Pennsylvania is home to many of the oldest buildings in the nation. By the 1930s, Pennsylvania needed remodeling. Thanks to a miracle product called asbestos, much of the remodeling that took place from the 1930s to the 1980s was done cheaply and effectively. While asbestos was considered a jack-of-all trades in construction, it’s ban in 1978 revealed just how dangerous it can be.
Although great in construction, disturbed asbestos fibers enter the respiratory system and are the leading cause of a deadly cancer called mesothelioma. In May of 2018, an investigation into Philadelphia area schools revealed dangerous levels of asbestos fibers. Now, in addition to lead paint remediation, the School District will have to take on asbestos remediation. As many people have experienced first-hand, if not done properly, asbestos remediation can spread deadly fibers throughout the area.
5 ways remediation can go wrong
Some ways in which asbestos abatement can put workers and others at risk include:
- Construction area improperly sealed
- Poorly sealed bags
- Low-grade respirators
- Failure to use personal protective suits as instructed
- Failure to properly dampen material
Although the Philadelphia school district appeared to be off to a great start in safely removing asbestos, an incident at a Philly elementary school this past October has everyone shaken. In a letter to parents, the district explained that a facilities trainee noticed a loose strip of insulation hanging from an old steam pipe in a sixth-grade classroom. Instead of following proper protocol, the worker ripped it free, making a mess in the process, placed the debris in a garbage bag, carried it through the school before placing it in the trash. Two days passed before anyone found out.
Despite our knowledge of the dangers of asbestos, its removal continues to be problematic.