A grant of $3 million was awarded to begin the revitalization of the Fiberglas tower in Toledo, Ohio, starting with removing the deadly asbestos inside. Toledo had the Clean Ohio Council unanimously approve the grant for the asbestos abatement of the long abandoned tower. The money came from the Clean Ohio Revitalization Fund and will be used to remove the asbestos, which was sprayed onto the concrete floors in order to fireproof them. While the original intent of the Clean Ohio Revitalization Fund is to clean up unused commercial and industrial sites, the Clean Ohio Council feels that funding the cleanup of toxic asbestos from an abandoned building fits well into the environmental concerns of the fund. Asbestos was a common insulation and fireproofing material used in the twentieth century until the 1980s. By that time, the hazards of its use became known to the public, and legislation to limit and eventually ban its use was instated.
Asbestos is now a banned substance in new constructions, and its removal from pre-existing buildings must be done according to a strict code. Regulations set by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) require only licensed asbestos removal contractors to work around the material, and they must wear protective gear and take precautions to avoid environmental contamination during their work. The care taken around asbestos might seem like overkill to some, but those people are often not aware of the consequences of being exposed to asbestos. Inhalation of asbestos fibers or particles has been linked to several diseases, such as lung cancer and asbestosis . Mesothelioma , a deadly cancer of the tissue lining the lungs and other body cavities, is almost always caused by exposure to asbestos . Future plans for the former Fiberglas Tower include renovating it to include a 96-room hotel, condominiums, offices, and restaurants. The new owner of the building, the Eyde Company, has agreed to match the $3 million grant with $1 million of its own to be put into the building’s renovations. Overall, the Eyde Co. estimates that $35 million will be invested into the building.