Hazel Crest employees who work at old Village Hall in Hazel Crest, Illinois, are concerned that they had asbestos exposure. Some employees, with Illinois Environmental Protection Agency filed an anonymous complaint against a contractor claiming that they used unlicensed labor to perform hazardous and improper asbestos abatement.
When a proper asbestos abatement takes place workers are not allowed inside the area. It is sealed off in order to prevent other areas from getting asbestos contamination. It is usually sealed off by duct tape or negative air pressure machines. A special vacuum cleaner must be used for safely cleaning up asbestos particles. A regular one would do more harm than good by expelling asbestos fibers and particles into the air.
Asbestos abatement must be done right. Many buildings across the United States need asbestos abatement. There are over 17 million abandoned homes, many of which probably contain asbestos particles. If abatement is not done correctly it poses a threat to many people’s health and wellbeing.
Asbestos is a harmful and dangerous mineral, although it was once thought to be good. It is fire resistant, so it was uses in many things from pipes to tiles and wall panels. Some people had even worked in asbestos factories making it a very, very great threat to them. Asbestos is most harmful when broken up because it can get trapped in people’s lungs.
Although asbestos was banned in the 1970s many homes and building were built before then and many include asbestos. It was banned because people began to draw a connection between lung cancer and asbestos. However, over 52 million homes were built before asbestos was banned. Cities are trying to tackle the problem of all the abandoned homes with asbestos particles. It does not help that some contractors are sneaky and some don’t acknowledge the fact that abatement must be done right.
Kim Biggs, spokeswoman of the IEPA confirmed receipt of the worker’s complaint. Dante Sawyer also confirmed receipt of the complaint. He however said that it was unfounded. But he does admit that the windows were not properly disposed. There may have been asbestos present in the caulk and therefore should have been disposed separately from other trash.
A village attorney named John Murphey mirrored Dante Sawyers account. According to his letter the contractor initially knew about the concern of asbestos.
A Hazel Crest employee said that he had observed improper handling of asbestos. He said that workers were in Village Hall and they were tearing up carpets and tiles. There was no warning given prior to the Village staff. “there were clouds of dust” the employee said.
Dante Sawyer says the abatement will be done in about seven business days. Following the abatement, the village’s general contractor will begin its renovation work on the property, which should take four to six months, he said.
Once the Village hall is renovated it will have updated kitchens, bathrooms and a gym space.