Bob Rooney, chief operating officer of Newton, Massachusetts, is asking the city’s Board of Alderman to approve the allocation of $3.9 million for the purposes of asbestos removal from the city’s former high school. The asbestos was found by workers on outside areas of the building in November and delayed the ongoing demolition for a month. The approval of the additional funds would bring the overall cost of the project to more than $11 million.
Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that, when disturbed, can create a dust known to cause health problems including asbestosis and mesothelioma. Before the public became aware of the potential health problems, asbestos was added to numerous construction products, including outdoor siding, for its resistance to fire, heat, friction, electrical, and chemical damage. Because asbestos poses such health risks, extra care must be taken in its removal from construction sites and ensuing disposal. Upon discovery of the asbestos, the city of Newton was required to develop an abatement plan, which was approved by the Department of Environmental Protection.
The discovery of the hazardous material was certainly a challenge to the demolition crew, but not entirely unforeseen, as many older buildings contain asbestos. Thankfully, the city, which expects the project to be completed by November 2011, has taken the proper precautions of daily air quality testing and workers outfitted in protective clothing and masks.
Have you or a loved one been exposed to asbestos or diagnosed with mesothelioma? A mesothelioma lawyer may be able to assist.