Residents Say Hospital Demolition Caused Asbestos Exposure
Residents of the town of Statesville, North Carolina say they now feel “vindicated” because the EPA has ruled that the state “failed to take timely action” to protect them from asbestos exposure when the old Davis Hospital in the small town of 26,000 outside of Charlotte was being demolished.
It was just as the locals had said. The state didn’t do what they should have, and asbestos debris was left in the open where it could cause the most harm.
The incident dates back to late 2015, when the state sent a letter to the North Carolina Environmental Protection Agency, saying it found “asbestos-containing materials” at the old Davis Hospital site and in debris that was leftover from the demolition of the defunct medical facility.
It seemed as if they were doing the right thing. However, they lacked follow-up. A new report issued by the EPA says that the state failed to take the remainder of the steps necessary to remediate the problem and to remove the site’s asbestos-containing waste material and demolition debris.
As a result, it sat in place for 7 months before the state finally re-contacted the EPA to ask for federal help for clean-up.
It’s a feeling of vindication,” Statesville resident Jonathan Dearman told Channel 9 news. “That what we were concerned about…the federal government saw and vindicated our concerns.”
In the meantime, the federal EPA has expressed its dismay about the situation and noted that it would like to see changes in how their agency operates at the state level.
Specifically, they’d like state EPA officials to implement more internal controls to make sure North Carolinians as well as the state agency itself follows the rules when it comes to the demolition of sites that contain asbestos materials.
It may not seem like a big deal to most people that piles of demolition waste are left lying around in an area accessible to the general public.
However, it’s not unusual for dust from such waste to permeate the air during moderate to heavy winds. As a result, asbestos fibers can be inhaled.
Also a concern is the fact that trespassers and vagrants often visit such sites, and asbestos-containing particles from debris that is moved or manipulated in some way or another can become airborne, where it’s easily inhaled.
As a result, those individuals who trespass – often children or teens – can be exposed to the toxin.