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January 16, 2018

Prosecutor in dust-up over asbestos threat in office

CROWN POINT, Ind. (AP) – Like the sands of time, dust regularly falls on offices of the Lake County prosecutor, who hopes it isn’t laced with asbestos.

“A number of our employees have been complaining about sinus problems and are very concerned,” Prosecutor Bernard Carter said Monday.

Forty-year-old asbestos fireproofing hangs above the heads of more than 40 of his deputy prosecutors and clerical support staff along with countless visitors.

He notes with irony the asbestos has been removed in the county jail, but not where his staff works.

County Commissioner Gerry Scheub, D-Crown Point, said, “Unfortunately, there still is asbestos in the buildings, but as long as it’s not disturbed, it’s not hurting anybody.” Commissioners oversee county building maintenance.

Nevertheless, Carter said he and his employees presented the Board of Commissioners with a petition to address the problem when they were dramatically reminded of it two months ago following a water line that burst in their office, spraying their law library and evidence closet with sewage, The (Munster) Times reported (http://bit.ly/1AW7uIA ).

“The workmen who came in were all taped and dressed up like they were going into space. Our employees were walking around unprotected and wondering what they were being exposed to,” Carter said.

Scheub said, “Anytime anybody complains about air quality, we take that very seriously.” He said commissioners ordered Robert Rehder, superintendent of county government buildings, to hire a firm to test the air quality. “He told commissioners they found nothing detrimental to anybody’s health.”

Barb McConnell, one of Carter’s chief deputies, said, “Testing hasn’t been done in this office for years. We have had to tape plastic up in our victim-witness office so the stuff won’t fall on their desks. When there is movement upstairs, you can’t tell me that doesn’t disturb it.”

It’s no better for much of the floor above Carter’s office. Public Defender David Schneider said asbestos is above the heads of his staff. Senior Lake Criminal Court Judge Salvador Vasquez said three of the four original courtrooms there still have it. “So far, no one has gotten sick. We haven’t held a discussion about it, because out of sight, out of mind.”

Asbestos is a mineral fiber with heat-insulating and fire-resistance properties that was commercially sprayed into buildings until the mid-1970s, when it was linked to lung cancer in people who inhaled large amounts.

It was present in all three original buildings of the county government center when they opened four decades ago. A federal court mandate prompted county officials to remove it from the jail in the late 1980s.

The state held the county in violation of occupational safety laws in 1990 after material was found on office floors in the courts building. Commissioners posted warnings that year forbidding employees from removing any drop-ceiling tiles except in a dire emergency.

Commissioners spent $12 million between 1993 and 2006 removing asbestos from public and office areas, but the program was halted short of the mark because of cost overruns that occurred when money was diverted to new carpeting, lighting fixtures and other non-asbestos spending.

There are no plans to address asbestos with any of the $12 million the county has just borrowed to address county government building maintenance, Commissioner Mike Repay, D-Hammond, said Monday, but he said commissioners need a professional assessment of where asbestos remains, so it can be dealt with in future rehabilitation projects.

Story Continues →

Continue at source – 

Prosecutor in dust-up over asbestos threat in office

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

East Penn defends handling of buried asbestos-filled construction debris

EMMAUS, Pa. –

Charges that the East Penn School District violated environmental laws by burying construction waste containing asbestos near one of its elementary schools were disputed by school officials Monday night.

In the summer of 2013, several dump truck loads of construction debris — including an unknown amount of potentially-hazardous asbestos — were dumped in the woods just west of Wescosville Elementary School in Lower Macungie Township.

East Penn officials say they don’t know who dumped the material behind the school — or where it came from.

But they do know that in the autumn of 2013, unidentified school district officials authorized burying that debris in a clay-lined pit on the same site.

Accusations that the district is involved in a cover-up were made by two residents and one of the school board’s own members during Monday’s school board meeting.

“Covering up a crime is a crime in itself,” said board member Lynn Donches.
“Why don’t we want to know who dumped the waste and who buried it?”

Resident Giovanni Landi also accused the board and administration “of covering up the fact that someone in the school district committed a crime.”

“How many of you before me are complicit in this illegal act?” asked resident Chris Donatelli.

“Two crimes occurred last year,” said Landi. “The first was the illegal dumping of hazardous wastes on school grounds. The second was burying the hazardous waste instead of notifying the authorities.

“It is a felony to dump hazardous materials and it is a felony to bury hazardous materials.”

“Dumping materials that are known to be carcinogenic anywhere is an illegal act,” said Donatelli. “Burying it rather than reporting it is not an innocent act. It is a deliberate attempt to hide the fact that somebody broke the law.”

