Workplace Asbestos Exposure: Demolition Sites
An estimated 1.3 million workers experience asbestos exposure at work. Still, demolition site workers face the biggest asbestos exposure risk because demolition sites contain a thick fog of asbestos fibers that workers are forced to inhale. Asbestos exposure at demolition sites can cause severe and fatal diseases, such as:
- mesothelioma (a rare cancer that affects the lining surrounding the lungs)
- asbestosis (a respiratory disorder caused by lung tissue scarring)
- lung cancer
- esophageal, stomach, colon, or rectum cancer
Asbestos is a naturally occurring fibrous mineral that was widely used in the United States until the 1980s. In the 1980s, it became public knowledge that asbestos is dangerous when inhaled. When asbestos fibers are inhaled, they remain lodged in the lungs and the body’s immune system cannot destroy them. As a result, inflammation and scarring occurs, which can then lead to other, more serious conditions.
Asbestos exposure is extremely high at demolition sites because nearly all buildings contain asbestos. When buildings containing asbestos are demolished, the air at demolition sites becomes clouded with toxic asbestos fibers, which can be inhaled by demolition site workers.
Regulations on Workplace Asbestos Exposure at Demolition Sites
In 1970, Congress passed the Clean Air Act, which granted the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) the power to enforce regulations to protect the public from hazardous airborne contaminates. In 1973, the EPA established the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) to regulate asbestos exposure at demolition sites.
The NESHAP require building owners and demolition site operators to take certain actions before demolishing a building. Owners and demolition site operators must give the EPA and state or local authorities 10 days notice before operating a demolition site. Additionally, NESHAP requires building owners and demolition site operators to remove all asbestos containing materials from buildings before they are demolished.
Injured from Working at a Demolition Site?
If you or a loved one has been exposed to asbestos while working at a demolition site and diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease, please contact us today as you may be entitled to compensation.