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August 19, 2018

City of Chicago accused of hiding asbestos

CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) –

It was an underground surprise they hadn’t bargained for.

A southwest suburban contractor is suing the city claiming it hid dangerous asbestos buried under a construction site.

The site is now a police station on the near South Side at 14th and Blue Island.

The 12th District Chicago police station has been open for two years. However, the battle over what was discovered underground will rage on.

Fox 32: you call this an act of fraud?

“I did. And we do. We believe they fraudulently induced Harbour contractors to enter into the contract,” said attorney Charles Lewis.

Lewis represents Harbour contractors of southwest suburban Plainfield, which has filed a multi-million dollar lawsuit against the Public Building Commission of Chicago. That agency, which is headed by the mayor and made up of political appointees, is in charge of building and financing new construction for the city of Chicago and Cook County.

In 2010 the Public Building Commission, or “PBC,” awarded Harbour a 20-million dollar contract to build the new police station at 14th and Blue Island, on the site of the old ABLA public housing project.

The PBC said that the site had been inspected by an environmental company and nothing dangerous was found. But soon after construction began, a subcontractor employed by Harbour discovered underground heating pipes wrapped in cancer-causing asbestos running throughout the property.

Those pipes were installed in the 1930s and 40s to provide heat to the public housing buildings.

“You’ve got asbestos that has been dug up that is friable. It’s in the air,” Lewis said. “It creates safety hazards for Harbour’s people and the subcontractor’s people on the job site.”

The asbestos discovery also put the project on hold, which Harbour said cost them millions of dollars. As part of the lawsuit, Harbour filed to recover the funds. The company said it has uncovered evidence that the PBC knew about the asbestos, but ignored it.

Harbour alleges the agency instructed the environmental company inspecting the site to not dig test pits in areas where it knew there was asbestos.

In an email from 2011 included in the lawsuit, a PBC official refers to a drawing used “…to avoid the steam lines during test pitting activities.”

“Absolutely they were trying to hide this,” Lewis said. “Because it would cause tremendous delay to the project and additional cost.”

A PBC spokesperson said the agency categorically denies there was any attempt to hide the asbestos, saying it was a surprise to them, too, noting that a judge has dropped two of the fraud counts from the lawsuit.

The PBC said Harbour needs to file a claim under the contract to get any money it’s entitled to, and not file suit.

Harbour has helped build dozens of projects for the Public Building Commission, including the international terminal at O’Hare. But the company’s attorney says after this experience, no more.

“My client will never work for the Public Building Commission again. I’m sure there are a number of general contractors out there who won’t work for the public building commission again,” Lewis said.

The Public Building Commission paid for the asbestos removal at the site, but Harbour contends the delays cost it millions. The PBC concedes some of that, but said there were other cost overruns by Harbour that had nothing to do with the hazardous materials.

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City of Chicago accused of hiding asbestos

Asbestos at federal building was a surprise to electrician

Ottawa electrician Denis Lapointe says he was exposed to asbestos and other toxins at work for 16 years, and only recently learned the full extent of his potential exposure after filing access to information requests.

The 54-year-old licensed electrician and former public servant had a right to know he was working around hazardous substances.

Now he wonders how many other workers at the Canada Revenue Agency buildings at 875 Heron Rd. may have been inadvertently exposed to asbestos.

Lapointe worked for the CRA from 1992 to 2008 and over that time, the Heron Road taxation facility accommodated thousands of workers.

His job involved drilling and pulling wires through walls, floors and ceilings. He says since he didn’t know he could be disturbing asbestos all those years — his fellow workers wouldn’t have known either.

“I was exposed and I wasn’t properly protected, and here I was walking through this place, using air hoses and whatnot and blowing it to other people, so I have a conscience…That eats me up,” says Lapointe.

Lapointe has obtained documents that show the asbestos contamination was and continues to be present on all floors of the building where he worked. Lapointe says he had to get the reports through access to information requests.

Denis St. Jean, the national health and safety officer for the Public Service Alliance of Canada, says Lapointe should have been informed of the dangers in his workplace.

“Since 1986 the Canada Labour Code applies. There should have been at least some risk assessments on whether or not these buildings have asbestos containing materials … so they can have readily available that information for their workers,” St. Jean says.

