Asbestos Causes Obscene Increase in ‘Low-Income’ Housing

It seems that there is never a problem so bad that unforeseen circumstances can’t make it worse. Although the United States of America is purportedly the wealthiest nation in the world, it also has one of the highest rates of poverty among industrial nations. Therefore, when any steps are taken to alleviate such poverty, it is cause for celebration. Count on asbestos to crash the party.
Recently, a low-income housing project in North Miami, Florida, was started. The area, called “Pioneer Gardens,” was expected to provide 136 units for low-income families and individuals. The site had been cleared earlier, and the contractor that had won the bid had started digging the foundation. What they found was once gold–to corporations such as W.R. Grace and Company and Johns-Manville. Apparently, the crews who had cleared the site earlier had run into and damaged a number of underground pipes–which had been covered with asbestos. Was the asbestos contamination reported to local environmental authorities? Apparently not; the crews had simply covered the contamination with dirt and left it for others to deal with. Now, the cost of the low-income housing project has increased by 400 percent. There is also the issue of local residents who have unknowingly been exposed to this vile and toxic substance. The asbestos in this case seems to have come from vermiculite, a highly useful and basically harmless form of clay. Most of the vermiculite in the U.S. was a product of W.R. Grace and Company mines in Libby, Montana, however–and was heavily contaminated with tremolite, an especially deadly form of amphibole asbestos. Amphibole asbestos, which also includes crocidolite (“blue” asbestos) and amosite (“brown” asbestos) has been demonstrated to be the sole cause of mesothelioma, an aggressive and virulent form of cancer than attacks the pleural and peritoneal linings. Mesothelioma has a latency period of as much as fifty years, meaning it can take that long for symptoms to appear after the victim has been exposed to asbestos. Those living in the immediate area of Pioneer Gardens should have medical examinations and contact an attorney to find out what their rights are as individuals exposed to asbestos.