The snow-covered slopes of the Rocky Mountains may seem like a long way from North Carolina, but a recent citation issued by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) shows that the hazard from exposure to asbestos-containing products can appear just about anywhere.
In January 2014, a developer purchased a tract of land in Eagle, Idaho, northwest of Boise, with plans to develop a ski and snowboard park. The developer hired a consultant to inspect the existing buildings for asbestos. The consultant found asbestos materials were present and made a bid to remove the materials prior to demolition. The developer rejected the bid and demolished the buildings without first removing the asbestos-containing products that had been found by the consultant.
Because the asbestos had not been removed prior to demolition of the buildings, the debris contained large amounts of asbestos fibers. The EPA began an investigation of the demolition after receiving a public complaint. Pursuant to the EPA citation, the developer must take steps to prevent the spread of dust from the contaminated debris and clean up the debris pursuant to state and federal regulations.
This case demonstrates once again that asbestos still poses a serious environmental hazard. The mineral was used for fireproofing and insulation in many buildings that are still standing. Whenever one of these buildings is razed or renovated, the asbestos must first be removed. Anyone who believes that her or she may be a victim of asbestos product exposure should consult a physician to determine if they are at risk for developing an asbestos-related disease such asbestosis or mesothelioma. Anyone who receives a positive diagnosis may wish to seek legal advice to determine if damages can be recovered.
Source: Environmental Protection Agency, EPA: Boise-based ski and snowboard park developer required to properly clean up asbestos to protect workers and area residents,” Mark MacIntyre, April 13, 2015