A 2014 consultant's report found the CRA building at 875 Heron Rd. would need to remove asbestos containing materials and debris in order to comply with federal regulations. (Julie Ireton/CBC)A 2014 consultant’s report found the CRA building at 875 Heron Rd. would need to remove asbestos containing materials …Poll question

On mobile?Click here to vote on whether employers should have to tell their employees about asbestos or not.

Years of asbestos reports

Decades of asbestos assessment reports for 875 Heron Rd. show contamination in certain areas that would be of concern to tradespeople or maintenance workers.

A consultant’s report from October 2014 reads: “Based on the findings of the reassessment, the facility is not in compliance. In order to bring the subject facility into compliance with applicable regulations, GEC [the consultant] recommends repair and or removal of damaged ACMs [asbestos containing materials] as well as asbestos-containing debris.”

It is not clear what policy or code the building does not comply with.

Public Works and Government Services Canada owns the building.

In a statement, the department says it “proceeds regularly with assessments of all building conditions including asbestos-containing materials. This report pertaining to 875 Heron Rd. is part of our regular due diligence, to ensure that the building conditions comply with all codes and regulations.”

The department says there are only small amounts of asbestos in remote areas of the building. But as a tradesperson, Lapointe assesses it differently.

– DATABASE: 16 carcinogens in Canadian workplaces

“It’s everywhere. It lines all kinds of piping, it lines ventilation piping, it’s in plaster, it’s in grout that finishes the walls, it’s in the cement where you’re chipping, and the tiles. It’s identified everywhere,” he says.

Bob Kingston, a health and safety expert and national president of the Agriculture Union, a component of the country’s biggest public service union, says the federal government is too often allowed to get away with safety breaches.

“In the federal public service they just say we’re working on it and that’s good enough. They come back every year, and as long as they have some report saying they’re working on it everything is fine,” Kingston says.

Lapointe sent for health testing in 1998

For years, Lapointe, a non-smoker, has suffered from poor health and breathing problems, although he has not been diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease. He’s been searching for answers from his former employer – CRA – as well as other departments, including Public Works and Health Canada.

He’s trying to figure out what he was exposed to in the workplace and what could be making him sick. He knows the latency for asbestos-related disease can be 10 to 40 years.

During Lapointe’s sleuthing, he says he discovered correspondence showing his employer knew he’d potentially been exposed to asbestos as far back as 1998, when he and three other electricians were sent for chest X-rays and pulmonary tests.

The letter from CRA to Health Canada reads: “There is a possibility that in performing their duties over the past few years that one or all of them could have been inadvertently exposed to asbestos-containing material.”

Lapointe says he wasn’t told about the potential asbestos exposure. He thought he was tested because of chemical exposure in the building.

Denis Lapointe filed access to information requests to try to find out what he might have been exposed to in the workplace, which may have led to health problems. (Julie Ireton/CBC)Denis Lapointe filed access to information requests to try to find out what he might have been exposed to in the …“What other reason would there have been? I can’t say what I thought then because I really didn’t know. Just the fact I wasn’t being provided [the information] is a pretty good start that I wasn’t supposed to know.”

Lapointe says he was never given the results of those medical tests, but documents he’s received show he was diagnosed with pulmonary restrictions on several occasions. The testing stopped in 2004 without explanation, he says.

“They never told me there was any concerns,” he says.

Labour Canada now investigating

Lapointe’s concerns about the building and his health issues have now led to an investigation by the federal Labour Department.

A health and safety officer is now looking into asbestos, air quality and other potential safety issues. Lapointe and two other workers filed joint grievances detailing their health concerns and took their issues to the Public Service Labour Relations Board.

Occupational health and safety specialist Laura Lozanski says in her experience there’s a lack of enforcement and political will when it comes to protecting workers.

The former nurse who oversees occupational health for the Canadian Association of University Teachers says this case raises serious issues.

“Workers have the right to go into a workplace and expect their workplace to be safe. That’s the law,” she says.

Also Read

More – 

Asbestos at federal building was a surprise to electrician

6 firms cited for asbestos violations during work at Evanston school

Federal safety officials say six Chicago-area companies have been cited after workers allegedly were exposed to asbestos and other hazards while renovating a middle school in Evanston.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration says the exposure occurred during the summer renovation of the Chute Middle School cafeteria. The agency is proposing a combined $132,000 in penalties.

OSHA and Illinois Department of Public Health officials say the companies didn’t require employees to limit asbestos exposure or wear personal protective equipment while cutting pipes that contained asbestos, failed to take air samples and didn’t properly dispose of debris.

