When renovations at the Bourbonnais (Illinois) Terrace Nursing Home released asbestos dust, residents found themselves looking for other accommodations after the Illinois Department of Public Health closed the facility. Currently, the former Bourbonnais residents are living in temporary shelters at the Kankakee County Fairgrounds with little word on when they can return to the nursing home. The Illinois Department of Public Health will have to conduct testing and removal of the asbestos until levels of asbestos in the air are reduced to safe levels. A timetable on when the residents will be able to return is unavailable.
Exposure to asbestos dust and fibers has been linked to damage to the lungs, and inhalation of it is the only known cause of mesothelioma . The very young with their smaller lungs and the very old who have already accumulated a lifetime of potential lung damage are especially at risk for asbestos-related diseases such as a scarring of the lungs known as asbestosis , which can be a predictor of future development of even more dangerous lung diseases. For many years, asbestos was a common building material and was used in many different aspects of construction such as ceiling and floor tiles, insulation, and construction glue. If left intact, the asbestos poses little threat, but if a material containing asbestos is cut, broken, or otherwise disturbed, it can release asbestos fibers and dust into the air, putting everyone in the area at risk. The removal of the floor tiles at the Bourbonnais Nursing Home released asbestos into the ventilation system, which spread the toxin throughout the facility, leading to its closing.