Steam pipe explosion in NYC covers city in cloud of asbestos

26 Jul 2018 by under News

steam pipe explosion NYC image by Con Edison 100x100 Steam pipe explosion in NYC covers city in cloud of asbestosThe cleanup continues a week after an 86-year-old, asbestos-coated steam pipe burst in the heart of New York City on July 19, blowing a 15-foot crater in Fifth Avenue and covering the area in a cloud of toxic steam. Many residents and workers remain displaced and have expressed concern about returning to the area for fear what exposure to the carcinogenic mineral will do to their health.

Crews have washed the exteriors of all the buildings in the three-block “hot zone,” and the area along Fifth Avenue from 19th Street to 22nd Street remains closed to pedestrian traffic. The cleanup will continue for at least a few more days as crews assess buildings for in the debris left behind by the blast, the Emergency Management Department says.

More than 500 people were evacuated from 49 buildings in the area, 28 of which are considered in the “hot zone,” the area most likely contaminated with asbestos. The buildings include retail space, office buildings and apartments or condominiums.

Asbestos is a carcinogenic mineral. Because of its resistance to fire, it was widely used in building materials and used insulation in buildings as well as steam pipes that run underground in many cities.

Asbestos poses little risk if left undisturbed. But if the microscopic fibers become airborne and are inhaled or swallowed, they can lodge in the lining of the lungs or other organs and lead to , a rare but deadly form of cancer.

Mesothelioma can take as much as five decades after asbestos exposure to develop. The disease typically proves deadly within 12 to 24 months after diagnosis.

New York Times
Beasley Allen

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