Asbestos exposure has been linked to lung cancer.

Inspectors say some workers also were exposed to lead-based paint and electrical hazards.

The companies have 15 days to accept or contest the citations.

Associated Press

Copyright © 2015, Chicago Tribune

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6 firms cited for asbestos violations during work at Evanston school

Feds say cleanup of Montana mining town working

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — A long-delayed risk study released Monday for a Montana mining town where hundreds of people have died from asbestos poisoning concludes cleanup practices now in place are reducing risks to residents.

However, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency acknowledged there is no way to remove all the asbestos from the area and inhaling even a minute amount could cause lung problems.

The 328-page draft document will be used to guide the remaining cleanup of asbestos dust stemming from a W.R. Grace & Co. vermiculite mine outside Libby, a town of 2,600 people about 50 miles south of the Canada border.

The scenic mountain community has become synonymous with asbestos dangers. Health workers estimate 400 people have been killed and more than 2,000 sickened in Libby and the surrounding area.

Dozens of sites across the U.S. received or processed vermiculite from Libby’s mine, which was used as insulation in millions of homes.

The EPA study used lung scarring — not just cancer deaths — to help determine how much danger asbestos poses to people who remain in Libby, where the contaminated vermiculite had been widely used in homes, as construction fill, and for other purposes before its dangers were known.

The EPA already has conducted cleanup work on more than 2,000 homes, businesses and other properties in the Libby area at a cost of roughly $500 million.

Concentrations of asbestos in the air around town is now 100,000 times lower than when the mine was operating from 1963 to 1990, the EPA said.

Those levels could be higher at the mine site — where cleanup work has barely started — and in areas where property owners have not given access to EPA contractors, the agency said.

“Where EPA has conducted cleanup, those cleanups are effective,” said Rebecca Thomas, EPA project manager in Libby.

She added that there will be some residual contamination left behind but only in places where officials determine there’s no threat of human exposure.

“As long as no one’s exposed to it, it doesn’t pose a risk and we’ll leave it in place,” Thomas said.

W.R. Grace and industry groups have criticized the EPA’s low threshold for exposure as unjustified and impossible to attain. They said the EPA limit was lower than naturally occurring asbestos levels in some places.

The criticism was one of the factors that delayed the risk study. In a report last year, the EPA’s inspector general said internal agency issues including contracting problems and unanticipated work also contributed to the delay.

W.R. Grace was “pleased to see EPA believes it has effectively managed the health risk to acceptable levels,” said Rich Badmington, a spokesman for the Columbia, Maryland-based chemical company

Still, the company believes the EPA’s threshold for exposure is too low, he said.

The town remains under a first-of-its kind public health emergency declaration issued by former EPA administrator Lisa Jackson in 2009.

Cleanup work is pending for as many as 500 homes and businesses in Libby and nearby Troy. Completing that work will take three to five years, Thomas said.

Because of the long latency period for asbestos-related diseases, it could be many years before some people in Libby develop medical complications.

Libby Mayor Doug Roll said moving forward with the study was critical for the tourism- and mining-dependent town. Roll said Libby wants to overcome its image of a poisoned community.

“Grace was the stumbling block, trying to put a bunch of their input into it,” Roll said. “We’re trying to get out from underneath this cloud and start promoting Libby as a place you can come and visit — and not worry about the air quality.”

Visit site:

Feds say cleanup of Montana mining town working

Study of Montana Mining Town Says Cleanup Working

A long-delayed risk study released Monday for a Montana mining town where hundreds of people have died from asbestos poisoning concludes cleanup practices now in place are reducing risks to residents.

However, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency acknowledged there is no way to remove all the asbestos from the area and inhaling even a minute amount could cause lung problems.

The 328-page draft document will be used to guide the remaining cleanup of asbestos dust stemming from a W.R. Grace & Co. vermiculite mine outside Libby, a town of 2,600 people about 50 miles south of the Canada border.

The scenic mountain community has become synonymous with asbestos dangers. Health workers estimate 400 people have been killed and more than 2,000 sickened in Libby and the surrounding area.

Dozens of sites across the U.S. received or processed vermiculite from Libby’s mine, which was used as insulation in millions of homes.

The EPA study used lung scarring ? not just cancer deaths ? to help determine how much danger asbestos poses to people who remain in Libby, where the contaminated vermiculite had been widely used in homes, as construction fill, and for other purposes before its dangers were known.

