The dangers of asbestos have been known for several years. We know that being exposed to asbestos can cause devastating and permanent damage to a person’s health, as it is linked to lung cancer and mesothelioma. But residents of an apartment complex are also learning that exposure to asbestos can also result in other upsetting damages.
The residents were shocked when they were informed by management that asbestos had been found in the building. Normally, people would expect that they would be given the time to pack up and arrange for new place to stay temporarily until the asbestos has been removed. But in this case, the threat of exposure was apparently so acute that the residents were told they had just a matter of hours to pack a few things and leave. They did not learn until later that they would not be allowed back in the building and would never be able to get back some of their belongings.
The managers of the property have been keeping quiet about the details of the sudden evacuation. What is known, however, is that asbestos was identified during a construction project. And it is likely that the residents have could have been breathing in toxic dust for quite some time. In fact, the asbestos could have been covering couches, bedding, clothing and other so-called “soft items,” which apartment managers have said will all be destroyed.
Reports indicate that the owners of the complex are working to refund rent and figure out how to reimburse residents for items that were left behind or destroyed. However, the real concern for many of the people who were evacuated is their health. How long wasbestos in their apartments? How much asbestos was there? Once these questions are answered, residents may need to consider getting medical treatment and speaking with an attorney to explore their options for holding the property owners accountable for all the damages that have been suffered as a result of this event.
Source: KUSA, “Asbestos permanently forces out residents, belongings contaminated,” Lindsay Watts, March 9, 2014