Friday, October 18, 2013

Asbestos Causes Health And Legal Issues

With any project renovation or demolition project, there are potential risks for renovation and demolition. Skilled contractors evaluate the potential space before any work is done to have a firm understanding of the possible hazards. In many cases of decrepit buildings, asbestos can rear its ugly head, causing contractors to develop a plan for removal.

Recently, two articles appeared in the news: one about a school district taking careful measures to remove asbestos and another unexplained how an uninformed child turned into an adult with mesothelioma. In these two situations, one acted accordingly for the safety of children and the other lacked knowledge, and thus affected an entire town with asbestos. By drawing on these articles, we can illustrate the importance of asbestos safety.

First, in Cumberland, MD in order to build a new school, Allegany High, project mangers are demolishing a decrepit hospital. When developers began planning, they knew it was going to be a large task with the condition of the building. They carefully prepared for the removal of asbestos and upon further review found sources of mold. More importantly, the school is being just as cautious with both removals.

Scheduled to open fall of 2017, the estimated cost of the project is between $30--40 million. With this budget, school officials are able to carefully plan the removal of the unwelcome guests. The school and their developers realize the safety of the community is at stake with the demolition of this building because of the presence of asbestos and mold. When these substances are disturbed, they become airborne and are easy to inhale for the surrounding residents. Even in small doses, the dangers are large for humans.

School officials state that they are not going to rush through the abatement and removal because they understand the severity of the issues. With this kind of attitude, this will be a successful project because they are taking the process seriously.

Unfortunately, environmental awareness and resident safety is not always paramount for companies. In the United Kingdom, fashion designer Caroline Wilcox contracted mesothelioma from playing with asbestos as a child. She and some of her friends would have asbestos "snowball" fights with asbestos dust that gathered near their homes from an asbestos plant in Bowburn, Duhrum County. From such exposure, she fell quite ill and was not given a hopeful outlook by physicians.

With the available asbestos knowledge we have now, she took action and got a settlement from the company as a result of their negligence.

Ms. Wilcox states, "My case establishes that the people of Bowburn were exposed to the dangers of asbestos over forty years ago and were largely unaware or unable to do anything to protect themselves and their children."

Two separate issues where one party is aware of asbestos dangers and the other party has to see an illness in order to act. The green building community is progressing the knowledge base of the dangers of asbestos. We can see companies who have made poor judgement with asbestos are attempting to correct their mistakes. Education and proper training is crucial to stop such events from repeating.

To help professionals prepare for challenges, GreenEDU offers the following course on asbestos: