US News Roundup: Asbestos Contamination in the USA

In Joliet, Illinois, stores at the Marycrest Shopping Center have re-opened after a state inspector discovered that work crews doing renovations had improperly removed flooring which contained asbestos materials. The middle section of the Jefferson Street shopping area was closed down while tests were performed; shops in the east and west wings of the shopping center remained open. Business is still not back to normal; however, as the office area of the shopping center is still closed. The Illinois Department of Public Health allowed the storefronts to re-open once they were sealed off from the office area, which is where the asbestos contamination was actually discovered. It is not known when the offices will be allowed to re-open. In Hartford, Connecticut, an unknown person or persons dumped eighteen trash bags filled with asbestos-contaminated insulation on a city street. The Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection says they believe someone was probably trying to avoid the cost of properly disposing of asbestos-containing materials.

The eighteen bags were removed by the Department of Environmental Protection and taken to a secured landfill. It is not known whether anyone was actually exposed to the asbestos in the bags; “they were open to the public where anybody could have walked over the bags, stepped on the bags,” according to Department of Environmental Protection spokesman Brian Emanuelson, “so, basically the bags were open for anyone in the area to come in contact with.” Residents of the Hartford neighborhood where the bags were dumped expressed outrage. Nancy Walker of Hartford said, “we have a lot of children here growing up and if they were to be exposed to asbestos, we don’t know what the long term-effect could possibly be”. Neighbors also said that their neighborhood seems to be a target for this type of dumping vandalism. Two empty fields near the asbestos dump site have been used to discard furniture and dead animals. The Department of Environmental Protection is asking that anyone with information about the asbestos dumping incident call their hotline. The number is 860-424-3000.