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Demolition health risks could be far-reaching

Most construction workers understand there are risks associated with their jobs. Falling, getting crushed by equipment or burned in an explosion may be common concerns.

However, it is possible that when you work on a demolition project, you do not suspect it will increase your risk of developing cancer. Though, considering the amount of asbestos formerly used to manufacture construction materials, demolition could turn fatal. In some cases, this could harm those who are uninvolved.

Alleged improper disposal of carcinogenic building materials

A licensed environmental contractor based in Pennsylvania recently worked on the demolition of a former General Motors (GM) plant in Delaware. However, the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) determined they did not safely remove the asbestos-laden materials.

Rather, the DNREC alleges the company violated emissions standards by releasing visible amounts of particulates into the air. As a result, the foreman and involved asbestos company, EcoServices, LLC, each received a $20,000 fine. They also face an additional $13,000 fine to pay for the expense of the investigation.

OSHA regulations for toxic substances

According to the current owner of the plant, air quality "never surpassed unsafe levels." Yet, asbestos is a known cause of cancer. And the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulates asbestos exposure.

Some of these regulations include:

  • Warning signs
  • Respirator use
  • Frequent chest x-rays

Following safety procedures can minimize an employee's risk of developing mesothelioma while working with contaminated materials. However, asbestos particles could also affect people who live near demolition areas.

Despite OSHA regulations, construction workers could develop mesothelioma. And the wellness of those who did not intentionally accept a health risk could suffer as well.

It may be too soon to say how the situation involving the former GM plant will unfold. However, if a company's negligent handling of asbestos affects your health, you may want to explore your options.

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