Although it has been several weeks since Hurricane Sandy hit the East Coast, numerous states including New Jersey are still feeling the devastating and tragic effects of this gigantic storm. Amidst the massive property destruction that has disrupted many communities and left countless individuals homeless, the cleanup and rebuilding efforts are already underway in full force. As we discussed in our previous blog, the Philadelphia asbestos law firm of Brookman, Rosenberg, Brown & Sandler (BRBS) wants to remind everyone that as these efforts continue, asbestos poses a serious health threat to the thousands of people assisting in these daunting tasks. This threat has also caused great concern amongst several government agencies including the Environmental Protection Agency, the Center for Disease Control, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).These agencies are taking the potential threat of an asbestos exposure extremely serious.
The agencies have witnessed and learned from similar recovery efforts that took place at the World Trade Center back in 2001. Some individuals who were involved in those rescue, clean up and recovery efforts have already shown the damaging effects of asbestos exposure. Many have been diagnosed with respiratory illnesses including asbestosis, lung cancer and mesothelioma. The government agencies are applying the information they learned from that tragedy to Hurricane Sandy relief efforts in the hope that they can prevent the same unfortunate circumstances from happening to others. The Philadelphia asbestos lawyers at BRBS support their efforts in trying to preserve the health and safety of the American people.
OSHA issued a warning early this month advising workers and volunteers assisting with the recovery efforts to protect themselves against potential hazards. There are several toxic substances that can be left in the wake of a hurricane including mold, lead, and bacteria. However, one of the gravest concerns is asbestos.
Nationwide, it is estimated that as many as 35 million schools, businesses and homes are contaminated with asbestos. Thousands of these properties were damaged or destroyed by the punishing winds and high floods that Hurricane Sandy brought with her. OSHA is urging everyone that is involved in the cleanup and recovery efforts after Hurricane Sandy to evaluate and consider the potential for hazardous conditions and exposures prior to engaging in any of the activities.
Homeowners, business owners, workers, employers and volunteers must properly assess the potential for dangerous conditions or exposures before entering a home or building. It is recommended that everyone wear a hard hat, goggles for eye protection, heavy-duty work gloves, and water tight boots. If you are working in an area with a potential for an asbestos exposure, a personal respirator should be used, specifically an N95-type respirator. Asbestos can remain on your clothes so it is recommended that you change your clothes on site, leave them there and shower immediately. Following these recommended guidelines can lower your risk of asbestos exposure, as well as lessen the likelihood of second-hand exposure for your loved ones.
OSHA has field staff members available to provide detailed information as well as training to those directly involved in the clean up. These members can assist with safety information and technical support. OSHA has a toll free hotline: 1-800-321-OSHA (6742). In addition, their website offers numerous resources and information.
Hurricane Sandy and other disasters such as floods, fires, explosions, and building collapses, are just a few examples of how an individual can be exposed to asbestos. However, various workers, DIY home renovators and auto mechanics face the threat of exposure daily. If you or someone you love has suffered the devastating effects of asbestos exposure, we urge you to contact one of the experienced Philadelphia asbestos lawyers at Brookman, Rosenberg, Brown & Sandler. Our compassionate asbestos attorneys can provide you with supportive guidance in determining how to seek justice and compensation for your illness. Our office is conveniently located in Philadelphia and we represent clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey. To schedule a free and confidential consultation with an experienced, knowledgeable asbestos attorney, call us today at 215-569-4000 or submit an online contact form.