Board president Alan Earnshaw said characterizing what happened as illegal acts is “a reckless misstatement of the facts.”

And board vice president Ken Bacher requested that people not refer to illegal activities by the school district, saying it has not been established that any illegal activities have been committed by East Penn.

But Donches did not back down from her position that illegal actions were taken at the Wescosville Elementary site – and once again found herself at odds with several of her angry colleagues.

“Has some kind of warrant of arrest been filed?” asked Earnshaw. “Has an indictment been made by law enforcement officers? Has the prosecution of any acts taken place? The answer is no.

“In our society, we are innocent until proven guilty. No one has been accused of a crime. No one has been convicted of a crime.”

Said Donches: “Although there have been no charges or whatever, I do have a statement from the Department of Environmental Protection that it is unlawful to dispose of any waste at a site that does not have a DEP permit to accept such waste.”

Donches maintained the district should have contacted proper authorities when the illegal dumpsite first was discovered on school district property and before any decision was made to bury the construction debris on-site.

“I’m not interested at all in identifying who made mistakes or making this a bigger deal than it really is,” said Superintendent J. Michael Schilder.

“I’ve been assured by DEP, EPA and the asbestos management firm that there is no harm to children or any person in the area, whether it stays in the ground or whether it’s removed.

“EPA went to great lengths to tell us that they thought we were handling it perfectly appropriately and DEP said the same thing.”

Not hazardous asbestos?

Earlier this month, the school board agreed to hire ALM Abatement Services of Coopersburg to remove and properly dispose of soil and associated rubbish that has been contaminated with what is believed to be “non-friable” asbestos.

While asbestos fibers can cause cancer if inhaled, those fibers are less likely to be released in non-friable asbestos. Friable asbestos can be crumbled by hand, releasing the hazardous fibers into the air.

Ballard suggested only a small fraction of the buried debris is asbestos.

Continue at source – 

East Penn defends handling of buried asbestos-filled construction debris

Asbestos warning after fly-tipping on beauty spot

Warnings signs had been placed on Surrey Wildlife Common after material containing asbestos which can lead to cancer was dumped there

Material containing asbestos has been dumped near to a Guildford pond on Surrey Wildlife Common.

Guildford Borough Council is investigating the issue, and believes it could have been left along Keen’s Lane on Chitty’s Common in Worplesdon on Sunday July 28 or Monday July 29.

The bags were left around one metre away from the pond at the Surrey Wildlife Trust common, and yellow tape warning of asbestos had been put around them, before it was removed this week.

Exposure to asbestos can lead to cancer and scarring of the lungs.

It is safe if undamaged or undisturbed, but needs to be disposed of correctly.

A spokesman for the borough council said they were looking for any information relating to suspicious vehicle movements seen in the area around Sunday July 28 and Monday July 29.

“We are aware of the issue and it has been passed onto our specialist contractors to deal with,” the spokesman said.

“In this case it was reported to us on Tuesday July 29 so probably appeared either on Sunday night or some time on Monday.

“There is very little indication as to where this came from and who left it there.”

Surrey Wildlife Trust said it was also aware of the asbestos, and warned of the dangers of fly-tipping in general.

“Asbestos fibres are so small that they cannot be seen by the naked eye or even by normal household microscopes, but when asbestos is dumped and released into the environment it contaminates the air, where it can be inhaled, water, where it can be ingested, and soil,” a spokesman for the trust said.

“Asbestos dust can easily travel for long distances in the air before it settles into water or on top of soil, thus contaminating areas far away from its source.

“The small asbestos fibres remain intact in air, water and soil. It does not break down or biodegrade.

“The fibres do not absorb into the soil and instead sit on top of the soil, where it can easily be disturbed and redistributed into the air, which will have an impact on native flora.

“It can also settle on the surface of the soil instead of getting absorbed into the ground, which means that it can still get picked up by the wind and inhaled into human lungs, which pose the biggest risks.

“Fly-tipping can be harmful to wildlife and the environment, as animals can get stuck inside discarded waste, and chemicals in items such as paint, battery acid and pesticide and leach into the ground and waterways.

“It can crush wild flowers and may introduce non-native species that may take over the natural environment,” the spokesman said.

“Even the most innocent dumping of a few grass clippings encourages others to do the same.

“This can result in household refuse also being dumped.”

Up until February this year, there had been more than 5,600 incidents of fly-tipping reported in Guildford in the previous five years.

Asbestos must be removed by a licensed company, and in Guildford some types can be disposed of at the Guildford Community Recycling Centre at Slyfield Industrial Estate.

