Thursday, February 21, 2008

Asbestos Exposure Slows Hurricane Katrina Cleanup

Cleanup from Hurricane Katrina continues to be slow because of possible asbestos exposure. In a New Orleans parish, officials have determined to use a controlled burn rather than to demolish and move debris to a landfill, which could increase the potential for asbestos contamination.

Because of the large number of asbestos-contaminated buildings and debris still sitting in a New Orleans parish from Hurricane Katrina, a controlled cleanup burn will occur. Three years after the hurricane hit New Orleans, officials are unable to demolish several buildings for fear that asbestos dust will contaminate surrounding areas. Instead, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed a controlled burn of the wreckage in a specially designed incinerator, which will occur while air quality is monitored.

Asbestos is a highly toxic mineral that was used in the construction of homes, schools, universities, government buildings and office buildings. The mineral was used because of its resistance to heat and fire damage as well as its strength, however, it was discovered that the inhalation of asbestos fibers and dust was highly toxic to individuals and can cause asbestosis and mesothelioma cancer.

It can take years and even decades for those affected by mesothelioma to know they have been afflicted with the incurable illness. Mesothelioma is not only often misdiagnosed but when it is not caught early enough, there is no possibility to postpone or cure the disease. Those who suspect they have been exposed to asbestos should contact a mesothelioma doctor to learn about treatments. Additionally, it is advisable to consult a mesothelioma attorney for information on how to file mesothelioma litigation.

In the New Orleans parish, officials have determined to burn three asbestos contaminated buildings by using an incinerator known as an "air curtain destructor." In addition to this the EPA will be monitoring the air quality of the burn to ensure that there is no toxic.

Similar to mesothelioma is a disease known as Nephrogenic Systemic Fibrosis (NSF), which is a rare skin disorder associated with patients of kidney disease who are receiving gadolinium dye during magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and magnetic resonance angiography (MRA) tests. NSF causes a victim's skin to swell, thicken and eventually harden. The skin also forms swollen red scabs, which can be painful. Also, because of the skins hardening, specifically around the limb's joints, it may become difficult for a victim to function on their own.

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