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DALLAS–(November 5, 2012) – As recovery begins in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, the issue of asbestos exposure from demolished homes is gaining national attention. Asbestos was widely used through the mid 1970s in residential and commercial construction, even when asbestos’ link to cancer was known. Though asbestos is harmless when left undisturbed, the wide destruction of a natural disaster like Hurricane Sandy can lead to the release of asbestos fibers. Once inhaled or ingested, the fibers can become lodged in the lungs or abdomen and, decades later, cause mesothelioma or another asbestos disease.
The Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO), an independent non-profit dedicated to banning asbestos and raising public awareness, has taken the lead in warning people about the dangers of asbestos in the cleanup process and was recently quoted in the Huffington Post. Read ADAO’s blog Asbestos: EPA Information about “Dealing with Debris and Damaged Buildings” for more information on how to stay safe during the cleanup.
“Although I’m happy that people are paying attention to the dangerous effects of asbestos, it’s unfortunate that it took a natural disaster as devastating as Hurricane Sandy to bring the issue to the forefront,” said Linda Reinstein, mesothelioma widow and co-founder of ADAO. “I hope the renewed national awareness about asbestos leads to a national ban on this terrible carcinogen.”
An estimated 2,600 tons of asbestos debris were removed after the 2011 tornado in Joplin, Mo. The amount of asbestos released by Hurricane Sandy is yet to be determined.
The use of asbestos is still not banned in the United States. A 2012 U.S. Geological Survey reported a 13 percent increase in “asbestos consumption” in the U.S. from 2010 to 2011, for a total of 1,180 tons. Forty-one percent of that asbestos ended up in roof products.
To find out what you can do to help support the ban on asbestos, visit here.
To donate to the relief efforts of Hurricane Sandy, visit here.
Baron and Budd is a supporter of the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO) and an advocate of a ban on asbestos.