For anyone who finds fly-tipping or suspects waste to contain asbestos, the advice is to notify the local authority, which can be contacted by calling 01483 505050.

Originally posted here – 

Asbestos warning after fly-tipping on beauty spot

RPM reaches $797.5 million deal to resolve Bondex asbestos claims

By Tom Hals

July 28 (Reuters) – Rust-Oleum paint maker RPM International Inc on Monday announced a $797.5 million deal to resolve asbestos claims against its Bondex International Inc unit, which filed for protection from creditors in 2010 after mounting personal injury lawsuits.

If the agreement receives court approval, it would end a contentious Chapter 11 bankruptcy in which a judge ruled Bondex should pay about $1.2 billion to resolve asbestos claims. Bondex, which had said it should only pay $135 million, was appealing the ruling.

RPM shares were up 2.8 percent at $45.64 in afternoon New York Stock Exchange trading.

Under the agreement, RPM will provide an initial $450 million in cash to a trust once the U.S. Bankruptcy Court and the U.S. District Court in Delaware approve a reorganization plan for Bondex.

RPM, which also makes DAP caulk, would contribute the remaining $347.5 million in cash, stock or a combination of the two within four years after the trust has been established.

All current and future asbestos claims against Bondex and related entities would then be channeled to the trust, according to a Monday statement by Medina, Ohio-based RPM.

Bondex and another RPM unit, Specialty Products Holding Co, filed for bankruptcy in May 2010 in the wake of lawsuits over its asbestos-containing products such as joint compound, which is used in filling drywall gaps.

Bondex and personal injury lawyers clashed over how much money was needed to fund a trust to resolve the asbestos claims.

The lawyers said $1.255 billion was an appropriate amount based on what Bondex paid in past settlements.

Bondex said its liability could not be determined by looking to past settlements because those deals included payments to rid itself of nuisance lawsuits. Without those nuisance payments, the company said, its asbestos liability would have been about $135 million.

Former U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Judith Fitzgerald rejected that argument. She retired shortly after issuing the opinion in May 2013, and Judge Peter Walsh is now overseeing the case.

Monday’s agreement, if the courts approve it, would head off a federal appeals court’s potentially binding ruling on Bondex’s approach to estimating liability.

Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that can cause deadly cancers, including mesothelioma. Scores of companies have filed for bankruptcy and collectively paid tens of billions of dollars to set up trusts to resolve personal injury lawsuits involving asbestos.

RPM said it expected the contributions to the trust to be tax-deductible, and it estimated the after-tax net present value of its contributions at about $485 million.

The case is Special Products Holding Corp, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, District of Delaware, No. 10-11780.

(Reporting by Tom Hals in Wilmington, Delaware; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)

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RPM reaches $797.5 million deal to resolve Bondex asbestos claims

Asbestos scare shuts Perth's biggest school

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Mr Axworthy said he recieved a call from the school and that he elected to take a cautious approach.

“Parents were notified by an SMS at 6pm on Monday night saying the school would be closed on Tuesday, with more information to come,” he said

“That information was emailed to parents at 9pm.”

However the school will now be closed until Monday, with staff from The Department of Finance’s building management and works division, along with expert contractors, spending the rest of the week inspecting the school.

Mr Axworthy said there was no indication more asbestos would be found at the school and that the closure was a precaution.

“They will conduct comprehensive testing within the school so we can assure ourselves there is no risk or danger to any students or staff, so the school will be closed until Monday.

“We have contacted all parents.”

Mr Axworthy said Willetton’s 260 Year 12 students, along with upper school students, would not be disadvantaged

Their teachers will be relocated to North Lake Primary School for the duration of the week, and would work with the students using WIlletton’s already well-developed online learning system.

“Willetton has a very strong online connection….we’ve moved the teachers to another site and they will be able to connect directly with the families and the individual students to maintain and moniter educational programs and assignments.”

He added that the school would definitely be reopening on Monday.

However Mr Axworthy pointed his finger squarely at the Department of Finance’s building management and works division when asked if he was concerned the Education Department wasn’t aware of Friday’s asbestos discovery.

“Our staff are not in the school during the school holidays.

“Building management and works had reported nothing to us…I am not at all happy that I was informed at 5pm last night that our biggest high school has a potential problem

“We are certainly taking it up with building managment and works.”

An Education Department spokeswoman confirmed that 600 WA schools have asbestos-containing material on site, which was commonly used in buildings before the 1990s.

” All Western Australian public schools have at their premises, a site-specific asbestos register that forms an integral part of the Department’s Asbestos Management Plan,” the spokeswoman said.

