Asbestos tiles discovered during Autauga County Courthouse renovation

3 Oct 2014 by under News

200px asbestos warning 150x150 Asbestos tiles discovered during Autauga County Courthouse renovation County, Ala., officials have confirmed that asbestos floor tiles were found during the renovation of the Autauga County Courthouse.

“We didn’t know the tiles were there,” said Steve Golsan, the county administrator. “Our contractor informed us, and another contractor who is licensed and specializes in asbestos removal was called in to properly remove and dispose of the tiles. All precautions are being taken to contain the asbestos.”

The dangerous tiles were found underneath dated carpet that was being removed in one of the circuit clerk’s offices. Shortly after the discovery on Tuesday, construction crews put up the warning sign listing the dangers of asbestos exposure. Asbestos is not dangerous if left intact, but when it is broken or crushed, as in renovation projects, it can release microscopic fibers that can be inhaled or ingested. This type of exposure can lead to the development of mesothelioma, a deadly cancer that affects the lining of the lungs, abdomen or, sometimes, the heart. There is no known cure for mesothelioma. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s website says that if the asbestos is in good enough condition, leave it alone.

“You hear asbestos, and it just startles you,” Paulene Webb, a woman who recently had business in courthouse Tuesday told the Advertiser. “I don’t know why they didn’t close the courthouse until this gets fixed.”

The workers hired to remove the tiles completed the job in about four hours. Due to the age of the building, with original construction in the early 1900s and a newer wing added in the 1960s, there are likely more asbestos floor tiles underneath the building’s carpeting. Asbestos was widely used in building materials like the floor tiles as well as shingles and ceiling plaster for fire protection, and in insulation, up until the 1970s. Even today, asbestos is not completely banned in the U.S.  However, Golsan says there are no current plans to remove any additional tile.

“From what I understand, as long as it it covered and in good shape, it’s not a danger,” Golsan said. “We have carpets in the offices that are covering those tiles.”

Because it is a threat to public health and worker safety, asbestos handling, removal and disposal is strictly regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA). Asbestos must be removed by a licensed asbestos abatement contractor, and properly disposed of in a facility licensed to handle the toxic debris.

Montgomery Advertiser


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