North Carolina residents may be interested to learn that the renovation of the 156-year-old Davidson County Courthouse in Lexington, North Carolina, once again emphasizes the continuing hazard posed by the presence of asbestos-containing products in older buildings. The hazard is especially acute in states such as North Carolina, where many abandoned or obsolete industrial buildings are being examined for possible renovation and re-use.
As part of a general renovation of the Courthouse, damaged or deteriorated portions of the stucco were removed. Examination of the stucco showed that it contained asbestos fibers, and that discovery meant that all of the original stucco required removal and replacement. As the old stucco cracks or breaks away from the wall, asbestos fibers are released into the air.
Many cities in North Carolina have similar buildings where asbestos-containing products were used in the original construction and in repairs over the years. Such buildings cannot be safely used or remodeled until all of the asbestos has been removed.
The health hazard posed by asbestos product exposure in older buildings is not a small one. Inhaling even a small amount of asbestos fibers can lead to mesothelioma, asbestosis and other asbestos-related illnesses. Many of the persons who worked in those buildings face exposure to fibers containing asbestos, and these persons, especially those who worked on construction or renovation of the buildings, are known to have a high risk for development of asbestosis or mesothelioma. While there are no reports of any sickness being attributed to the Davidson County Courthouse, the dangers of asbestos are still well documented.
Fortunately, persons made ill due to asbestos do have legal options. They could pursue a claim in order to seek recovery for medical expenses, pain and suffering and other damages stemming from their illness. Doing so could go a long way in helping people made ill by asbestos move forward with their lives.