The EPA already has conducted cleanup work on more than 2,000 homes, businesses and other properties in the Libby area at a cost of roughly $500 million.

Concentrations of asbestos in the air around town is now 100,000 times lower than when the mine was operating from 1963 to 1990, the EPA said.

Those levels could be higher at the mine site ? where cleanup work has barely started ? and in areas where property owners have not given access to EPA contractors, the agency said.

“Where EPA has conducted cleanup, those cleanups are effective,” said Rebecca Thomas, EPA project manager in Libby.

She added that there will be some residual contamination left behind but only in places where officials determine there’s no threat of human exposure.

“As long as no one’s exposed to it, it doesn’t pose a risk and we’ll leave it in place,” Thomas said.

W.R. Grace and industry groups have criticized the EPA’s low threshold for exposure as unjustified and impossible to attain. They said the EPA limit was lower than naturally occurring asbestos levels in some places.

The criticism was one of the factors that delayed the risk study. In a report last year, the EPA’s inspector general said internal agency issues including contracting problems and unanticipated work also contributed to the delay.

W.R. Grace was “pleased to see EPA believes it has effectively managed the health risk to acceptable levels,” said Rich Badmington, a spokesman for the Columbia, Maryland-based chemical company

Still, the company believes the EPA’s threshold for exposure is too low, he said.

The town remains under a first-of-its kind public health emergency declaration issued by former EPA administrator Lisa Jackson in 2009.

Cleanup work is pending for as many as 500 homes and businesses in Libby and nearby Troy. Completing that work will take three to five years, Thomas said.

Because of the long latency period for asbestos-related diseases, it could be many years before some people in Libby develop medical complications.

Libby Mayor Doug Roll said moving forward with the study was critical for the tourism- and mining-dependent town. Roll said Libby wants to overcome its image of a poisoned community.

“Grace was the stumbling block, trying to put a bunch of their input into it,” Roll said. “We’re trying to get out from underneath this cloud and start promoting Libby as a place you can come and visit ? and not worry about the air quality.”

Original article:

Study of Montana Mining Town Says Cleanup Working

Risk study on mining town finds even small amount of asbestos exposure can lead to lung problems

640_lung_xray.jpg

A long-delayed risk study for a Montana mining town where hundreds have died from asbestos exposure concludes that even a minuscule amount of the substance can lead to lung problems.

The 328-page document released Monday will determine when work can end on the cleanup of asbestos dust from a W.R. Grace & Co. vermiculite mine outside Libby.

Cleanup efforts in the scenic mountain town that’s become synonymous with asbestos dangers already have addressed more than 2,000 homes and businesses, at a cost of roughly $500 million.

Despite Libby’s many deaths, the Environmental Protection Agency is using a less-drastic benchmark, lung scarring, to help determine how much asbestos poses a risk.

W.R. Grace and industry groups have criticized the EPA’s low threshold for exposure as unjustified and impossible to attain.

Original post: 

Risk study on mining town finds even small amount of asbestos exposure can lead to lung problems

No asbestos in Glasgow fire smoke

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No asbestos in Glasgow fire smoke

Winnipeg contractor in botched asbestos job has criminal past

A Winnipeg contractor who was recently sanctioned for a botched asbestos removal job has a long criminal history that includes convictions for fraud and theft, the CBC News I-Team has learned.

Workman Industries owner John Sirenn’s criminal record dates back to 1959 with convictions for cashing thousands of dollars in fake cheques and for stealing copper wire and electronics from other businesses, according to court documents.

The documents also show he once fled from a traffic check stop when he was not licensed to drive. His vehicle crashed into a hydro pole that fell within inches of a woman’s head.

“Absolutely disgusted,” said Jon Cameron, whose family filed a complaint against Workman after crews botched an asbestos remediation job at his parents’ house, sending asbestos into the air.

“I mean, how is it that somebody who is consistently violating laws and regulations, putting people’s well-being at risk, how is he still able to work in this city?”

In August, Sirenn and his crew were caught on video dragging asbestos-covered materials — without wearing protective gear — through Rafaelita and Victor Cameron’s home in Point Douglas.

Manitoba’s Workplace Safety and Health issued stop-work orders against Workman and Sarte Heating and Cooling, as well as ordered Workman to decontaminate the house.

However, that work wasn’t done. The Camerons have been out of their home for nearly two months.

