Greensboro, North Carolina’s War Memorial Auditorium is contaminated with asbestos. Slated to be demolished, city employees and contractors may have been exposed to asbestos fibers while working towards the building’s demolition.
According to the News & Record, the asbestos may have started earlier this year in August, and has now become a focal point of an investigation being carried out by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The investigation is slated to be completed by next week.
“One of our staff members went through in August and identified that there may be some asbestos,” Donnie Turlington, spokesperson for the city of Greenboro said. “At the same time, right after the building closed, they also went through the auction process — seats, getting seats and furniture out of there. A scrap company agreed to take out a lot of things. In the process of the scrappers going in to pull out the stuff, they disturbed some of the asbestos.”
According to Turlington, it was simply a case of miscommunication that led to the asbestos being disturbed. The scrap workers continued to work on the auditorium even after word that asbestos was present.
On Oct. 13, work was halted after construction project manager Brandon Hill sent an email to the city, describing the asbestos problem.
“What we found was the worst case scenario of what we tried to warn staff about in August,” the email read. By allowing the scrappers and everyone else to come into the building before it was abated has caused a rather large issue. No one should be allowed in the building from this point on. Anyone working in the building should be removed. The doors are to be covered with plywood and taped. No one should enter the building.”
Currently, no one knows how many people have been affected by asbestos exposure. Officials estimate, however, that the numbers are around 6 or less people.
Per Turlington, Greensboro city officials were unaware of the problem. In fact, they were only notified this week.
“We’ve actually got some information that’s going out to the council now,” said Turlington. “The city manager’s office is getting their hands down into it now. It’s just one of those things where we were trying to get the facts and details together.”
Asbestos is Extremely Dangerous
Asbestos, although a naturally-occurring mineral, has been linked to life-threatening illnesses such as mesothelioma, asbestos-related lung cancer, and asbestosis. Once someone inhales tiny asbestos fibers, they usually have no idea, as the fibers are odorless and undetectable.
Over time, the fibers, which cannot completely dispel from the body, start to attack the area around the lungs and/or the abdominal or other areas of the body. It’s important to seek medical assistance as soon as possible if you think you’ve been exposed to asbestos.
Along with older buildings containing asbestos, it can also be found in old furnaces, equipment, machinery, and a myriad of older products. In the late 1970s, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) placed strict regulations on the use of asbestos, although it’s still legal to use (in small amounts) in some products.
If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with an asbestos illness, you may be eligible for significant compensation. For more than 20 years, we’ve been assisting people in find the best mesothelioma attorneys. Contact our leading mesothelioma attorneys today for a no-obligation, confidential case consultation.