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Library demolition may cause widespread asbestos exposure

Despite its once prevalent use in construction, most people in South Carolina now understand just how dangerous asbestos is. As such, communities have an understandable right to be concerned when they learn of a potential source of asbestos exposure or contamination. For one community in a different state, there are mounting worries in regard to the demolition of an old library.

Demolition began on the closed library on Dec. 3, 2018, although it was starkly opposed by members of the community. The building contained asbestos in several different areas, including in the floors, roof and fireproofing materials. The original plan was to have a crew carefully remove the asbestos before demolition, but it ended up being condemned back in September, and officials determined it would not be safe for workers to remove the asbestos.

Demolition plans switched to a controlled abatement, which alarmed many people in the community. This process involves continuously spraying the work site with water to prevent any airborne asbestos contamination. However, this leads to contaminated water that workers must contain and filter; otherwise they risk contaminating nearby soil or groundwater.

Unfortunately, even when South Carolina communities raise serious and valid concerns, their opinions are often disregarded. When dangerous demolitions result in asbestos exposure, it is those nearby communities that often suffer the hardest hits. It is important for potential victims to keep rigorous notes and records of any ill health effects they experience after an exposure. Doing so may come in handy if they develop any of the number of related diseases years down the road.

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