“There’s no way that this man should still be working. There’s no way he should still have a company,” Cameron said of Sirenn.

Sirenn has refused to speak to CBC News. Officials from Sarte Heating and Cooling have not responded to a request for comment.

No protective masks

Cameron’s mother, Rafaelita Cameron, had hired Sarte Heating and Cooling to replace their old boiler system with a new high-efficiency furnace.

However, the company could not carry out the installation until the old boiler — which was covered in asbestos — was removed.

So Sarte arranged for Workman Industries to go to the Point Douglas home on Aug. 7 to do the remediation.

When the Workman crew arrived, the family said they noticed the workers were not wearing protective masks or equipment. As well, they said they were not instructed to stay away.

Rafaelita Cameron said she confronted one of the workers when the family realized there were no barriers created to separate the basement job site from the rest of the home.

Jon Cameron videotaped as Workman crews removed the old asbestos-covered boiler in pieces without wrapping any of it in plastic.

The family has since decided to pay out of pocket to get the house remediated so they can replace the boiler and move back in.

Another company, Associated Environmental Services, has since been hired to carry out the asbestos remediation.

‘It was just deplorable’

AES project manager Jason Driedger said his crews had to vacuum and wipe down every surface in the house — a task that he said took them two weekends.

“I came in and took an initial look at the place and I was shocked,” he said.

“Open bags of materials and, I mean, it was just deplorable — as a homeowner, nothing you would ever want to see and nothing you should see.”

Driedger said the workers that Workman Industries hired may not have even known the dangers of what they were handling.

Undisturbed asbestos-containing materials generally don’t pose a health risk, according to Health Canada and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

It’s only when the asbestos is disturbed, and the dust is emitted into the air, that it poses a risk to human health, the agencies say. In significant quantities, asbestos fibres can cause asbestosis and lung cancer.

Workman Industries was issued a cease and desist order to stop using the Certificate of Recognition (COR) Program logo on its website.

The COR certification is obtained through the Construction Safety Association of Manitoba and typically means a company has a safety and health program that meets national standards.

When CBC News contacted the association last month, it said Workman Industries has never been certified by them.

“It really turns my stomach because we’re trying so hard in this industry to make it safe for everybody and to do a proper job, and then you see somebody who just comes in and completely ruins people’s houses,” Driedger said.

“It’s just terrible and it makes the rest of us, the legit companies, look really bad.”

Also Read

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Winnipeg contractor in botched asbestos job has criminal past

Solons want to ban asbestos

Lawmakers sought a total ban on the the importation, manufacture, processing, use and distribution of the “dangerous and disease-causing” asbestos and asbestos-containing products.

Akbayan party-list Reps. Walden Bello and Ibarra Gutierrez III lamented that despite the issuance of a resolution seeking to totally ban asbestos in the Philippines during the 11th National Occupational Safety and Health Congress in October 2008, the use of the harmful substance continues.

In filing House Bill 4437, they expressed concern that Philippines is considered as the fourth largest importer of asbestos at $76.32 million annually.

“The current policy is one of control by regulation of the use and disposal of asbestos products. There is a ban on crocidolite or blue asbestos and amosite or brown asbestos while the use of chrysolite or white asbestos is not banned and permitted in high density products as fire proofing, clothing, roofing felts or related products, asbestos cement roofing and flat sheet, friction materials, high temperature textile products etc.,” Bello said.

Bello noted that the “alarming” exposure to asbestos even in very minute amounts could lead to asbestosis, lung cancer and mesothelioma.

House Bill 4437 provides the implementation of the ban on the importation, manufacturing, processing, use or distribution of asbestos and asbestos-containing products whether for commercial or non-commercial purposes “not later than two years from the effectivity” of the proposed Act.

The proposed Asbestos Ban Act of 2014 tasks the Secretary of Health, in consultation with the Secretary of Trade and Industry and the Secretary of Labor and Employment, to establish a public education and safety program aimed primarily at increasing awareness of the dangers posed by asbestos-containing products and contaminants in homes and workplaces and asbestos-related diseases.

An inter-agency technical advisory council attached to the Department of Health (DOH) shall also be created to assist the agency in preparing, conducting and reporting the public education and safety program, the bill said.

HB 4436 provides that any person who violates the provisions of the Act shall be punished by a penalty of six months to two years imprisonment or a fine of not than P100,000 nor more than P1 million or both at the discretion of the court.

