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Minnesota workers may be exposed to asbestos in building cleanup

The demolition of older buildings is not always as simple as the destruction and removal of materials. Buildings that are over a certain age may be more likely to contain asbestos, which can cause serious health complications over long-term exposure. Specific practices must be employed to ensure the safe removal of any asbestos-containing materials. The cleanup of an old Minnesota education center could expose employees to asbestos particles if the process is not handled safely.

The building in question is the Roosevelt Education Center, which was damaged beyond repair by a recent fire. Due to the building's age, there is likely a significant amount of asbestos in the tiles that used to comprise the school. The specific type of asbestos that is found in the debris can easily be broken and is likely to produce dust. Any workers who are removing the tile or other pieces of the school risk inhaling this asbestos dust and may be at risk to develop mesothelioma or other health problems.

Every worker who deals with this job site will be trained precisely on how to properly remove asbestos to minimize any inhalation or spread of the material. Both the Minnesota State Health Department and Pollution Control Agency will oversee the entire job. Though many residents are concerned that the site has been sitting untouched for several weeks and possibly contaminating the area, officials assure the public that with the recent rain the spread of particles to the surrounding neighborhood is unlikely. Yet it is worth noting that no existing regulations outline how an unattended job site with asbestos should be handled.

Mesothelioma and lung cancer are very serious ailments that often result in death for those who have them. Exposure to asbestos can be the cause of these types of sicknesses. If a Minnesota employee contracts lung cancer or mesothelioma due to exposure to asbestos, he or she may be able to pursue legal measures in the hopes of gaining financial restitution that could be helpful in covering medical expenses associated with their disease.

Source: kare11.com, "Asbestos complicates cleanup of school fire site", Marta Jewson, July 24, 2014

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