Asbestos Displaces West Los Angeles Residents
When Los Angeles County Health Department hazmat officials arrived at an apartment building in West Los Angeles earlier this week, the tenants there realized their fears that something was amiss. And when the hazmat folks called in the Los Angeles Fire Department for their help, it was evident that the tenants couldn’t stay there any longer.
That’s when more than a dozen residents were told they needed to evacuate – at least overnight, all due to the fact that their property manager began renovations on the building without first checking for asbestos.
After contractors removed a popcorn ceiling, a type of structure which nearly always contains asbestos, the toxic dust permeated the building, prompting the alarm.
As a result, fifteen residents had to be decontaminated and the Red Cross swooped in to provide lodging assistance and temporary transportation for the residents in this lower-income area.
“Most property managers know that if you’re going to do construction, you have to do it properly and dispose of [asbestos] properly,” one resident, who was not named, told a reporter from CBS Los Angeles. “Unfortunately, they just hire whoever.”
And that’s where problems arise.
Each year in the U.S., tenants are unknowingly exposed to asbestos by landlords and building managers who are eager to cut corners as to the costs involved with renovating or remodeling old structures.
So, instead of doing things the correct way, including hiring inspectors to seek out asbestos before work commences, they either engage in shoddy DIY practices or hire unlicensed workers to get the job done quickly and cheaply.
That puts everyone at risk.
Tenants who believe they have been exposed to toxins like asbestos shouldn’t hesitate to contact the authorities – like local EPA offices – to report their suspicions.
In many cases, they may have a right to relocation or even to compensation for their troubles.
Most of all, anyone who has been negligently exposed to asbestos in this manner should keep an eye on their health, including submitting to periodic lung testing to be sure that they have not developed an asbestos-related disease.
The landlord responsible for the exposure may be required to pay for such testing.