“This register documents the location and condition of all known and suspected ACM, identified through visual inspection and includes details of major ACM removal.

“Asbestos registers in schools are updated every two to three years as part of the Building Condition Assessment process.

“The Western Australian Advisory Committee on Hazardous Substances Report in August 1990 indicated that exposure to asbestos cement materials in WA public schools represented negligible risk to health.

“The Department of Education’s position on ACM in WA public schools is that the material, if in relatively good condition and left undisturbed, presents negligible risk to the health of building occupants.”

She also confirmed that in the last financial year, the Education Department has spend $2 million on repairs and maintenance associated with ACM.

WA Opposition Leader Mark McGowan said the state government and the education department should have inspected buildings earlier in the school break.

“Students have been arriving and journalists have been telling them to go home,” Mr McGowan said.

“It’s clearly unacceptable, although I can’t say the students appeared unhappy.”

Willetton Senior High School has more than 1800 students.

It was built during the 1970s and is now the subject of a multi-million dollar redevelopment.

– with AAP











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Asbestos scare shuts Perth's biggest school

Asbestos scare at Perth school

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Mr Axworthy said he recieved a call from the school and that he elected to take a cautious approach.

“Parents were notified by an SMS at 6pm on Monday night saying the school would be closed on Tuesday, with more information to come,” he said

“That information was emailed to parents at 9pm.”

However the school will now be closed until Monday, with staff from The Department of Finance’s building management and works division, along with expert contractors, spending the rest of the week inspecting the school.

Mr Axworthy said there was no indication more asbestos would be found at the school and that the closure was a precaution.

“They will conduct comprehensive testing within the school so we can assure ourselves there is no risk or danger to any students or staff, so the school will be closed until Monday.

“We have contacted all parents.”

Mr Axworthy said Willetton’s 260 Year 12 students, along with upper school students, would not be disadvantaged

Their teachers will be relocated to North Lake Primary School for the duration of the week, and would work with the students using WIlletton’s already well-developed online learning system.

“Willetton has a very strong online connection….we’ve moved the teachers to another site and they will be able to connect directly with the families and the individual students to maintain and moniter educational programs and assignments.”

He added that the school would definitely be reopening on Monday.

However Mr Axworthy pointed his finger squarely at the Department of Finance’s building management and works division when asked if he was concerned the Education Department wasn’t aware of Friday’s asbestos discovery.

“Our staff are not in the school during the school holidays.

“Building management and works had reported nothing to us…I am not at all happy that I was informed at 5pm last night that our biggest high school has a potential problem

“We are certainly taking it up with building managment and works.”

An Education Department spokeswoman confirmed that 600 WA schools have asbestos-containing material on site, which was commonly used in buildings before the 1990s.

” All Western Australian public schools have at their premises, a site-specific asbestos register that forms an integral part of the Department’s Asbestos Management Plan,” the spokeswoman said.

“This register documents the location and condition of all known and suspected ACM, identified through visual inspection and includes details of major ACM removal.

“Asbestos registers in schools are updated every two to three years as part of the Building Condition Assessment process.

“The Western Australian Advisory Committee on Hazardous Substances Report in August 1990 indicated that exposure to asbestos cement materials in WA public schools represented negligible risk to health.

“The Department of Education’s position on ACM in WA public schools is that the material, if in relatively good condition and left undisturbed, presents negligible risk to the health of building occupants.”

She also confirmed that in the last financial year, the Education Department has spend $2 million on repairs and maintenance associated with ACM.

WA Opposition Leader Mark McGowan said the state government and the education department should have inspected buildings earlier in the school break.

“Students have been arriving and journalists have been telling them to go home,” Mr McGowan said.

“It’s clearly unacceptable, although I can’t say the students appeared unhappy.”

Willetton Senior High School has more than 1800 students.

It was built during the 1970s and is now the subject of a multi-million dollar redevelopment.

– with AAP











Originally posted here – 

Asbestos scare at Perth school

Flats asbestos evacuation extended

More than 100 residents who were moved out of a block of flats when asbestos was disturbed by maintenance workers will remain out of their homes over the weekend.

North Lanarkshire Council moved all tenants from Anderson Tower in Motherwell as a precautionary measure after concerns were raised yesterday.

The substance is thought to have been disturbed during mains cabling replacement work which was being carried out at the tower by ScottishPower.

The council said it ensured all tenants were accommodated overnight, with some in hotels, a number in temporary council accommodation and others staying with friends and family.

Some asbestos dust has been found in halls and lobbies, with c lean-up work starting yesterday and continuing to Monday. Residents are unable to return until then.

