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Storm debris may contain asbestos

Spring is a time when people spend hours outside every day. From gardening to playing with the kids, people enjoy being out in the fresh air. With the change in season, however, come storms in North Carolina. Some experts are saying that strong winds and damaging rain can spread dangerous building materials for miles, putting people at risk for personal injury. Specifically, they say that residents cleaning up debris after a storm should be wary of asbestos exposure.

Many older buildings can suffer damage in the wake of a strong storm. As materials come loose and land in someone's backyard, the threat of asbestos exposure spreads. Many of these older buildings contain the toxic fiber in their materials. Shingles, floor titles, pipe insulations and cement may contain asbestos, so caution should be taken when handling them.

When materials that contain asbestos are disturbed, the fibers can be released into the air. People who ingest or inhale high levels of asbestos can end up developing serious lung diseases such as mesothelioma.

There are several suggestions that are given for cleaning up debris that may contain asbestos. First, making sure the debris is doused with water may help reduce the amount of dust that is released into the air. When the material is ready to be disposed of, it should be covered to protect it during transportation to a disposal site. Strict disposal regulations must be followed, but essentially no one should ever burn asbestos-containing products. This only releases the fiber into the air. Not only is this dangerous, but it is illegal.

In general, people want to take care to remove hazardous debris safely. For the most part, certified removal companies should be responsible for handling and removing toxic materials. During the stormy season ahead, it is important to keep people safe from the risks associated with asbestos exposure. Those who are victims of mesothelioma or other asbestos-related lung diseases may want to consider pursuing financial compensation from any company or person who has been negligent with asbestos.

Source: Lex18, "State Agencies Warn Against Asbestos Risks During Clean-Up Of Storm Debris," March 29, 2012

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