Imagine you bring your child to the park. You watch them climb on the playground and run around the baseball fields nearby, making sure they are safe.
However, kids can be mischievous and get into dangerous spaces in the span of just a few seconds. And they could wind up playing with or near toxic materials when other parties do not dispose of them properly. Such was the concern for one woman who recently discovered asbestos-containing materials dumped illegally near a baseball field.
Digging deeper gets messy
Sources report that the field was overgrown with brush and trees. A councilwoman urged the city to clean up the park so that it was more enjoyable.
However, once they started clearing the growth, the crews discovered it had been concealing garbage, discarded electronics and more than six truckloads of trash.
They removed much of the waste but left construction bags behind, partially burying them rather than move them. And they left some downed trees and other debris behind.
The councilwoman grew frustrated with the incomplete job and suspected the construction materials were more dangerous than others realized. She took a sample and had it tested for asbestos: it was positive for chrysotile asbestos.
Properly disposing of asbestos
The source of the initial illegal dumping of the materials is not reported, but it became their responsibility to remove it because it was on city property. And partially covering it was not sufficient.
When asbestos materials are handled or disturbed, the fibers are released into the air. Anyone nearby can breathe them in, which can contribute to or cause severe conditions, including mesothelioma. To properly abate asbestos, parties must either cover it up entirely or remove it according to federal regulations.
Since the councilwoman received the positive test, the city has hired an abatement firm and cordoned off the area. Hopefully, these efforts will mean the hazardous materials will no longer put children and others in the park in danger.