It’s jarring to think about it now, but there was a time in the not-too-distant past where asbestos was an integral part to the structure of a building. The material had so many desirable traits: it was fire-resistant, it was strong, it was relatively cheap and it boasted a number of other favorable elements to building construction.
But since those early days, much has been learned about asbestos. Namely, it has become very clear that asbestos is incredibly dangerous, and that long-term exposure to asbestos — or the inhalation of the substance — can cause catastrophic medical conditions for any person.
While it’s great that we know this now (allowing us to be better prepared to identify people suffering from asbestos poisoning), the buildings that were made with asbestos are still out there today. When these building are taken down (or when they fall down or are razed otherwise) they pose a public safety risk. Even when they aren’t knocked down, there mere presence can cause people who work inside of them (over many years) to develop horrible medical conditions, such as lung cancer or mesothelioma.
Though it did happen here in North Carolina, take the case of a burned down warehouse that occurred recently in Indiana. The building was destroyed in August, but now there are signs all around the rubble that warn of asbestos and lung disease hazards. Were emergency responders warned of the asbestos threat before taking to the scene? What about people who worked at the warehouse before it burned down? If not, there could be some liability questions if people develop asbestos-related conditions.
Source: INC NOW, “Asbestos Found at Site of Massive Warehouse Blaze,” Stephanie Parkinson, Nov. 5, 2013