The process of removing asbestos from a building can be very dangerous. The fact that asbestos can easily be disturbed and inhaled makes the protocol for the removal of it quite stringent. While many cases of personal injuries that are sustained after asbestos exposure can be linked to improper removal techniques, even the most cautious companies can still expose workers to the toxic fiber.
In fact, it was recently discovered that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has apparently mishandled asbestos during many of their demolition projects. The fact that this agency is responsible for keeping the public safe and still used unapproved methods in the removal of asbestos is quite disconcerting.
The inspector general at the EPA reported that there are videos and photographs that clearly show workers who are unprotected around experimental removal procedures. There were also improper handling procedures that were reportedly used as well.
The EPA is the group responsible for developing the specific guidelines and procedures for safely removing and handling asbestos. The fact that they were not closely following these rules is worrisome. Workers at a number of EPA sites may have been exposed to asbestos and may develop life-threatening lung diseases as a result.
It is known that exposure to asbestos can be fatal. In most removal procedures, specialists are responsible for removing materials that contain asbestos while generating as little dust as possible. Since the toxic fiber is typically inhaled, the care taken to minimize the dust level is extremely important. By not following their own procedure for removing asbestos, the EPA may have put numerous lives in jeopardy.
Source: Yahoo! News, “Report of EPA’s Own Mishandling of Asbestos Highlights Hazards Workers Still Face, New York Mesothelioma Attorney Says,” Jan. 8, 2012