When a developer proposed replacing seven city-blocks’ worth of rundown homes in the southern part of Kansas City with an $80-million retail project to be called Citadel Plaza, officials in our neighboring state were enthusiastic. The thrilling prospect of bustling redevelopment, however, has long since been replaced by the dismaying reality of 35 acres of new brownfields right in the city. Brownfields are parcels of land that can’t be developed because they’re contaminated, and Citadel Plaza is newly polluted with asbestos.
When people are diagnosed with mesothelioma, asbestos lung cancer or another asbestos-related illness, it often comes as a surprise. Cancers caused by the deadly fiber seem like something that only happened in the past, before most asbestos products were banned in the U.S. Surely people aren’t still being diagnosed with these illnesses today.
Gogebic Taconite, a subsidiary of Cline Resource and Development Group, has made preliminary steps toward the development of a $1.5-billion taconite, or iron ore, mine near Ashland, Wisconsin. The project had already sparked controversy over its possible environmental impact, because the local geology suggests the presence of sulfide rock. If released into local streams and wetlands, opponents say, it could harm waterways and downstream habitats.
For several years now, there has been an ongoing discussion about the air quality at May Whitney Elementary School in Lake Zurich, prompting the school to look into efforts to improve health safety for the children in the school. Although the school district’s longtime asbestos inspector had been leading the charge in removing potentially harmful materials from the school, recent disapproval of the inspector’s methods prompted a school board meeting recently.
To many people, asbestos might seem like a thing of the past. While thinking about its use might conjure thoughts about diseases that can develop from asbestos exposure -- such as mesothelioma -- most people might think that it is a problem that is unlikely to be encountered today. Unfortunately, this is simply not true.
For much of the last century, asbestos was heavily used in many fields with little regard for the health of those who came in contact with it. Today, however, the federal government, as well as most state and local governments, are taking decisive and firm action against individuals and employers that knowingly and recklessly subject their workers to asbestos exposure and the myriad of health issues that accompany it.
Two men are facing criminal charges for allegedly failing to properly dispose of asbestos during the demolition of a New Jersey hospital. Now, they could face up to 10 years in prison if convicted of the unlawful release of toxic pollutants or any of the other charges filed against them.
The United States Environmental Protection Agency recently filed a lawsuit against a contractor over claims that the company failed to remove toxic asbestos materials before demolishing a former gunpowder plant in New Jersey. According to the lawsuit, the company's failure to act is in violation of the Clean Air Act and the National Emission Standard for Hazardous Air Pollutants.
When a massive tornado hit Joplin, Missouri, earlier this year, it brought with it 200 mph winds. As the half-mile tornado tore through the town, it damaged more than 8,000 buildings destroyed, including homes, business, and other structures.
Earlier this month, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a warning, reminding government agencies that any exposure to asbestos can cause long-term health damage and harm to those who are exposed. "Asbestos is a human carcinogen with no safe level of exposure," reiterated EPA Inspector General Arthur A. Elkins Jr.