancer and mesothelioma. Unfortunately, there is no “test” for asbestos exposure. We can only be certain someone was exposed to asbestos fibers five, 10 or 20 years or more in the future, when the begin to show symptoms of a disease like mesothelioma.
Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating, and the building has been closed and all work has been shut down.
But cases like are not going away, because of the millions of locations where asbestos has been used. Virtually every building that was constructed in the last 100 years will have to be treated as a hazardous site.
News-record.com, “War Memorial demo uncovered asbestos,” Joe Killian, December 24, 2014