“Wet” demolition method may threaten health and safety

We have recently discussed a number of developments in the removal of asbestos, such as pipe bursting. Business and property owners are aware of the danger that can be caused by exposure to asbestos, so removal of the fiber must be done responsibly. Since the removal can be quite costly, some business owners look to new methods to save some money. However, the newer methods of removal are frequently unsuccessful. A process called the “wet” method is no exception.

In 2007, a demolition experiment was approved by the Environmental Protection Agency in Texas. Prior to this experiment, construction crews had to remove the asbestos from a building before it could be demolished. With the proposed method, the building would be soaked with soapy water. The walls and ceilings would be covered to keep fibers from being released into the air. Then the building was demolished.

The method was supposed to save money and give more protection to workers who could stand several yards away while covering the building in the foamy water.

However, it was recently discovered that similar experiments showed that asbestos fiber had indeed been released, exposing crews. According to some reports, these tests did not comply with safety or health standards and therefore put employees and demolition workers in danger.

According to a federal report, workers who took part in the 2007 experiment or live in the Texas area should be notified immediately that they may have been exposed to asbestos back when the building was destroyed.

It is known that exposure to asbestos can cause serious diseases because it is a human carcinogen. A person who has been exposed to the toxic fiber may develop asbestosis, lung cancer or mesothelioma.

Source: Star-Telegram, “Study: Asbestos removal may have endangered workers, public in Fort Worth,” Dec. 18, 2011