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Solons want to ban asbestos

Natural asbestos problem ‘falls in the cracks’ in Skagit County

Originally published July 13, 2014 at 7:10 PM | Page modified July 13, 2014 at 11:08 PM

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) investigators prompted by a resident’s concern in late 2012 tested rocks near a housing development in Burlington, Skagit County, and found evidence of naturally occurring asbestos.

Prolonged exposure to the substance found inside the rocks has been shown to cause lung cancer, and investigators recommended in a draft report that signs be posted “alerting people to the dangers of asbestos exposure.”

Residents, however, were never formally notified of the discovery by federal, state or local officials — a case that experts and others say highlights the challenges authorities face when dealing with naturally occurring hazards.

Jean Melious, an environmental and land-use lawyer who teaches environmental studies at Western Washington University, said natural asbestos is vexing for government agencies, partly because it’s not a disaster that calls for immediate action.

“It’s a lot easier for government to work when there’s a big hue and cry,” she said.

Andy Smith, an on-scene coordinator with the EPA, said no government agency has total authority over natural asbestos. “This kind of problem falls in the cracks,” he said.

Natural asbestos is often found in certain types of rocks and near fault zones. It can be released into the air from the rocks when they are broken or crushed, as often occurs during mining or development.

The Washington Department of Natural Resources says naturally occurring asbestos has been found in areas in the northern part of the state, and experts say it occurs throughout the United States.

Keith Welch, a resident of the Burlington Hill housing development who alerted federal authorities, said he’s frustrated the authorities haven’t been more proactive in telling people about the presence of asbestos and doing more comprehensive studies.

“It’s one thing to be cautious,” Welch said. “Now that it’s been identified, somebody needs to do something about it.”

The Burlington Hill case has helped agencies discuss best practices for permitting and public awareness, said Katie Skipper of the Northwest Clean Air Agency, which is responsible for enforcing air-pollution regulations in Skagit, Whatcom and Island counties.

In June, Skagit County posted information about naturally occurring asbestos in the environmental health section of its website. It mentions the asbestos on Burlington Hill in one sentence, and provides links to other asbestos-related information.

Polly Dubbel, a Skagit County environmental health specialist, said residents weren’t notified and that most already likely knew of the presence of asbestos because of a website Welch created to publicize a lawsuit he filed against the city of Burlington.

Welch, a developer who also has built homes on Burlington Hill, said he contacted the EPA after learning there was an old asbestos quarry in the area. Welch had sued Burlington in 2008 in a dispute over a road-rebuilding project on Burlington Hill.

He amended his lawsuit last year after the September 2012 EPA investigation, saying the roadwork potentially exposed dozens of people who live in the area to the asbestos.

In its March 2013 final report, the EPA said it found actinolite asbestos along a road cut on the northeastern side of Burlington Hill. No asbestos was found at three other locations sampled.

Because of the health risks associated with asbestos, the report said people should limit their exposure to the asbestos and that a more thorough study would need to be done to determine how much asbestos might be at the site.

In a draft of the final report, obtained by The Associated Press via a public-disclosure request, EPA investigators recommended Skagit County post warning signs.

Smith, one of the EPA staffers who went to Burlington Hill, said the EPA didn’t include the recommendation on the warning signs in the final report because that went beyond the agency’s mandate.

“Our place is really to find out if there was any big, screaming source for us to clean up. And there wasn’t,” Smith said.

He added, “Another complicating part is we have no statutory authority to clean up naturally occurring asbestos.”

EPA investigators collected samples for testing by breaking off bits of exposed rock with a hammer.

In their final report, the investigators said that, given the limited nature of the study at Burlington Hill, they couldn’t say what risks people exposed to the asbestos could face.

For that, air samples that measure asbestos concentrations that people could breathe would be needed. But the investigators said, “EPA would caution people to refrain from disturbing the material” where the asbestos was found.

Joanne Snarski from the state Department of Health said state and local authorities can help developers and landowners be aware of areas where things like naturally occurring asbestos and other natural hazards can occur and work to mitigate hazards.

“There’s a variety of naturally occurring issues that people live with on a regular basis,” she said, adding there’s a balancing act between public awareness and possibly overstating potential risks.

Both Smith and Snarski said issuing specific directives to landowners can be difficult. “A lot of people are pretty uncomfortable with people telling you all the things you can and cannot do on their property,” Snarski said.



Originally posted here: 

Natural asbestos problem ‘falls in the cracks’ in Skagit County