On December 14, 2011, the Inspector General of the EPA, Arthur Elkins, Jr., issued an Early Warning Report regarding the use of unapproved asbestos demolition methods. According to the report, “Asbestos is a human carcinogen with no safe level of exposure. Asbestos exposure can lead to serious diseases such as asbestosis, lung cancer and mesothelioma.”
Because of the health hazards posed by asbestos, the EPA issued standards several decades ago to help prevent such asbestos-related diseases. More recently, the EPA began to consider alternative methods of handling asbestos in buildings to be demolished. While these alternative methods were being investigated, but prior to their approval, the EPA allowed these alternative methods to be used at multiple sites.
The recently-released Early Warning Report states that “the current and proposed use of unapproved methods may jeopardize the health and safety of the public.” Experiments of one of these alternative methods resulted in asbestos fiber releases.
The Early Warning Report directs the EPA to immediately and clearly communicate the approved standards to its regional and field offices to prevent potentially hazardous asbestos exposure. The Early Warning Report further directs the EPA to warn the public and any workers who were present of their potential asbestos exposure.
As discussed in the EPA’s report, asbestos exposure can lead to many serious diseases, including mesothelioma. If you or a loved one suffer from an asbestos related disease and would like to investigate a potential case, please call us at 1-800-374-2144 or contact us through email.