Once considered a “wonder building material” because of its durability, low cost, and effectiveness at resisting fire, asbestos has been banned in new construction since 1989. The risk of developing mesothelioma, a type of cancer, after inhaling asbestos dust is so great that it outweighs the advantages of building with asbestos. Still, many asbestos-containing structures built between the late 19th century and the 1980s are still standing, and demolishing or renovating these buildings, which is inevitable, could lead to more workers being exposed to asbestos dust. Some of the major construction companies of the last century have had to pay so many settlements for mesothelioma lawsuits that they went bankrupt, but the threat of occupational exposure to asbestos dust has not gone away, as newly announced plans to renovate asbestos-containing structures at Louisiana State University shows.
LSU Plans Several Asbestos Removal Projects on its Campus
It is fair to assume that all the buildings on the Louisiana State University campus except the newest ones contain asbestos, because this is true of most buildings in the United States built before 1989, when asbestos was banned as a construction material. There is asbestos in the ceilings, floor tiles, pipes, and insulation of many old buildings on the LSU campus and elsewhere. According to a report in the LSU Reveille, the university plans to devote $725,000 to asbestos removal projects in the coming years. These are some of the areas on campus where asbestos removal projects are scheduled:
- Replacing flooring material and hallways in Woodin Hall, which will cost $125,000
- Removing the asbestos from 500 feet of Engineer Quad Steam Tunnel, which will cost $200,000
- Renovating the first floor of Troy H. Middleton Library, which will cost $400,000
Removing Asbestos Safely
Asbestos does not cause a threat to human health unless its dust is released into the air, which only happens when asbestos-containing materials are disturbed, such as when workers remove flooring tiles during renovation. According to Michael Hooks, director of the Office of Environmental Health and Safety at LSU, the university’s renovation projects will use the safest possible renovation methods to prevent exposing renovation workers and members of the university community to asbestos dust. The process involves building a temporary wall around the affected area and removing the asbestos through negative pressure, and then filtering the air before workers enter the area. Although these measures greatly reduce the number of asbestos fibers that become airborne, Hooks stated that the university will probably do the projects during the summer, when there are fewer students on campus. The university plans to hire third-party contractors to complete the renovation work.
Contact Patrick Yancey About Mesothelioma Cases
The increasingly safe methods of removing asbestos from buildings can prevent mesothelioma cases, but mesothelioma currently has no cure. If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma from occupational exposure to asbestos, a mesothelioma lawyer can help. Contact the Law Office of Patrick H. Yancey in Houma, Louisiana to see if you have grounds for a lawsuit.