Blog Archives

Dig carefully, Fairfax. Area of asbestos-containing rock is expanding

By Michael Neibauer, http://www.bizjournals.com

fairfaxcountyWhen most people hear asbestos, they probably think of the toxic, fibrous mineral once commonly found in construction, insulation and fireproofing materials.

When Fairfax County builders hear asbestos, they may think deeper — as in two to three feet beneath their feet.

Roughly 10.5 square miles of the county, 2.5 percent of its total size, contain “problem soils” that may include naturally occurring asbestos, specifically actinolite and tremolite minerals. It is found along the Piney Branch Complex, a vein of bedrock locally known as greenstone for its green or blue-green hue.

And the area of problem soils is getting larger.

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors has scheduled an Oct. 15 public hearing to consider an amendment to the 2011 county soils map that will increase the potential area of naturally occurring asbestos from 10.53 to 10.67 miles. It is a slight increase, based on field work by the Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District, but it is one that all developers must be aware of, as it will affect how they proceed with construction projects. Read more

Asbestos fears follow in the wake of cyclone Christine

By Leanne Nicholson, http://www.watoday.com.au

cyclone asbestosThe cyclonic winds and pelting rain may have passed by Western Australia’s Pilbara and Kimberley regions, however, ex-tropical cyclone Christine has exposed a fresh yet familiar danger for residents to contend with.

Asbestos in buildings, fencing and other building products dislodged or damaged during the wild weather now pose an additional health risk to Pilbara residents if they are exposed to the cancer-causing material.

Slater and Gordon asbestos lawyer Laine McDonald issued the warning to residents of the risks of asbestos exposure during the cleaning up of properties, homes and businesses battered by Christine.

“Once asbestos is disturbed, it can pose a real danger to health,” Ms McDonald said.

Advertisement

“Residents who are returning to their homes and businesses could be at risk of exposure, especially if they start cleaning up without the right protection.

“While it’s difficult to tell if a structure contains asbestos, if it was built in the mid-1980s – the time when this common building product was phased out – you assume there’s a risk.”

It’s believe about 600 Australian are diagnosed with mesothelioma each year.

Asbestos was commonly used as a construction material throughout the Pilbara.

It was mined in Wittenoom, 1100 kilometres north-east of Perth in the Pilbara, before the town was evacuated and essentially wiped off the map by authorities.

“Asbestos products damaged by severe storms like cyclone Christine can release a very dangerous dust which, once breathed in, can cause mesothelioma, lung cancer and other serious illnesses,” Ms McDonald said.

“Each year around 250 Western Australians die from asbestos-related diseases, with a lag of about 30-40 years between exposure and diagnosis of an illness.

“Asbestos products are still in our homes, businesses and communities more than 40 years after the Wittenoom mine closed, so it’s a hazard that continues to confront us all.”

Despite the category three cyclone coming within about 100 kilometres of the Town of Port Hedland, mayor Kelly Howlett said the district had escaped with minor damage, mostly to the area’s natural landscape.

“We’ve got a lot of cleaning up to do but we were very fortunate,” Cr Howlett said.

“We’ve not seen any bad structural damage, just a few trees down, a lot of sand swept up from the beach and a bit of flooding.”

Cr Howlett said new and updated property development in the region had reduced the number of buildings containing asbestos. Read More

Toxic soil found next to Providence park

By,  Walt Buteau, http://www.wpri.com/

Photo via EPA.gov

Photo via EPA.gov

The Department of Environmental Management ordered a Providence LLC to remove soil from land next to a park on Valley Street after a DEM inspection found the soil ‘contains hazardous substances’ including lead and arsenic.

Documents show the soil was hauled from a piece of property that was purchased with a $620,000 taxpayer funded loan from the embattled Providence Economic Development Partnership.

In the letter, the company was told the contaminated soil “shall be taken offsite for disposal at a facility that is licensed to receive contaminated soil”.

In December, an eyewitness who asked to remain anonymous, told Target 12 he saw “6 hours of digging” at the Valley Street location on November 27. He reported seeing dozens of loads of soil hauled away and dumped in the wooded area that abuts Donigian Park and playground. That wooded area is part of the 5 acre 100 Amherst Street lot.

The DEM confirmed last December that the agency was investigating a complaint that soil was removed from  181 Valley Street. A clean up plan for the property indicates the soil contains “arsenic, lead, poly-nuclear aromatic hydrocarbon and total petroleum hydrocarbons”. Read More

 

Budget cuts put US kids at elevated risk of lead poisoning

By Brett Wilkins, http://digitaljournal.com

At a time when hundreds of thousands of US children are suffering from lead poisoning, budget cuts mean there are fewer resources available to deal with the problem.
Earlier this month, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimated that more than 500,000 US children are believed to have lead poisoning. One out of every 38 children are believed to suffer from the debilitating and potentially deadly ailment, and the poor are disproportionately affected.
Children often get lead poisoning from living in old homes in which lead paint was used. Contaminated soil and drinking water and industrial lead dust also sicken children, who breathe or swallow lead particles. The heavy metal can damage children’s brains, kidneys, and other organs. Elevated levels of lead in the blood can lead to reduced intelligence, hearing impairment and behavioral and other problems.

Read more: http://digitaljournal.com/article/349098#ixzz2SXRnA8YP