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Plant worker discovers asbestos at water pumping plant

A worker engaged in routine maintenance activities at a water pumping plant in Bakersfield, California discovered asbestos there. Exposure to asbestos is extremely dangerous and can be fatal, causing a variety of types of personal injury and illness, including mesothelioma and other types of cancer.

The maintenance was being performed in a large pumping unit. During the process of disassembling some attached piping, an employee found that some asbestos present had been disturbed. The plant was immediately shut down to ensure public and worker safety, and the employee himself was subjected to thorough testing to determine the extent of his exposure to the deadly carcinogen. Officials at the plant asserted that there was no danger to the safety of the public, and that water was not currently being contaminated.

Further efforts and testing are being planned to find out just how much asbestos is present at the plant, and what steps may be necessary to decontaminate it. Preliminary tests did confirm the presence of asbestos.

People required to enter the facility are currently being advised not to do so without donning full protective gear for their own safety. Gear required includes Tyvek suits and respirators to protect their lungs. Approximately 20 to 30 people work at the facility, and it will be advisable for them to all get tested to determine whether they have been exposed to asbestos.

Because asbestos is present on the site, it is unknown whether any of the workers had previously come into contact with the toxic substance. While the man who discovered the asbestos was tested, it was not required of other workers. It is recommended that those who believe they may have been exposed get tested.

Source: KERO 23, "Asbestos Found At Water Pumping Plant," Feb. 8, 2012

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