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A dumpster full of friable asbestos material may have contaminated a Detroit, Michigan neighborhood for weeks, reports a story aired on Fox 2 Detroit.

asbestos trashThe news report tells the story of an east side neighborhood where the dumpster was left in the middle of a street, full of toxic asbestos trash left from the demolition of homes on the block.

Though it was marked “asbestos” on the front of the container, the only warning residents received about its contents were little slips of paper deposited near their front doors telling them to close their windows and doors and to keep pets inside. No mention was made of asbestos, notes homeowner Negus Vu.

After that initial warning, it seems that the asbestos trash remained for weeks until someone finally called attention to it via social media. Then the news media stepped in and learned the dumpster was put there by a city contractor nearly a month ago…and that’s where it remained, with little regard given to those who lived, worked, or played nearby.

“The sealed dumpster should have been removed by the contractor more quickly than it was. Once we became aware of the issue, the dumpster was removed the next day,” said Brian Farkas, director of special projects for the Detroit Building authority. He notes that because the container was sealed, those who live in the area shouldn’t have been concerned.

But Vu said that this wasn’t the only time they’ve seen something like this happen. However, it is the first time it has reached the media.

Homes built prior to about 1980, as was the case with this particular east side neighborhood, often contained asbestos, which was used for insulating purposes. When a home is demolished, the asbestos should be removed by a licensed individual and then the asbestos-containing materials should be properly discarded in sealed containers and taken to a dump that accepts this kind of toxic waste.

These “friable” materials – which can easily send dangerous fibers into the air – should never be left sitting where they are accessible to curious adults or children. The results of these actions could be deadly if fibers are inhaled.

Before any demolition, building inspections should be completed to determine the presence of asbestos. If asbestos materials are indeed detected, ONLY a licensed abatement professional should determine how they should be handled. This also goes for any sort of DIY project that will involve parts of a building that may contain asbestos.

An inexperienced individual who is not trained is asbestos removal should never try removing the materials on his/her own. The result of disregarding such advice could result in asbestos inhalation and an eventual diagnosis of an asbestos disease such as asbestosis or mesothelioma cancer.

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