It was recently discovered that, since 2002, thousands of homes in Portland, Oregon, may have been demolished without having asbestos-containing materials inside properly removed. Contractors and residents are both likely to have been exposed to the deadly substance due to weak regulatory oversight.
The city is suffering from the state’s lack of attention to proper asbestos removal. For most of the last three years, the state’s only asbestos inspector position in the region including Portland has been left empty. No system is in place for the state to ensure that contractors perform inspections or properly remove asbestos from demolition sites.
As more and more older homes are demolished to make room for new development, the Department of Environmental Quality has done little to protect workers and neighbors from the potential hazards of asbestos exposure during demolitions. According to the Agency, “it’s up to building owners to remove asbestos before demolishing a home.”
The community is calling for stricter regulations to ensure the safety of those involved with and living near demolitions. Asbestos exposure is known to cause serious diseases, such as asbestosis, mesothelioma, and lung cancer.
Source: The Oregonian