Potentially hazardous asbestos was discovered during a routine inspection of a former jail in Parkersburg, West Virginia.
The asbestos turned up during an inspection of the building before its demolition as required by state law, according to the Parkersburg News and Sentinel. The inspection revealed asbestos in the floor tiles and the likely presence of asbestos in the building’s mastic, an adhesive used in floor and wall tiles.
Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that is both durable and resistant to heat. Prior to the 1980s it was often used in insulation, tiles, and other building materials. However, asbestos exposure can be deadly. If asbestos is disturbed, microscopic fibers are released into the air and can be inhaled.
Inhaling asbestos fibers that have become airborne may cause mesothelioma, a rare and incurable cancer. However, it typically takes decades after exposure to asbestos for symptoms of mesothelioma to appear. There are 3,200 cases of mesothelioma diagnosed each year in the U.S.
The former jail was built in the 1970s, so city officials anticipated that asbestos removal would be required. According to the Parkersburg News and Sentinel, Empire Builders was chosen to remove asbestos from the site at a cost of $11,700, and then to demolish the building at a cost of $25,400.
When dealing with asbestos, it is important to hire a contractor who specializes in its removal. Under both state law and the federal Clean Air Act, workers handling asbestos-containing materials must be properly trained and licensed. The materials that contain asbestos also must be wetted down to prevent asbestos fibers from becoming airborne during removal. The asbestos-containing material must be sealed in leak proof containers, marked with warning labels, and transported to a state approved asbestos disposal facility.
If you or a loved one has been exposed to asbestos and later diagnosed with mesothelioma or another asbestos-related illness, you may be eligible for financial compensation. Contact Sokolove Law for a free consultation.