Officials from the Minnesota Department of Health and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) are keeping a close watch on demolition and cleanup efforts at a school destroyed by fire in June. The nearly 95-year-old building, Roosevelt Education Center, is believed to contain a large amount of friable asbestos.
Friable asbestos can be easily crushed by hand, which releases microscopic asbestos fibers. When these fibers are inhaled or ingested, they may lead to the development of asbestos diseases including asbestosis, a severe scarring of the lungs, or mesothelioma, a deadly form of cancer. Mesothelioma most often affects the lining of the lungs or abdomen, but it may also affect the lining of the heart. There is no known cure for mesothelioma. Experts say there is no safe level of exposure to asbestos.
Bruce Lange, an Industrial Hygienist 3 with the department of health told the St. Cloud Times the amount of asbestos-containing tile in the building’s rubble most likely exceeds the department’s threshold for allowable levels.
Mike Adair, who is president of the company overseeing the demolition and cleanup project, Legacy Services Corp., told the St. Cloud Times the state health department is required to oversee demolition and clean-up projects where there is “at least 160 square feet, 260 linear feet, or 35 cubic feet of friable asbestos-containing material being removed.”
Due to the health hazards associated with asbestos exposure, demolition, renovation and disposal is closely regulated in order to protect both workers and the public. Commercial projects that require asbestos abatement must use contractors specially licensed to handle and dispose of the hazardous material. Legacy is not qualified for asbestos abatement, so it has subcontracted that part of the project to a contractor, Twell Environmental, Inc.
Debris from the demolition and cleanup will go to a special landfill qualified by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to handle hazardous waste. Adair says other debris also will go to that landfill to minimize any risk of contamination. Removal is scheduled to begin in August.
Source: St. Cloud Times