Pennsylvania high-rise found to contain asbestos during renovation

5 Aug 2013 by under News

Lee Parks Tower WNEP16 News 100x100 Pennsylvania high rise found to contain asbestos during renovationResidents of a Luzerne County, Penn., building have been temporarily relocated to other living facilities after renovation work on their building revealed the presence of asbestos. The building houses senior citizens and people with disabilities. Many of the apartments were already coated with dust from the renovation work before the residents were moved.

Officials of the Luzerne County Housing Authority, which is overseeing the renovations at the near Wilkes-Barre, Penn., say they are following all necessary safety precautions and that residents’ health is not in danger. They say air samples from the construction site are “good.”

The problem came to light when construction on the building’s roof caused dust particles to fall from ceilings on the sixth floor. An examination of ceiling tiles resulted in the discovery of “a low level of asbestos in the material,” project spokesman Joe Grady told WNEP-16 News.

While city officials say the site is safe, studies have shown that even very small exposures to asbestos, for a very short time, can be dangerous. Asbestos exposure is linked to the development of diseases including , a severe scarring of the lungs, and mesothelioma, a rare and deadly form of cancer. Mesothelioma affects the lining of the lungs or abdomen, or rarely the heart. There is no known cure for mesothelioma.

For years, asbestos was used in building construction, in insulation and as a fire retardant. When not disturbed, asbestos is not harmful. But when it is broken or otherwise disturbed – as it was in the Lee Park Towers when construction vibrations caused it to disintegrate – it can be inhaled or ingested. The microscopic particles may become embedded in the body’s tissues, causing mutation and mesothelioma cancer.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) have established guidelines for public and worker safety in dealing with asbestos.

Source: WNEP-16 News

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