Last week, a steam pipe ruptured in Boston’s South End, sending asphalt and asbestos-containing debris into the air and showering city blocks with a layer of toxic dust. While air quality tests indicated that there was no immediate danger to local residents, workers in hazardous materials suits were dispatched to the scene to hose down cars and trees coated with the dust and properly dispose of the material.
It’s not every day that you have mass asbestos exposure in your backyard (Ban Asbestos Now! is based in Sokolove Law’s offices in nearby Wellesley, MA) so we decided to go down to the area and check it out. Unsurprisingly, haz-mat teams were still on the scene, which resembled the site of a nuclear explosion more than a neighborhood.
Shockingly, this is the third time since 2007 that a steam pipe has ruptured in Boston and put people at risk of being exposed to asbestos. What’s worse, this Boston Globe article reports that 90% of Boston’s underground steam pipes are covered in asbestos insulation, and that many of the nearby residents and storeowners affected were “surprised there’s still asbestos in those pipes.”
At the end of the day, no one was immediately harmed by the incident, but the accident nonetheless serves as a troubling reminder of the widespread use of asbestos in this country and the dangers it presents. Clearly, many people aren’t aware of some of the hazards around them, and until Congress hears our calls for a BAN!, our country’s asbestos problem will only grow.