In the wake of this season’s tornados, countless families and businesses are faced with the realities of dealing with demolition and debris removal. Even in normal conditions, asbestos abatement entails a controlled and thorough process. While mesothelioma prevention and asbestos remediation can be expensive, there are resources available for virtually every project. Individuals can work with state-lisenced contractors to properly repair or remove asbestos before the materials are disturbed by demolition or construction. Typically, property owners are very willing to protect themselves and others from possible exposure by taking these important steps in asbestos disposal and the disposal of other hazardous materials. But this may not be the case when the difficult process of disaster clean-up begins.
According to Alabama’s13.com, an NBC affliate, in light of disaster, homeowners may be tempted to shrug their shoulders at exposure to asbestos and other harmful materials, despite the possible link to diseases such as mesothelioma. This attitude is understandable, considering the overwhelming task at hand. But regardless of the natural human urge to move forward with disaster recovery, city institutions, contractors and property owners have a responsibility to protect citizens from further harm by additional exposure.
According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, in these cases, the primary role of FEMA and the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is to assist local authorities in determining how best to implement their plans for removal and disposal. They do strongly encourage communities who are considering burying, stockpiling or burning potentially hazardous materials to contact the DEP before moving forward. This is a critical step in mesothelioma prevention and the prevention of other diseases linked to exposure of building materials.
The post-disaster clean-up process will likely be challenging for homeowners, regardless whether they hire contractors or choose to do some of the work on their own. But FEMA offers its support and strongly advises individuals not to clean up potentially contaminated materials without assistance. For assistance: FEMA Disaster Field Office Environmental Liaison Officer, or the Hazardous Materials and Oil Spills National Response Center, 1-800-424-8802.