The council’s housing operations manager, Stephen Llewelyn, said: “Tests have shown small amounts of asbestos dust in hall and hall cupboards as well as lift lobbies and one lift.

As a precautionary measure the contractor has been instructed to clean all halls and communal areas.

“Tenants will not be able to return to the building until we are satisfied that this is complete.

“We are confident that any risk is extremely low. Asbestos generally poses a health risk through exposure over a long period in high concentrations. What we have found is small areas of settled dust.

“We are working closely with ScottishPower, their contractors and the Health and Safety Executive to ensure all safety standards are met.”

Mr Llewelyn added that residents ” fully appreciate” the efforts of council staff.

“We are very grateful to both the residents and their families for their support,” he said.

“Emptying a block of flats within the timescale was no easy task and we are pleased that, working with the tenants and their families, this was a textbook operation.”

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Flats asbestos evacuation extended

Asbestos fears shut down school

Bayfield School, Herne Bay. Photo / Jason Dorday.
Bayfield School, Herne Bay. Photo / Jason Dorday.

It’s hoped asbestos-contaminated demolition material that kept an Auckland primary school closed today will be cleared by Monday.

Bayfield Primary School’s 380 students stayed home today because of an asbestos risk from demolition work at the school’s biggest classroom block.

A multi-million dollar building project has been underway at the Herne Bay school, and their main classroom block, a leaky building, had been demolished over the school holidays.

Board of Trustees chairman David McPherson told parents and caregivers on Wednesday night that testing at the site had shown the possibility of asbestos and the school would be closed temporarily.

Head of education infrastructure service for the Ministry of Education Kim Shannon said testing today had shown no sign of asbestos outside the work site.

She said the Ministry was reassured by the results, however more tests will be carried out before the school is reopened.

Mr McPherson said the majority of the demolition work was carried out during the school holidays, and they had expected it to be finished before school resumed.

“Before the school reopened on Monday we sought a number of assurances from the project team that the site was safe and that they had complied with their removal obligations, we got those assurances and no reason to disbelieve them.”

Mr McPherson said he had been taking calls from concerned parents today.

“The questions that our parents have been asking us are the questions we are asking of the contractors and the Ministry,” he said.

“We’ve got to work through a whole lot of processes to get the right information to be able to get that to our parents.”

Work Safe NZ has given contractors the green light to remove the demolished material from the school, and Mr McPherson expected that to be completed tomorrow.

The school will be swabbed and air quality tests will be carried out to ensure no trace of asbestos is found before it is reopened.

He said he hoped students would be able to return to school on Monday, however plans were in motion for a alternative classrooms for the students if the school must remain closed longer.

“We’re not prepared to reopen the school until we’re totally satisfied,” he said.

The Ministry of Education will be investigating the management of the work site.

APNZ

Continued here:  

Asbestos fears shut down school

Nearby asbestos shuts down Mooers Elementary

MOOERS — Asbestos detected in the debris of a building here halted cleanup in its tracks and prompted closure of Mooers Elementary School.

There will be no classes there on Monday — and not until after the school and grounds are tested and found clear of contamination, Northeastern Clinton Central School Interim Superintendent Paul A. Scott said.

‘AS IF ASBESTOS’

The Elementary School is located about a block from the debris of the former E.F. Drown Funeral Home on the corner of Route 11 and Maple Street, which collapsed on Jan. 11. ;

Property owner Eloi Duguay, who lives in Quebec, let a 60-day deadline go by without hauling away the rubble, said Mooers Code Enforcement Officer Jess Dixon, who is also public-safety officer.

Meanwhile, Town Supervisor Jeff Menard ;was looking into the protocol for removal of debris with possible asbestos. He was told to contact the State Department of Labor.

That agency, he said, told him that since the structure had already been razed the rubble should be treated as if the contaminant were there.

But they got no further guidance, the town supervisor said.

So he tapped Bedard’s Excavation for the job, as it has, he said, some kind of asbestos-removal certification.

“He said they would watch for asbestos as they were clearing (the debris).”

‘TURNED US IN’

Work began on Monday, April 7, and resumed the next day, with about 80 tons of debris hauled away.

But then the Department of Labor showed up, ordered the effort halted and checked for asbestos.

“Apparently, somebody got jealous because they didn’t get the (cleanup) contract and turned us in,” Menard said.

Dixon said the state representative who came to Mooers that day didn’t outline what steps needed to be taken next.

“They took their samples and headed back to Albany,” he said. “It was irritating.”

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Nearby asbestos shuts down Mooers Elementary